Sixty years ago a group of parents who had young children with intellectual disabilities gathered for a meeting at the Jewish Community Center in Harrisburg. At a time when most children with disabilities were sent to institutions to grow up away from their families, these parents were committed to raising their children at home. They joined together to support each other in raising children with disabilities. From this first meeting and many others like it across the country, The Arc became a national movement focused on helping people with intellectual disabilities and their families live successful lives in their community.
While national and state chapters of The Arc focused on legislation and support to give people with intellectual disabilities the right to attend schools, live in communities instead of institutions, and access services and supports in their communities, the parents in Dauphin County were working hard to provide schools, summer camping programs, and parent support groups to help make life easier for families who had loved ones with intellectual disabilities.
Sixty years later, The Arc of Dauphin County is still focused on these goals and provides a wide array of services to help people with intellectual disabilities be successful, participating members of their local communities and to express their wants and needs in a way that creates social change and helps the community at large to understand, support, and accept their friends and neighbors who have intellectual disabilities.
The theme of The Arc’s sixty year celebration is Diamond Anniversary: 60 Shining Years of The Arc. During the year The Arc will highlight the stories of consumers, staff people, and families who have helped make The Arc shine. We hope you will join us in celebration and share your unique stories.