On Monday night, LifeLinks brought together some board members, families, staff, and the people they support to celebrate the achievements of individuals and the agency. It was a heartwarming night led by CEO Jean Phelps and Board Chair Pamela Anastasi.
It was a beautiful fall day in Greater Denver as we listened to a presentation by Xavier about himself, his family, and his recent activities. His fellow students in the elementary school class listened intently along with his mother, father, and grandparents. There should be nothing unusual about a class presentation, but my grandnephew, Xavier, happens to be a young man with Down syndrome. I may be biased, but Xavier showed a talent for showmanship – perhaps a direction for his teen and adult years.
This Saturday, Andrew Lawson will enter the Norwell High School Hall of Fame. I wrote earlier this year about Andrew’s passing and how he had brought so many people together during his life. Andrew’s life was full of achievements; the local news article announcing his induction shows Andrew embracing soccer coach Jack Browne.
There are two significant threads which underlie The Arc of Massachusetts’ mission. One thread is our mission to achieve “equity across all aspects of society.” This is a pretty tall order. Despite the progress made over the past decades, equity has not been achieved in health care, education, or transportation.
The Arc’s 2017 Survey of Families (FINDS) with the University of Minnesota found that 48% of caregivers were either “very” or “extremely” stressed. Of those, many reported frequent work interruptions with about 25% of all respondents having to cut back their work hours due to the lack of assistance at home with caregiving.