On Monday morning, January 14, Brockton Area Arc’s Family Support Navigator Cathy Hickey, The Arc of Massachusetts Advocacy Alliance Coordinators Julie Heffernan and Herb Cabral, and ten family members – moms, dads, and a sister who was home from college on winter break – gathered at The Brockton Arc for “Coffee, Cookies, and Conversation.”
The Becker Center for Advocacy is learning about the needs of older caregivers by organizing community forums across the state. Three forums have been held so far: North Shore, Merrimack Valley, and Greater Boston. Caregivers are asked to discuss three topics: what is going well; where are the gaps or challenges; and recommendations.
In September, The Becker Center for Advocacy held a Family Appreciation Luncheon. Honorees were celebrated for supporting the mission of The Arc by:
On August 14, Minute Man Arc self-advocates Janice Smith, Valerie Lessa, and Nora McShane, along with staff member Yah-Bleelay Gaye, traveled to the Woburn Senior Center to meet with Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s Constituent Services Representative Jay Higgins. Mr. Higgins specializes in social security, medicaid, and medicare benefits (often referred to as “senior issues,” even though this group of benefits is important to the disability community, as well).
On May 24, CLASS, Inc. held a workshop on Advocacy and Storytelling. Organized by Ana de la Cruz, Manager of the Adult Family Care Program, the training was very well attended by caregivers and CLASS employees, including Alfred Frugoli, the new President and CEO of CLASS / The Arc of Greater Lawrence. Julie Heffernan, The Arc’s Advocacy Coordinator, gave a presentation which first outlined The Arc’s current legislative goals and then illustrated how families can use their loved ones’ stories as tools for advocacy. Ms. de la Cruz translated the presentation, to ensure that it was accessible to all those in attendance. Written by Julie Heffernan.
On Monday evening, April 30, The Cape Cod Network hosted a free Advocacy and Storytelling Training at The Cape Space Conference Center in Hyannis. After attendees enjoyed a dinner of sandwiches, chips, and dessert, Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts, gave a presentation on the state budget process and DDS. Julie Heffernan of The Arc’s Becker Center for Advocacy then spoke to families about how to use personal stories as tools for advocacy.