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Nicoleta Orlea with Representative Sean Garballey

We have a community. Despite these difficult times, we are lucky to have people who have committed themselves to advocacy, services, or to family for decades.

In October, we have welcomed Nicoleta Orlea to The Arc as an exchange fellow from Romania. In addition to working for an autism organization in Romania, her 10-year-old son, Remus, has autism.

To give her a valued experience, I wanted to have her to work with others, in addition to our team. In less than four weeks here, Nicoleta has visited Bay Cove Human Services, Work Inc., Opportunities for Inclusion, and hopefully, the Lee School in Boston.

From this experience, I have learned three important things.

  • No matter how tough the times are, colleagues are willing to help share knowledge with others.
  • Other countries, and even some localities, are still figuring out the basics of funding supports, and some do not provide tax dollars for disability services – so our advocacy is more vital than ever to persevere and advance.
  • Finally, something that Nicoleta shared with me after filling me in on the wonderful experiences she has had during her fellowship: after going bowling with a 35 year old with autism and others, she said that experience “gives me hope.” Nicoleta can see years ahead, that there is a future for her son.

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