You are never too old to reinvent yourself
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself”Steve Harvey
What do you think? Have you tried?
Well, The Arc of DFW Area is going to try and I hope you’ll join us at Join The Arc.
Let’s face it, the landscape for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Texas is bleak.
- Our community supports and services are drastically underfunded.
- Our caretakers, nurses, and teachers are underpaid and burnt out.
- Our collective voice as a community is fractured and has been inadequate to obtain change from our state government and the agencies it has established for our behalf.
Where do we go from here?
You might say the only way to go is up!
And I’d say you’re absolutely right; but we must go up together.
For too long the disability community in TX has been working in separate silos, whether by interest or by necessity. The lack of coordination in our community has fit perfectly with the scarcity mentality in Austin.
Various organizations, families, and even individuals petition policymakers for change; and while they are often well-intentioned, they often pit factions of the disability community against each other. The end result is that no one is happy and few benefit from the effort.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. So many of us are walking this journey and don’t need to be reminded, but I also know that our circumstances demand that we give more, and The Arc is “all in” on this challenge. Let’s combine our determination, our persistence and our strength for the betterment of us all.
So, why am I writing all this?
Because I believe The Arc of DFW Area can be an agent for improvement.
- We’ve been in this community for over 50 years.
- We were founded by families.
- We have been continuously operated by people with IDD and family members
- We volunteer purely for the benefit of people with IDD and their families.
Throughout The Arc’s existence it has touched innumerable lives; including my own. I’m here because I refuse to leave my son in the hands of a broken system. Just as importantly, I refuse to stand by while you and your family live in a broken system.
What are we going to do about it?
It’s time to broaden the tent; to reach more of the IDD community, and join our voices. Rough statistics say there are at least 150,000 people with IDD in DFW; expand that number to family and friends who know them and it’s easily over half a million, and that’s just in our DFW area.
If just 10% of this community speaks as a single voice I believe we will initiate some real change.
Will you help jumpstart this movement?
- You can join us here: Join The Arc. Our dues are minimal, but your participation is massive. Our memberships renew each Jan 1.
- Self-advocates age 14 and up looking for a group that shares our mission and vision can contact our affiliate, The Self Determination Group. They are mobilizing for the new year and always have something going on. You can find out more on Facebook @TheSelfDeterminationGroup or you can email them at TheSDG@thearcofdfw.org.
- You or someone you know can contribute additional funds for our mission at: Donate to The Arc.
- You can contribute your most precious gift, your time. Provide us with more information and we’ll plug you in: Volunteer with The Arc.
- You can invite The Arc to share our mission and vision with a group or organization. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is The Arc of DFW Area already doing?
The Arc of DFW Area is at work expanding its efforts. Below is just a sample:
- Our next A Look Ahead conference is just around the corner on Saturday, February 10th. You can find more information and register here: Register for ALA. You can also follow the conference on Facebook @alookaheadseries
- We completed our first program focused on the Spanish-speaking community, in collaboration with the Grand Prairie Host Lions Club; this time on Supported Decision Making and Alternatives to Guardianship.
- We are collaborating with the faculty of TCU to pilot a story-telling project to collect stories of strength and struggle in the DFW IDD community to raise awareness and affect change.
- We are in the early stages of planning a new podcast/video series to share important information about supports and services. Stay tuned.
Thank you for giving me your attention in this effort and I look forward to meeting you in this coming year.
James Lunday, President