This spring four Arc of Greater Plymouth individuals were given honorary awards at both  the Plymouth Area DDS Recognition event and The Massachusetts DDS Annual Recognition event at the State House.

Elmer Mendes is an 81 year old man and Plymouth celebrity who came to The Arc of Greater Plymouth seven years ago with significant support needs and health challenges. The confidence to expand our services to meet the complex needs that this special individual presented, truly came from Elmer himself and his desire to get his life back on track.  In those seven years, Elmer has had a successful hip replacement, established control of his diabetes and accomplished sobriety – with a little help from his support staff Barbara Bousquet and for several years prior, Scott Atton, his friend and biggest fan, Exec.Director, Roger Monty, and the community connectors from The Arc Shared Living Program. Without Barbara it would be very likely that Elmer would need to be in a long term care facility rather than the comfort of his own home with people who know and care about him. Elmer is a jokester and he and Barbara enjoy a light hearted almost comedic chemistry. She has been able to introduce new options which include participation in a day program that he previously would not consider. She continues to make sure he enjoys time in the community especially bringing him to the Plymouth waterfront where he can visit from “his bench” with his old friends.

Elmer Mendes is in many ways the true embodiment of our mission at The Arc of Greater Plymouth; to provide individuals with the opportunity to choose where and how they learn, live, work and play. This award to Elmer and Barbara recognizes his achievements in making these choices.

Charles and Suzanne Emerson have been involved with The Arc of Greater Plymouth for many years in many different positions, from job coaching at our Employment program to becoming 24/7 Shared Living providers for two of our individuals with complex support needs. Their passion for helping those with developmental and intellectual disabilities is evident in the quality of excellence in their everyday work.

Charles and Suzanne have completely understood and captured the true essence of the “Shared Living” model. They have not only opened their home and daily lives to the two individuals who reside with them, but have opened their hearts to create a strong family bond that reflects the true meaning of “inclusion”. They have fostered great relationships between the individuals and their extended families, often hosting holiday dinners all together in their home.

The Emerson family is the first to step up in times of need, offering respite staff a ride to their shift in snow storms, covering job sites and other events when staffing absence would have prevented our  individuals from participating.

The Arc of Greater Plymouth is very grateful for the work Charles and Suzanne do across all programs of the agency. There is no family more deserving of such recognition.