Liam had such a rough start to life that mom Nicole wanted to cry.
Two years later, she did. But they were tears of joy, thanks to the help of ARC.
Liam was born with a hernia, colic, reflux, and developmental delays, and was an “unhappy and unhealthy little boy,” Nicole said.
Now twenty-seven months, Liam’s “life has improved so much. He's an extremely happy little wild man."
While it was "quite horrible" in the beginning, Liam improves every week; now sitting and even beginning to stand. Nicole said she worried initially about being a good mom, because even though she already had a four-year-old, there is so much to know about Liam's care. ARC showed her how to help him tackle self-feeding, and to continue developing his fine and gross motor skills.
It's been a tough journey; one that Nicole says she couldn't have undergone without ARC ’s “miracle workers.”
Lindsay "Drew" Miller, 23, is an example of what people can accomplish when they try.
He is blind in one eye and uses a walker, but is always willing to tackle something new. He’s helped answer phones, pack boxes, and shred paper, all part of ARC‘s pre-vocational job training program.
"If they can find something for me to do, they can find something for anyone," he says, adding his multiple disabilities initially made it hard for him and his mom Janet to find a day program in Richmond where he could participate.
Drew’s incredible "can do" spirit may have earned him the organization's “Individual of the Year’’ award, but he says every day is its own reward at ARC. “There’s never a dull moment."
Efren is a go-getter. Since joining ARC last year, he has been steadily promoted and now provides ground maintenance for the Defense Supply Center in Richmond.
All this, despite having lost his left hand five years ago.
"Efren has received nothing but high marks about his abilities and work ethic," said ARC supervisor Caleb Violette.
Among his duties, Efren, 67, tends to the landscape at the federal installation, as well as performing additional tasks when needed.
"We are very lucky to have such an outstanding employee working with us today," Caleb said, while Efren echoed a similar enthusiasm about ARC. "I like the people," he added.
Mike Foley is assistant vice president of business development at the Greater Richmond ARC. His op-ed was featured this past weekend in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Knowing firsthand the challenges of living with a loved one with disabilities, I can confidently say that we’ve come a long way over the past several decades.
But we still have a long way to go.
My brother John passed away in 2006, but years before was a participant at the Greater Richmond ARC. His positive experience with the organization and their program led to a long association for me and my family. As a youngster I volunteered, and then later served on the Board of Directors. Read the full story>>
Michael Atkins has been promoted to assistant vice president of Facility Management Services at Greater Richmond ARC. Read the coverage in the Richmond Times-Dispatch >>
Help the Greater Richmond ARC celebrate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month
“By fostering a culture that embraces individual differences, including disabilities, businesses profit by having a wider variety of tools to confront challenges,” said Jennifer Sheehy, deputy assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. “Our nation’s most successful companies proudly make inclusion a core value. They know that inclusion works. It works for workers, it works for employers, it works for opportunity, and it works for innovation.”
The Next Move Program recently recognized The Greater Richmond ARC at the Pioneer Awards for leading the charge for inclusion in the workplace.
For National Disability Employment Awareness month, we'd like to express our support for organizations who likewise see value in a diverse, inclusive workforce.
Don't forget: #inclusionworks
When Dazeray graduated from high school in 2011, her parents wanted to find a program where she wouldn't “sit around," her mom said.
Dazeray keeps busy at Camp Baker. An outgoing person, she likes the day support program’s daily activities that include swimming and horseback riding in the summer, along with trips to local parks and shopping trips year round. She also shines at the camp's holiday dinners, where she’s been known to give instructions on good table manners.
"She enjoys going there and when she’s away from ARC, she talks about it constantly," her mom said. "At times I've tried to look at other places, and she says, 'No way!'"
Without day support, Dazeray probably would be staying with relatives during the day where there would be less activity. For her, this program has been the best solution.
"They look out for her there. I feel she's safe."
Special thanks to Pat Robson, ARC Board Member, for his efforts in securing this gift from Greater Richmond Civitans, Chesterfield Civitans and the Chesapeake District Civitan Foundation, which included two HVAC systems for our Westwood and Camp Baker facilities.
Excerpted from Richmond Times-Dispatch:
ARC camp gets cool donation
Children at Greater Richmond ARC programs were able to keep their cool this summer because of a $21,000 Civitan donation for updated HVAC units.
Chesapeake District Civitan and its Foundation for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, along with the Greater Richmond Civitan and Chester Civitan clubs, provided the funds for installation of cooling equipment at ARC’s Camp Baker in Chesterfield and Westwood Avenue location in Richmond.
Air conditioning is critical for people with disabilities Keep Reading>>
The Greater Richmond ARC was honored at The Pioneer Awards, held August 31. John Walker, Kim Watson, Mike Foley, Matt O'Connell and Mark Whetstine attended the event, which recognized local businesses for excellence in hiring and training people with disabilities.
Thank you to The Next Move Program for honoring ARC among other businesses for leading the charge for inclusion in the workplace.
Check out The Next Move Program at http://www.thenextmoveprogram.com/.
The Next Move Program, a 501 (c)(3) organization, partners with businesses and school systems to create guided internship experiences for young adults with disabilities.
There’s something for everyone at one of Richmond’s newest parks, and that has made it an especially popular destination in the past year.
The Greater Richmond ARCpark at 3600 Saunders Ave. is 2.4 acres packed with attractions for all ages and all abilities. Among its assets: three playgrounds, a glider and a tree house that are wheelchair-accessible; fitness equipment that’s handicapped-accessible; a charging station for electric wheelchairs; and a restroom with adult changing table. It’s divided into areas for ages 2-5, ages 5-12 and adults. It’s visited by about 1,000 people each week, about half on weekdays and the remainder on Saturdays and Sundays, according to Douglas Payne, communications director for Greater Richmond ARC... Read more>>