Happy Birthday to The Arc of Chester County! Celebrating 70 Years of Advocating for Individuals with Disabilities
This month, The Arc of Chester County, an organization that has been the dedicated voice for individuals with disabilities, is celebrating its 70th Anniversary.
Remaining true to its roots, its mission is to advocate, educate and empower individuals with disabilities and their families to enhance the quality of their lives.
This incredible milestone began seven decades ago with a small group of parents in West Chester looking for educational opportunities for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in lieu of institutionalizing them.
The road to equity and inclusion was paved by the efforts of founders and community partners. These trailblazers spent most of their adult lives fighting for individuals with disabilities to be able to choose how they live, learn, work, and spend their leisure time.
Over the decades, thanks to the determined efforts of many by way of countless letters, meetings, and marches, groundbreaking legislation has passed making The Arc of Chester County a formidable force behind ensuring the rights and entitlements of individuals with disabilities and their families are respected and protected.
It was The Arc that led the charge for the Right to Education Law in 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1997, and forced the closing of abhorrent institutions in Southern Pennsylvania like Pennhurst.
While the days of institutionalizing individuals with disabilities are thankfully nearly gone, our work is not done and individuals with disabilities continue to be marginalized by insufficient funding and pluralistic ignorance.
“The Arc of Chester County continues to be dedicated to ensuring that individuals with disabilities are provided the essential services and integral supports they need. I am in awe of the passion and dedication of my fellow board, the staff, volunteers, and our community partners who despite the challenges and barriers consistently strive to do more with less for those entrusted in our care,” expressed Matt Holliday, President of the Arc’s Board of Directors.
Today, The Arc of Chester County has five program areas: Advocacy, Children’s Early Learning Services & Programs, Family Support Services, Comprehensive Employment Services, and Agency with Choice. These five essential programs work tirelessly to provide a lifetime of services to its participants and their families.
In addition, The Arc of Chester County strives to educate the community, facilitating awareness, tolerance, and acceptance and advocating with legislators and community leaders for increased public funding.
“The Arc’s vision is a society that embraces and values all people equally,” stated Jeanne Meikrantz, The Arc’s Chief Executive Officer.
Join VISTA.Today over the next several months as we showcase and celebrate The Arc of Chester County’s long and storied history with a series of featured articles.
We invite you to click on the card or on this link to sign The Arc of Chester County’s 70th birthday card, leave a personal message and join our celebration.
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