Attendees Sen. Vinny Demacedo,  Representatives Tom Calter and Josh Cutler as well as aides from Sen. Hedlund, Congressman Keating and U.S. Senators Markey and Warren’s offices truly received a clear message that “ Funding Counts”  and enriches real lives.

Eloquently delivering that message were a group of “Young Polished Professionals” (YPP) from The Arc of Greater Plymouth Employment Services Advisory Committee(AEAC), many of them also members of the Citizens Advisory Board for Plymouth Area Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

In the words of CAB member Kathy Dunn,   “Your group has made such growth since the first few times they spoke at a breakfast. It is clear how much confidence they have attained in their own ability to advocate and that is because of the hard the work that The ARC is doing. I was especially impressed yesterday with each person able to talk about different aspects of their own life”

CAB members Jackie Best, Leigh Ann Barry, Jill Frederico and Efrain Gomez  helped plan the event and were joined by Patrick…. Tina Therian and Marie Saldi  on the consumer panel to give real life testimony of the value of individual and family support funding to a full house of Legislators and their aides. Deborah Monopoli, Director of Employment Services and Tori Pattinson, Advocacy Intern, moderated.

Jackie Best , poised opener, spoke about the important role family support and funding after turning 22  has played in her journey to independence and a meaningful life in her community.

Leigh Ann Barry,  spoke about how funding counts by providing   her experience with cooking classes sponsored by Family Support/Social Recreation,  enriching her leisure time  and about her jobs as a trainer with Mass Advocates Standing Strong  in their Explore Prepare & Act, and Awareness In Actions Program.

Jill Frederico shared with the audience that being a member of CAB and being able to help plan this event means a lot to her and is fun as well.

Efrain Gomez  talked about his experience with the cooking classes funded thru Family Support/Social Recreation department and how important funding is to him and his peers.  Efrain got a laugh when talking about his jobs ( stocking with Verc Mobil and preparing bread sticks at the Olive Garden). He shared how COLD it is  in the cooler at Verc and how HOT it is in the kitchen at Olive Garden but how it didn’t matter because he loves his jobs.      

Patrick McLoed spoke about how important funding is for him and how  he has had the  opportunity to learn to golf and ski through the Spaulding Program with companionship provided by Family support, stressing the importance of integrated activities such as golf and skiing that have given him confidence in community activities.

Tina Theran delivered another very important message about why Funding Counts for Family Support. She talked about the stress that families suffer when they experience financial needs and they need food, clothes and heat. She also shared her present three jobs; office support at Verc Enterprises, maintainence at YMCA with Archways Maintainence crew, stocking at Kohls’ which she was helped to secure with her funding through The Arc of Greater Plymouth Employment Services.

Marie Saldi was the “closer” for  the  Self Advocates Panel at  the CAB Legislative Breakfast and she wowed the  crowd with her comedic timing and her story. They loved her message of why Funding Counts, her appreciation of the support she has received over the years from Malissa Kenney thru family support and her present Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council , Barbara Wilensky-Gopen fellowship for FY2015.   She drew laughter and tears from  Senator Vinny DeMacedo who commented later that “if this group visits my office any more often, they will need to register as lobbyists!”