Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Members of The Arc of Montana Invited to the White House for High Level Briefings and to Advocate for People with Disabilities

Washington, DC – This week, AWARE Inc. will join 150 leaders of The Arc from across the country to attend a White House Community Leaders Briefing.

Over the course of the day, leaders of chapters of The Arc, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), will be briefed by high level White House and Administration officials on topics ranging from Medicaid to education to community living and employment for people with I/DD, and have the chance to engage with and ask questions of these officials. 

Attending the briefing from Montana are AWARE CEO Larry Noonan; Jeff Folsom, chief operating officer; and Stephen Addington, a self-advocate and member of AWARE’s board of directors.

This day-long briefing is specifically for The Arc’s network and comes just weeks before Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, which is in March and will be marked with efforts across the country to raise awareness of issues facing people with disabilities. 

“We are proud to represent Montana advocates of people with developmental disabilities at this event,” said AWARE CEO Larry Noonan. “We’re also pleased to get the chance to meet with other people from across the country who are concerned about how government policies affect the lives of people with disabilities.”

During the day-long event, participants will hear from senior White House and administration officials. Additionally, there will be a series of policy breakout sessions that will allow for more detailed discussions on certain issue areas, like community living, education, and Medicaid. The purpose of these briefings is to allow White House and administration officials to hear from leaders of The Arc about how government policies affect the lives of people with I/DD and impact their ability to live full, independent lives. 

This unique, face-to-face opportunity to speak directly to people in positions to make change from within the government will allow leaders of The Arc to make the voices of the millions of people with I/DD heard at the White House.  As The Arc gears up to raise awareness of I/DD during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March, chapter leaders can take home new tools to help individuals in their communities utilize programs of the federal government.

“The Arc, as one of the largest organizations working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brings a wealth of experience and insight to discuss today’s most important concerns facing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re looking forward to having them here at the White House to deepen our partnership, and to discuss the issues we care about most,” Jon Carson, the Director of the Office of Public Engagement.

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.

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