Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Advocate: The Spring 2024 Issue Is Now Online - The Arc of Massachusetts Skip to main content

The Spring 2024 issue of our print newsletter Advocate is now available to read online.

Highlights of the issue include:

  • The announcement of Leo V. Sarkissian’s retirement in November 2024
  • A preview of The Arc’s upcoming disability vote campaign
  • Updates on the FY25 budget and The Arc’s priority bills
  • Stories you have shared with us as part of our I’m Still Waiting campaign
  • Remembering Kerry Mahoney
  • Recent activities from Pathways to Friendship
  • And much more
Read The Spring 2024 Issue

The Arc of Massachusetts Announces Retirement of Executive Director Leo V. Sarkissian

In March, The Arc of Massachusetts announced that longtime Executive Director Leo V. Sarkissian will be retiring from the role on November 1, 2024. Over the next few months, we will be announcing more information about the transition.

Janet Sweeney Rico, Ph.D., President of the Board of Directors said, “We are beyond grateful for Leo’s leadership and wish him all the best. The Arc will build on Leo’s legacy and remain the leading advocacy organization in our state for people with disabilities. Leo’s dedication, commitment, and effectiveness are a beacon to all in our community and beyond. We are looking forward to welcoming the community to participate in these upcoming events and celebrate Leo’s enormous and lasting legacy.”

Join The Arc of Massachusetts as we celebrate Leo Sarkissian throughout the year. Visit to learn about upcoming events and opportunities to honor Leo’s legacy.

2024 Is a Huge Election Year for the Disability Community. We Need You to Get Involved!

By Katerina Daley

As you likely know, 2024 will be an incredibly important election year in all races down the ballot. In years like this, it’s important to remember the words of renowned activist Justin Dart, Jr., known as the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): “Vote as if your life depends on it – because it does.”

In the months ahead, The Arc of Massachusetts will be launching the 2024 version of our voter rights and awareness campaign, #TheArcVotes. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved and spread the word – and we’re counting on you to make this our most successful year yet!

This Is Your Call to Action! Why We Need Your Advocacy for the FY25 Budget and Bill Platform

By Maura Sullivan

This community is indefatigable in spirit, but I know there is exhaustion and for many there is fear. When will this crisis be over?

Our collective advocacy has already made an impact. Our action alert back in December resulted in 1,800 letters to the Governor pleading for a workforce investment in chapter 257. The Governor came through with $485 million in proposed funding to increase wages for human services workers to a median of $20 per hour.

This is a necessary start and there is no debating the need for this funding. But back in 2018, The Arc began a workforce campaign, guided by Leo Sarkissian. Leo estimated we would need $24 an hour by 2025. Yes, $20 is a good start – but we are still falling short of valuing this essential work and valuing people with disabilities.

You Are Not Alone: Finding Answers as Our Community Still Waits for Services

By Jose Lopez

Earlier this year, we asked our constituents to share how they have been impacted by disability service disruptions. The lack of important disability services like day programs, residential housing spaces, access to specialized medical and dental professionals, caregivers, transportation, and other vital services has been voiced repeatedly and is not news to anyone.

It is also evident that there are no quick or easy solutions to many of the challenges families are facing. The Arc of Massachusetts has received over 50 family stories, each of them heartbreaking in their own right. Many of these hardships have common threads that run through multiple stories.

Pathways to Friendship’s Regional Inclusion Networks Continue to Boost Community Engagement through Local Summits

By Katie Driscoll

Pathways to Friendship hosts Region Inclusion Networking opportunities across the Commonwealth that bring people together to discuss inclusive change in their communities, with the intention to bring people with and without disabilities together. These networking groups began eight years ago under the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) initiative Creating Our Commonwealth. Today, they remain robust and have expanded to include individuals who receive DDS services, families, and community organizations, in addition to the human service provider staff who are concerned about the social equity for people with disabilities. Three Regional Inclusion Networks meet every other month on Zoom, with the commitments focused on building opportunities for freely given friendships in community. These forums provide a space where everyone is welcome to share, learn, and collaborate to drive action that supports inclusive change in local communities.

Leave a Reply