May 16 – All Aboard The Arc! spread its message of disability acceptance and inclusion this past Saturday as nearly 1000 people descended on Boston Common! Special Guest Lauren Potter, who plays Becky in the TV show “Glee,” shared her story of success as a young woman with a disability. Best known for her role on the popular television show and an inspiration to all, Lauren Potter has proven herself a young woman of strength and of character.
All Aboard is hosted by chapters of The Arc, a non-profit which provides support and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, The Arc has a statewide network of 18 chapters, which represent nearly 200,000 individuals with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The event also was headlined by the MAI rock ‘n roll band from the greater Brockton area. Band members are individuals with and without disabilities. The MAI band has been providing opportunities in music and art since its inception in 2009. MAI currently has 10 core group members who have performed in concerts for the past five years.
In talking about the event, Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, stated that the main goal was awareness: “We are celebrating the gifts of person with disabilities, and we want everyone in Massachusetts to know that today they are making a difference, through their work, in their families, and in volunteering their time to various activities such as food pantries and community events.”
Susan Tran from Channel 7 WHDH kept the event on track as the emcee. She also helped get the word out about the event through Twitter and other social media. The 2015 sponsors of the event include: Comcast Business Class, HMEA, YOTTA, Shepherd Financial, Disability Law Center, and Hilltop Child & Adult Services.
Joining with Lauren Potter and MAI was Victoria Dion, Miss Amazing Teen of Massachusetts. My Own Voice, an inclusive choral group also performed, hosted by the Treble Chorus of New England. Audience participation kicked in with Drums Alive led by Tracy Glynn. Drumsticks were handed out to the many in attendance. Tracy led participants to drum as they listened to music.
There is still time to contribute to the work of The Arc locally or statewide through AllAboardTheArc.org