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In partnership with families, the Greater Richmond ARC creates life-fulfilling opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Tag Archives: inclusion

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

ARC Honored for Workplace Inclusion

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

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.

A Park for All

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>>

Students learn simple machines, empathy

RICHMOND, VA -- Nearly 100 third grade students pour into the Greater Richmond ARC’s ARCpark. Released from the order of their visit to the Science Museum of Virginia, they rush into the gates. Students pause here and there, pointing out with excitement the levers, pulleys and inclined planes in the equipment.

This trip to the ARCpark, Richmond’s first all ages, all abilities park, marked the end of Crestwood Elementary School’s simple machines project. The project combined standards of learning (SOL) objectives with creativity as students investigated, designed and built models of ways to improve playground equipment to make it more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

“Kids learned empathy out of this,” said Nora Tetlow, one of Crestwood’s five third grade teachers.

Another teacher, Lauren Sammon, said her students were inspired and all came together to brainstorm ways to help one student who had a broken leg during the project.

“Seeing them actively thinking about others and how they could help others was very powerful,” she said.

The project started as a way to incorporate Chesterfield’s project-based learning concept. Tetlow said the team initially planned to base the assignments around how to make school easier, but that the project evolved to focus on the play component.

“Play is something that is so relevant and so important to them, as third graders,” she said. “They got excited about it!”

To introduce students to the project, the team designed an entry event. One representative from each class adopted a physical handicap, such a wearing a blindfold, using a rolling chair to simulate a wheelchair or wearing a sling. These students then tried to use the playground while classmates watched.

“It was really interesting,” Sammon said. “The girl who was in the ‘wheelchair’ just sat there the whole time—none of the other students thought to push her.”

Using this experience, activity books about simple machines and multimedia material about accessible equipment, students drafted ideas for additions that could be made to the Crestwood playground to make it more inclusive.

In groups, students built models out of donated trash such as paper towel tubes, yarn and cereal boxes. Third grade team leader Tina Guarnera said the cafeteria on building day was crazy, but everyone was busy and engaged.

“It’s fun because they are so proud of what they created,” she said.

Now in its third year, the project has expanded to include a trip to the ARCpark. Guarnera said they originally planned to visit the park before the building component of the project, but snow days forced them to reschedule. She said it was neat to see the result of this change in plans.

“The kids could point out simple machines while playing and made connections with class content.”

At the same time, students made connections with each other. Teacher Melissa Winters said she knows the parents on the field trip were really impressed with the ARCpark.

“One of the parents who has a handicapped son who has taken her son there before was just so happy and excited to see other kids playing and realizing that it’s not just for handicapped children—anybody can play there,” she said.

Guarnera said the project inspired compassion for others while learning SOL content.

“It gave them the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes instead of looking at them like they’re different,” she said.