People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) deserve more than just job opportunities—they deserve to live in communities that support and help them lead fulfilling lives.
The Arc Southern Maryland was created to help make that vision a reality. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has been helping children and adults with I/DD since 1975. Its mission is to “create opportunities for independence and personal success for people with different abilities in inclusive communities.”
Read on to see what it does to work toward this mission and how you can get involved.
The Arc Southern Maryland offers a wide range of programs, services, and support to help fulfill its mission.
Several of these programs are created to provide adults and children with I/DD with more opportunities to become independent. For instance, a digital literacy program teaches folks how technology can help with everyday things like grocery shopping, work, and more.
Meanwhile, transition services help young people transition from the public-school system into employment or post-secondary education. This can take on many forms, from teaching interview etiquette to providing paid work-based experiences or developing vocational skills.
Additional programs available for individuals with I/DD include:
A large part of this effort includes working with the community at large to ensure there are opportunities for individuals with I/DD. That’s why The Arc Southern Maryland advocates for changes beyond the individual.
This includes political advocacy to push for legislation that can improve the quality of life for disabled individuals. It also involves teaching the public about the rights, strengths, needs, and interests of those with I/DD.
One specific piece of this puzzle is the Ethan Saylors First Responders Training. Individuals with I/DD can respond to law enforcement in seemingly unusual ways, and this training helps members of the police force better respond. By bringing together law enforcement and people with I/DD in an uncharged setting, future encounters can be more safely managed.
Want to help The Arc Southern Maryland reach its goal? There are several ways you can get involved. Financial support is always helpful, and can take the form of general donations, event sponsorship, wish-list fulfillment, vehicle donations, and other fundraisers.
You can also offer your skills to the nonprofit by applying to volunteer. Contact them to discuss teaching a class on painting, Zumba®, and more. Or, sign up to help with a special event!
If you’re in charge of hiring at your business, consider becoming an employment partner. After all, what better way to support individuals with I/DD than by hiring them as part of your workforce?
If you’re interested in learning more about the work this organization does, make sure to follow The Arc Southern Maryland on Facebook. That way, you can stay up to date on its latest efforts, events, and successes.