Learn More About Marie Saldi…

As previously presented, Marie is not only a strong self-advocate but through her current Fellowship educational opportunities and her playground project research, she has become an amazing advocate for others.

Marie began her role as an advocate several years ago after she graduated from her post graduate program and became a member of Arc Employment Services.  At the time she knew she wanted a competitive paying job and to live in an accessible apartment thereby creating a “bucket list” of goals and with her team works to make them a reality.  Marie is an insightful and motivational speaker and has been invited on many occasions to represent the Arc and share her stories with United Way Donor companies, DDS Citizen’s Advisory Board sponsored Legislative Breakfast events and DDS and Arc Family Support Transitional Workshops.  She is a graduate of a local Toastmaster’s public speaking program and visits the State House monthly Legislative Day when she is able.  In addition to her current Self Advocacy Leadership program, she looks forward to attending the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disability (AAIDD) Policy Seminar in Washington, DC this April.  We have no doubt that Marie will be wowing politicians and policy makers from across the country!

In a recent interview about her Fellowship Marie shared her most profound experiences related to her travels throughout the state visiting playgrounds.

1.  She has developed a good sense of what works and what does not; what is truly an accessible playground and what “pretends to be”.  Her recommendations…think about corners and how a person using a wheelchair can navigate safely with enough turn radiuses.  Eliminate any barriers from the parking area to the play structure…it won’t work if you can’t get to it! There needs to be swings of all types and sizes for everyone to use.  Finally do not create separate specialized structures for kids with disabilities…all kids need to play together.

2. Marie in her travels met a little girl named Clara who she describes as “the best child in the world”.  Clara is a 6 year old typically developing child who played with Marie at one of the playgrounds fascinated by her wheelchair and peppering her with questions about her Cerebral Palsy.  Marie shared that at age 6 Clara was “the most open minded person” evident by her comment to Marie “just because people say they are different, they really are not…everyone is beautiful”.

3. Marie also met Owen, a little boy with a disability and with permission took his photo for the cover of her brochure because “he had the most beautiful smile, outgoing personality and so fullof life”.

4. Long rides in the car to Western MA and long days of Fellowship work and playground testing have been the biggest challenge!

5. Marie stated “I love what I am doing and my experiences have opened my eyes to a lot of different people”.Our bet is that Marie will be opening eyes as well through her future advocacy work.

Congratulations to Marie for her accomplishments and we look forward to what is next on her “bucket list”!

Valentine Partner Workout to Benefit The Arc of Greater Plymouth

Saturday February 7th 10:00 AM

ShockYard Fitness

19 Rear Court Street, Plymouth

Downtown First Saturday

 Bring your best friend (or worst enemy) for a workout full of partner exercises

*This event is a part of ShockYard Community Service Days.*
Break a sweat while giving back!

$10 per participant, proceeds donated to
The Arc of Greater Plymouth

Email ShockYard@gmail.com to reserve a spot

ARC OF GREATER PLYMOUTH: Giving Tree delivered to homeless Boston veterans

The Arc of Greater Plymouth recently provided some special holiday cheer to residents of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston, delivering a “Giving Tree” that was decorated by students in the Arc’s Life Skills program.

vettreepic resizedPLYMOUTH – The Arc of Greater Plymouth recently provided some special holiday cheer to residents of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston, delivering a “Giving Tree” that was decorated by students in the Arc’s Life Skills program.

The students decided on a theme for the tree, created all the ornaments and designed the tree over a five-week period. The tree was placed in the main hall at the Center Dec. 4 and was decorated by the students during an event that featured music by Chelo Fansua, the founder of Mi Anatolia.

“The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Life Skills class and staff were honored to celebrate the holidays with our veterans who have given so much to our country and its citizens,” Jill O’Reilly, community support coordinator at the Arc of Greater Plymouth, said. “We were truly inspired and humbled meeting the veterans, and they will always remain in our thoughts and prayers for a brighter future that they deserve so much.”

“We greatly appreciate the Arc of Greater Plymouth honoring our veterans with the gift of this beautiful tree,” NECHV President and CEO C. Andrew McCawley said. “It will bring joy throughout the holiday season to those we serve who have served their country.”

The Arc of Greater Plymouth is dedicated to providing personalized services, supports and advocacy to children and adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. The Arc is committed to changing attitudes, perceptions and legislation so individuals will have the opportunity to choose and realize the goals of where and how they learn, live, work and play. The Arc of Greater Plymouth provides services and supports to more than 1,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in Southeastern Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.thearcofgp.org.

Founded in 1989, the New England Center for Homeless Veterans is a nationally recognized leader in the initiative to end homelessness among veterans and one of the largest and most effective private veteran support organizations in the country. The NECHV is a multi-dimensional service and care provider dedicated to assisting veterans who are facing or at risk of homelessness with a broad array of programs and services that enable success, dignified, meaningful employment and independent living. For more information, visit www.nechv.org.

Archways

Archways, The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s newly named employment division, rang in 2015 with the purchase of their own bakery in Carver, Ma. Activities are humming with interviews for a pastry chef/manager, job coach recruitment, task force meetings to plan product line and business plan and the cleaning and organizing and restocking that will need to happen before a proposed opening on Memorial Day.

Our new Community Based Day Supports is up , running and licensed . Some of the individual goals of those in the program include taking on new volunteer positions, practicing healthy food preparation, join a gym, money management, photographing historical buildings and other community activities of choice.

Our annual coat drive , which ended January 31st, has well exceeded past years and we have  been able to include 3 area churches along with the coalition for the homeless to fill the need in the community,

Four individuals are taking part in a paid internship at TJMax with at least one job offer possible at the end of their 12 weeks.

 

Advocacy Groups Regularly Visit the State House

In the Fall of 2013, the Arc of Greater Plymouth started an advocacy program for individuals with developmental disabilities in Plymouth County, who want to speak out and to be heard about issues which are important to them.  With the support and encouragement of Casey Seaman, Plymouth Area Director of the Department of Developmental Services, three advocacy groups were developed and are facilitated by Victoria Pattinson.  Roger Monty, the Executive Director of the Arc of Greater Plymouth noted “the establishment of this program allows for individuals with disabilities to speak on behalf of themselves as informed members of their community”.

Victoria Pattinson, a recent Master’s graduate from the University of Sussex in England, explains “research shows that supporting individuals with developmental disabilities to advocate for themselves empowers individuals to make decisions about issues, which impact their lives.  Furthermore, by advocating for issues of importance to both themselves and others, individuals with disabilities can make meaningful connections in their community.  Thus, challenging predominant stereotypes and promoting social inclusion.”

An important way for individuals to put their advocacy skills into action is monthly trips to the State House in which individuals educate their State Representatives and Senators about issues.  Leigh-Ann, who was recognized by Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong for her contribution to advocacy in the Southeast Region of Massachusetts, explains that “visiting the State House is beneficial to meet with your legislators and they can tell what you’re doing”.  The legislators and their staff devote four hours each month to these meetings, welcoming advocacy groups from throughout the Commonwealth.

The Advocacy Groups from the Plymouth raise important issues such as:

1. Funding for additional staff at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission for FY 2015
Leigh-Ann summarized, “In the last year, the reports of abuse have gone up by 17%. But, the number of staff has gone down from 32 to 28. The investigation time for a case of abuse went up from one month to eight months”. Another advocate contributed, “We need enough staff to make sure nobody gets hurt.”  Advocacy was instrumental to securing four additional staff at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission.  The advocates continue to request additional staff since, as Leigh-Ann explained, “We still need more staff because an investigation of abuse should not be longer than thirty days.”

2. The Passage of the Real Lives Bill
Advocates were delighted with the Passage of the Real Lives Bill, after educating their legislators throughout the winter. The legislation provides individuals with more choice and control to spend their funding on supports at their home, in their place of employment, in the community, and to socialize.

3. Accessible Playgrounds
One advocate, Marie Saldi, was awarded the Barbara Wilensky Gopen Memorial Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is completing a project about inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities.  It’d important for everybody to know about playgrounds because when I was little accessible playgrounds didn’t exist. It’s important for people to know about accessible playgrounds so that children with disabilities don’t have to feel excluded” At a recent State House meeting, Marie discussed the importance of building more accessible playgrounds throughout Massachusetts. Many legislators were very interested and requested additional information as Marie’s project progresses.

Representative Vincent deMacedo, of the Plymouth district,our newly elected Senator, is a frequent attendee at the State House meetings and he also visited the Arc to speak with advocates further about their legislative concerns.  At the last meeting, the advocates thanked Representative deMacedo for his support of the Real Lives Bill and also discussed the importance of building an accessible playground in Plymouth.  “It is important to build a playground because there isn’t one. And it’s important for kids with disabilities to feel normal     and not to feel like a freak, because if they can play with other kids they would feel included.”

The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Accessible Playground Project

Marie Article photo 3 resize

By Malissa Kenney, Associate Director

In December, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which proclaims:

“THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he/she may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his/her own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles…” Continue reading “The Arc of Greater Plymouth’s Accessible Playground Project”

Recruitment

“Since the start of the latest recruitment drive, we have been quite busy. With the purchase of the new bakery in Carver, we have been actively scouring to find a Head Baker who can not only continue some of the local favorites, but bring new flair to the business. They must also be comfortable working with some of our individuals in employment and with basic managerial duties of maintaining a functioning (and profitable) bakery. It’s no small task but very exciting to be involved in.

At Employment, we are currently seeking to recruit a handful of new job coaches to better service our individuals. In addition to that, we are also looking to bring on a Vocational Assistant to help develop curriculum and lead classes for the Archways program.

Shared Living is also looking to add an additional 20 hours of Community Connection to fully and better service all those that receive Community Connection and Individual Supports. The addition of Alyson Cuttle in December is one of the high notes of this recruitment drive, as she has been a great help to the department already.

Finally, we are always looking to expand our list of both Home Care Providers and Respite Care worker for both the AFC and Shared Living departments.

If you know anyone who may be interested in any of these positions, or who would just like more information regarding any opening, please have them contact Peter Finnegan at (508) 732-9292 x105 or at peterf@thearcofgp.org

 

Holiday Giving Thanks

Appreciation and Thanks to:

Toys for Tots, Macy’s Hanover, Westwood Village ; Salon Serode; Water Street Café and all the individuals who took home ornaments from our three giving trees placed at our offices and in the community. With donations from the above, The Arc of Greater Plymouth Family Support Center was able to provide at least five gifts from wish lists to 166 people this Christmas.

Provider Open Houses

Adult Family Care (AFC) hosted two Provider Open Houses on October 21st and November 5th. Dinner was enjoyed by over 80 participants! A program followed led by AFC Director Linda Freeman and Director of Shared Living Amy Duggan on First Aid Review and Fire Safety. Activities were provided by the AFC staff for all clients in attendance. It was a great success and more Provider Open Houses are being planned. Our next topic will be Social Media Safety and will have a date soon.