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Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

LEESBURG, Virginia – February 4, 2019 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its doors for its fifth annual My Bloody Valentine event, two nights in February the weekend after Valentine’s Day: Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th! It is Shocktober in … FEARbruary, the Carvers are looking for dates for the Valentine’s Day Dance Massacre, a terrifying twist to your typical Valentine’s date! Doors open at 7pm and the last tickets are sold at 10pm on Friday and Saturday.

This year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships including our own BLOOD red wine, “My Bloody Valentine Wine,” that is locally produced by Tarara Winery in collaboration with Shocktober, on sale this FEARbruary at our My Bloody Valentine 2-night event. Shocktober merchandise is also available to purchase online and on site.

Dates: Friday, February 15th and Saturday, February 16th

Hours: Friday and Saturday: 7pm-10pm

Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Cost: Tickets are sold online at https://shocktober.org/ and at the door. ONLINE ONLY SPECIAL: $60 for 2 people “Couples Pass” for My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor; General Admission $35 (online only) $40 (at the door) for one person. Group discounts available online only.

Although known for its frightening PG-13 tours among thrill-seekers and locals, all proceeds from Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine benefit The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to children and adults with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center.

If you have a family member with special needs, want to volunteer, attend our events, or support The Arc of Loudoun, visit www.thearcofloudoun.org .

Stroke Recovery – Northern Virginia

Stroke Recovery 

Ability Fitness Center, located at The Arc of Loudoun in Northern Virginia, serves stroke survivors and people living with physical disabilities. At Ability Fitness Center, stroke survivors can exercise, develop skills to practice daily activities, and create friendships with others who may have similar disabilities. 

The main goal at Ability Fitness Center is for each stroke survivor (or people living with other physical disabilities) to improve their quality of life and reach their maximum potential. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Specialized Equipment 

Our specialized equipment is created for people living with physical disabilities. 

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike – enables clients with very little muscle control to exercise using pulses of electrical current to stimulate their nerves 
  • NuStep – has an inclusive design and specialized adaptive equipment, making total-body strength and cardio work-outs possible for virtually any user, including many who use a wheelchair 
  • Lite Gait – allows client to comfortably walk in an environment free from falls, and also allows clients to learn to walk with proper upright posture
  • Easy Stand Glider – active standing provides lower body range of motion and upper body strengthening. Users move the handles with their arms (or a caregiver can assist) which creates a reciprocal movement in the legs. The full range seat  allows full leg extension while standing.
  • Learn about all of our equipment here. 

Testimonials

Meet Tony, a stroke survivor

“Back in August of 2016 I suffered a severe stroke. Doctors told me it was 9.5 out of 10. It was very severe. I came to Ability Fitness Center (AFC) for my recovery. One thing I noticed, I lost quality of life when I had a stroke. And AFC definitely improves quality of life. 

When I first came to AFC, I was able to walk, but my walking form was not very good at all. Endurance was five minutes being able to stand, right now I’m standing for one hour. Now, my gait and posture has improved a lot. Before, I could only walk about ten feet before passing out, and now I’m able to walk about half an hour. It’s just been amazing. My speed has gotten to a point now, where I can almost walk a normal speed.

The progress I’ve made here has been tremendous. I would not be doing the things I’m doing now without AFC. I know that for a fact. I recommend Ability Fitness Center to anybody.” 

 

Meet Debbie, a stroke survivor

Debbi suffered from a stroke 15 years ago and has been a member of Ability Fitness Center (AFC) since January 2018. Debbi loves attending AFC several times a week, where she uses a majority of the equipment. She says, “After only going to AFC for a couple of months, I’ve already seen such a difference in myself, which is is amazing! Even my 14 year old daughter has complimented the improvement in my walking! If I can get my teenager to notice you know I’m making real improvements!”

Learn more about Ability Fitness center here

 

Contact us:

Email: hparker@thearcofloudoun.org

Phone: 571.439.1520

Fax: 703.777.1935

Spinal Cord Injury Recovery – Northern Virginia

Spinal Cord Injury Recovery 

spinal cord injury walking recoveryAbility Fitness Center, located at The Arc of Loudoun in Northern Virginia, serves people living with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities. At Ability Fitness Center, people living with a spinal cord injury can exercise, develop skills to practice daily activities, and create friendships with others who may have similar disabilities. 

The main goal at Ability Fitness Center is for each client living with a spinal cord injury (or other physical disabilities) to improve their quality of life and reach their maximum potential. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Specialized Equipment 

Our specialized equipment is created for people living with physical disabilities. 

  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Bike – enables clients with very little muscle control to exercise using pulses of electrical current to stimulate their nerves 
  • NuStep – has an inclusive design and specialized adaptive equipment, making total-body strength and cardio work-outs possible for virtually any user, including many who use a wheelchair 
  • Lite Gait – allows client to comfortably walk in an environment free from falls, and also allows clients to learn to walk with proper upright posture
  • Easy Stand Glider – active standing provides lower body range of motion and upper body strengthening. Users move the handles with their arms (or a caregiver can assist) which creates a reciprocal movement in the legs. The full range seat  allows full leg extension while standing.
  • Learn about all of our equipment here. 

Testimonials

Meet Eric who is living with a Spinal Cord Injury 

In late 2015 Eric suffered from a bicycle accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. In January 2018, Eric joined Ability Fitness Center. Since Eric first joined, he has seen tremendous progress! In February 2018 he walked for the first time on the treadmill with assistance.  Four months later, in May 2018, Eric was able to independently initiate the movement of his legs. He started by walking 7 steps and can now walk 15 total steps (see video below). 

Here’s what Eric has to say about Ability Fitness Center, “The thing I like about Ability Fitness Center is that I get to come here as many times as I wish. And for the past month or so, I’ve been coming four times a week. I get about 16 hours of work out! I feel more challenged everyday. Moreover, I look forward to coming here!” Check out Eric’s YouTube channel, where he tracks his progress. 

 

Meet MJ who is living with a Spinal Cord Injury. 

“My life changed November 20, 2016 when I was riding a horse that was a little bit tricky and was starting to buck. I was planning my dismount, and I pulled my feet out of the stirrups, and I was a little too far behind the vertical. His butt was coming up and my back was coming down. I collided with the back of the saddle. I sustained an immediate first fracture of my L1, and I hit the ground paralyzed.

Traditional physical therapy couldn’t give me the amount of time and energy that I needed in order to recover, so I came to Ability Fitness Center. At Ability Fitness Center, I can come here as often I want, and as long as I want. I’m not limited to one hour a week.

What I like about Ability Fitness Center is the environment, the other members, and the interaction that we have. I also love the energy and attitude of the people that work here. It’s really positive and upbeat! The staff has really helped me identify some of the asymmetries in my body. As a result, I can figure out what I really need to work on, on my own.

I can definitely tell I’m getting stronger and there’s more function and strength in my legs. In addition, I’m seeing muscles I thought were dead, come alive! 

Ability Fitness Center has given me a lot of hope. Coming here has made me so much more optimistic about my future.” – MJ, who is living with a spinal cord injury 

Learn more about Ability Fitness center here

 

Contact us:

Email: hparker@thearcofloudoun.org

Phone: 571.439.1520

Fax: 703.777.1935

The Arc of Loudoun Launches Return-to-Brand Initiative

The Arc of Loudoun Launches Return-to-Brand Initiative

Leesburg, Virginia, December 4, 2018 – The Arc of Loudoun, a Loudoun based non-profit organization, is returning to its 50+ year old brand identity. While its logo, colors, and font are all-new, the organization will now be referred to exclusively as The Arc of Loudoun, rather than The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus or Paxton Campus.

The Arc of Loudoun is delighted to continue serving needy children, their families and caregivers from the ‘17-acre safe haven’ belonging to The Margaret Paxton Memorial Trust (informally known as Paxton Campus). The return-to-brand allows us to embrace the national branding’s rich 65-year history and national credibility, so familiar to many families who have loved ones with special needs. This also gives us the opportunity to collaborate with the greater Washington area Arc Chapters to help all people with special needs and their families.

In returning to our brand, The Arc also reaffirms its commitment to advocate for persons with disabilities by promoting individual support and equitable participation with their non-disabled peers in all aspects of community life, including education, residence, vocation and healthcare. As a local chapter of The Arc National, our goal is to secure the full range of human and civil rights for children and adults with disabilities.

Lisa Kimball, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of Loudoun states, “We’re confident that this return-to-brand process will not only help us to continue to grow as an organization, but that it will enable us to better serve our community, supporters, and partners.”

Through The Arc of Loudoun’s five programs on campus, we will continue to be THE community resource for families that have children and adults with disabilities in Loudoun County. There are more than 244,223 children 0-19 with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the greater Washington area with 18,890 in Loudoun County alone–The Arc of Loudon’s goal is to empower, engage, and embrace every one of these children and adults with disabilities in Loudoun County.

For marketing related purposes, the organization shall be referred to simply as The Arc of Loudoun. The new website (thearcofloudoun.org) and social media handles (@TheArcofLoudoun) will also reflect The Arc of Loudoun’s brand.

The Arc of Loudoun is a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to people with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora SchoolOpen Door Learning Center PreschoolALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy CenterAurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017 and is also the charity behind the fan favorite Shocktober. 

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening Celebration on November 14th, 2018 at The Arc of Loudoun

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening Celebration on November 14th, 2018 at The Arc of Loudoun

Leesburg, VA – The Arc of Loudoun is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Aurora Behavior Clinic (ABC) in its new location in the Stone Barns on The Arc’s campus in historic Leesburg. ABC, which provides individualized therapeutic options for children with autism and other related disabilities, will celebrate its grand opening on Wednesday, November 14th at 5:00pm with a ribbon cutting, followed by an open house and light refreshments.

Aurora Behavior Clinic opened in October 2017, and moved into the Stone Barns in August 2018. Kendra McDonald, Clinical Director of The Arc of Loudoun and a behavior therapist explains, “As a parent of a son with autism, I would’ve loved for something like Aurora Behavior Clinic to exist when my son was growing up. We’ve taken the expertise of what we do at The Arc’s Aurora School and Open Door Learning Center preschool and created the clinic for children in the community that need intensive therapy. Moving into the Stone Barns allows us to serve even more of these children!”

The clinic has a specialized curriculum focused on verbal behavior and increasing social interactions using ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy, a type of therapy that uses positive reinforcement to increase wanted behaviors and decrease challenging behaviors. The clinic’s specialized team of therapists work on clients’ social skills, communication skills, and appropriate behavior. Lisa Kimball, Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of Loudoun states, “There is nothing else like Aurora Behavior Clinic in Loudoun County. What makes the clinic so extraordinary is that it is a one-stop-shop. The clinic has a highly-trained team of diagnosticians, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Occupational and Speech Therapists, and ABA Therapists all at one place.”

Kendra goes on to say, “The clinic is so unique in the fact that we also offer preschool ‘push-in.’ Pre-school aged clients can practice what they’re learning at the clinic, in a real classroom setting at The Arc’s preschool on campus, Open Door Learning Center. In addition, we also help parents of children with disabilities by offering support, guidance, and access to training to empower families as they reinforce the skills their children learn in the clinic at home.” 

Currently Aurora Behavior Clinic serves more than 50 clients in the community. Kendra states, “I’ve already seen astronomical success in clients who went from not communicating at all–to being able to read text, sign words, and talk vocally! Our goal is to continue to grow and reach more people in the community that can benefit from our clinic.”

The Arc of Loudoun is a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to people with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017 and is also the charity behind the fan favorite Shocktober.

If you have a child with special needs, want to volunteer, attend our events, or support The Arc of Loudoun, visit https://thearcofloudoun.org/.

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IFSP Application Training – September 17, 5:30-7:00pm

Individual and Family Support Program (ISFP) Application Training 

Learn about the IFSP online application process at The Arc of Loudoun!

Monday, September 17, 2018 | 5:30pm-7:00pm 
At The Arc of Loudoun 
601 Catoctin Circle, NE 
Leesburg, VA 20176

Register for the training HERE. 

What is ISFP funding?
The Individual and Family Support Program (IFSP)Funding provides cash assistance for services, supports, and items for individuals with a developmental disability that enhances or improves their quality of life and promotes independence and community-based living.

Who can apply?
Individuals with a developmental disability or their family member and who are on the DD waitlist.

For more informationn about the waiver waitlist, please visit or contact your local community services board (CSB).

Just like last year, all applications must be submitted on‐line using the IFSP Application web portal located at https://ifsponline.dbhds.virginia.gov.

September 10, 2018 is the first day to save an application draft. You will be able to review the application, fill in your information, and save a draft copy. If you need to make changes, you will be able to correct or edit your information. You will not be able to submit your application before the submission date.

On October 10, 2018 at 9:00 am, applicants will be able to submit a completed application. You will not be able to submit your application before the submission date. Remember, the IFSP Funding Remember, the IFSP Funding Program provides assistance on a first‐come‐ first‐served basis. Early applications are encouraged

All applications must be submitted online by November 8, 2018

Register for the application training HERE. 

Shocktober 2018 Press Release

Leesburg’s Award Winning Haunted House, Shocktober, Opens for its 9th Season on October 5th

LEESBURG, Virginia – August 28, 2018 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its ninth season this year with a new theme, packages, and attractions. Paxton Manor is a 150-year old mansion located in Leesburg, Virginia, that has been transformed into a professional haunted house that raises funds for The Arc of Loudoun, a nonprofit providing services to people with disabilities and their families. Shocktober is a major production that raised over $400,000 for The Arc of Loudoun in 2017 (about 50% of The Arc’s fundraising revenue), and had more than 12,000 attendees last year.

This year, the haunt will have a new theme, along with new packages and attractions, which will make Shocktober better than ever!

New Theme: This year, we have created a brand new theme, “Paxton Hall,” a haunted boarding school with a dark past. Attendees will experience new rooms and characters. “The story of Paxton Hall centers around an evil and terrifying headmistress, which results in the school students rebelling,” says Matt Smith, Director of Facilities for The Arc and evil creative genius of Shocktober.

New Trail of Terror Passport Guide: Shocktober’s Trail of Terror is a 3-day passport guide to Loudoun County restaurants, wineries, breweries, places to stay, and special experiences (with a haunted twist) during the Shocktober 2018 Season. Businesses on the Trail of Terror guide include: 14 Loudoun, Black Olive, Delirium Café, Exit Plan, Ford’s Fish Shack, Ghost Hunt of Leesburg, Leesburg Public House, Notaviva Vineyards, Old Ox Brewery, Paisano’s Pizza, Tarara Winery, Vanish Brewery, and Zephaniah Farm Vineyard. Hotel partners include Lansdowne Resort and Spa and The National. The more places patrons visit on the Trail of Terror, the more prizes they can win!

New Fears and Beers Package: “Get shocked in luxury.” This year, Shocktober attendees can enjoy a mini brewery tour of Loudoun County and experience Shocktober all in one night! We’ve partnered with Reston Limousine, where passengers ride in a limo or van to Old Ox Brewery, Delirium Café, and Shocktober. The $140 van ticket and $199 limo ticket includes: a 6 hour van or limo ride to the breweries and Shocktober, a R.I.P. (Really Important People) Shocktober fast pass, a flight of beer at Old Ox Brewery and Delirium Café, and a Shocktober t-shirt.

New Escape Room Attraction: Located in the haunted manor, Shocktober attendees can race against the clock in “Escape Paxton,” our five minute escape room of sheer confusion. Open only during Shocktober, Escape Paxton can be booked online for up to six people at $5 per person.

Partnerships: This year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships including our own special brew, the Oxorcist II, that is brewed by Old Ox Brewery in collaboration with Shocktober, for sale directly at Old Ox and distributed throughout Northern Virginia. Tarara Winery is creating a brand new wine in collaboration with Shocktober and on sale at Shocktober. Paisano’s Pizza and Chick-fil-a will be on sale at Shocktober. We thank Loudoun County and Virginia Tourism Corporation as our tourism destination sponsors. We thank Ford’s Fish Shack as a Scary-Good sponsor, The National as a Shock-tacular sponsor, and Cuccinelli Greiger as a Ghoulishly Great sponsor.

Grants Program Giving Back: We Scare Because We Care Mini-Grants Program, is an opportunity for human service nonprofits in Loudoun to serve more children. It is The Arc of Loudoun’s mission to maximize the potential of children while supporting families and individuals with disabilities so that they may thrive in the community and this program will be impacting more families by providing five $1,000 mini-grants to human service nonprofits in Loudoun County.

Shocktober Attractions include: Three levels of Paxton Manor, and its basement, Carnival of Souls.

Dates: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from October 5th through November 4th
Hours: Fridays and Saturdays: 7-10pm; Sundays: 7-9pm
Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176
Cost: ONLINE: $35 including the 3 levels of Paxton Manor and its basement, the Carnival of Souls; TICKET OFFICE: $40 including Paxton Manor and its basement, the Carnival of Souls

Tweet about Shocktober by copying and pasting the following tweet: Loudoun County’s destination haunted house, the terrifying @ShocktoberHaunt is open every weekend from 10/5-11/4! Buy your tickets now: https://shocktober.org/ #PaxtonHall #Shocktober2018

Follow and tag Shocktober on our social media handles: Facebook – @Shocktober Twitter/Instagram- @ShocktoberHaunt

Although known for its frightening PG-13 tours among thrill-seekers and locals, all proceeds from Shocktober benefit The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to children with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017 and is also the charity behind the fan favorite Shocktober, opening October 5 for the 2018 season.If you have a child with special needs, want to volunteer, attend our events, or support The Arc of Loudoun, visit www.thearcofloudoun.org .

2018 LEAP Grant Applications Open

LEAP Application

HSC Foundation has once again named The Arc of Loudoun a Community Partner in their Life Enrichment Awards Program (LEAP).  As a community organizations partner, we work with the HSC Foundation to carry out the LEAP program, making it possible for more youth and young adults with disabilities to transition to their next step, whether it is more school, training, or a job.

The purpose of the Life Enrichment Program (LEAP) is to enrich the lives of youth and young adults with disabilities and chronic illnesses in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This program is supported by a grant from The HSC Foundation”. LEAP provides goods and services that facilitate youth transition planning and for which resources are usually not available from public service and government agencies. These goods and services are not covered by Medicaid or private insurance and are not considered “medically necessary”.

Transition planning means a focused effort on improving the academic and functional achievement of the youth with a disability to facilitate the movement to post-school activities, including post secondary education, vocational education, integrated employment, continuing and adult educations, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Applicants must reside in one of the following areas: Alexandria, Arlington County, Clarke County, Culpepper County, Fairfax, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Prince William County, Rappahannock County, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Warren County.

•  Must be between the ages of 14 and 26
•  Must not have received a LEAP grant within the past three years
•  Must have a documented disability
•  Requested goods and services must be directly linked to transition planning and implementation (Examples may include tutoring, laptops, career development, independent living skill development, skills camp, behavioral therapy, etc.)
•  Maximum grant amount request must not exceed $1000

The application Deadline is Monday, September 17, 2018. Applicants will be notified of results by phone and/or email by September 24, 2018.

apply now button

For more information or to ask questions about the application process, contact Nyteisha Stith, Disability Advocate at 703-777-1939 ext. 200 or email nstith@paxtoncampus.org

ALLY ADVOCACY CENTER ON PAXTON CAMPUS NAMES DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY

ALLY ADVOCACY CENTER ON PAXTON CAMPUS NAMES DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY

Leesburg, Virginia- July 9, 2015- The Board of Directors and staff of The Arc of Loudoun on the PAXTON CAMPUS are thrilled to announce the appointment of Melissa Heifetz as the Director of Advocacy for the ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center.

The ALLY Advocacy Center’s goal is to fill the unmet needs of the community by providing free information on disability rights, providing support and events for families and caretakers of those with disabilities, as well as the professionals who work with them.

“It is exciting to have someone of Melissa’s caliber as the Director of Advocacy to continue to push forward ALLY’s mission”, said Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus. “Melissa is an irreplaceable gift to Paxton, and we are so lucky to have her talent, passion and expertise on our team.”

As the Director of Advocacy, Heifetz will continue to expand ALLY’s advocacy
program which currently includes special education consultations, advocacy
services for adults and community outreach programs and trainings for families.
This will mean more clients served at the Advocacy Center and more attention in
the community to the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Heifetz received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland,
College Park and her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore,
School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. After graduation, she
worked as a Staff Attorney in New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights
Division, where she advocated for children in Bronx Family Court. She later
received a fellowship to work in the New York University School of Law’s Public
Interest Law Center. She is currently the Vice Chair of Communication for the
Loudoun County Special Education Advisory Committee.

Paxton Campus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and
provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their
families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open
Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s
Closet. Paxton’s very low 3.6% overhead costs mean that almost 97 cents
of every donated dollar goes back to our programs.

Open Door Learning Center turns Five 

Open Door Learning Center turns Five 

Leesburg, Virginia – July 27, 2015 – On August 2, Paxton Campus’ Open Door Learning Center will celebrate its fifth anniversary.

Five years ago, Open Door Learning Center (ODLC) opened its doors for just one student. By 2013, 16 students were enrolled at ODLC. In the fall of 2015, ODLC will double in size when five highly qualified staff members welcome 32 students and five ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) students.

“It’s wonderful to see how much we’ve grown and see more people learning about our unique school. We’re so fortunate to have so many families in the community entrust our school with their child’s early education,” says Christine Favreaux, ODLC’s Administrative Director.

On August 3rd from 3:30-4:30 pm, a reception will be held to celebrate ODLC’s
anniversary and growth. All former and current students and families are invited to join
us in celebrating. Come see how the school has grown and check out ODLC’s brand new accessible playground. Light refreshments will be served.

ODLC is an accredited inclusive school for students, ages 2 to 7 years old, with and
without disabilities. Preschool, kindergarten and kindergarten enrichment programs are
offered. ODLC specializes in creating an inclusive and adaptable learning experience for all students and offers small teacher to student ratio, flexible scheduling and potty
training for all ages. ODLC provides hands-on learning and helps develop a child’s skills
in their natural environment,

Paxton Campus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides
direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and
caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center,ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. Paxton’s very low 3.6%
overhead costs mean that almost 97 cents of every donated dollar goes back to our
programs.

Writer Jennifer Alves published in Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts

Writer Jennifer Alves published in Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience
of Disability through Literature and the Fine Arts

August 4, 2015 – The work of writer Jennifer Alves of Hamilton, Virginia, has been published in the current issue of Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Experience of Disability through Literature and  the Fine Arts. Her personal essay, “Hiking the Appalachian Trail,” appears in issue number 71 of  the magazine. Her work was selected from among more than 350 submissions considered for  publication.

As a child, Alves endured surgeries, radiation and experimental chemical therapy for a brain tumor as well as dealing with blindness and a learning disability. She speaks on behalf of cancer awareness and in addition to her writing, she designs mixed media pieces of art on canvas.

The award-winning Kaleidoscope magazine is published by United Disability Services in Akron, Ohio. A pioneer in the publication of disability literature and fine arts, the magazine expresses the experiences of disability from the perspective of individuals, families, friends, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. The material chosen for Kaleidoscope challenges and overcomes  stereotypical, patronizing and sentimental attitudes about disability. The publication is now  available at no cost online by visiting www.KaleidoscopeOnline.org.

United Disability Services is celebrating 65 years of meeting the social, vocational, community  living, low vision, recreational, educational and transportation needs of people with disabilities. For more information visit www.udsakron.org

Shocktober’s Paxton Manor Opens its Award-Winning Haunted House on October 2nd

Shocktober’s Paxton Manor Opens its Award-Winning Haunted House on October 2nd

LEESBURG, Virginia – September 9, 2015 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its sixth season this year as an award-winning haunt. The 150+ team of dedicated volunteer actors and crew won Visit Loudoun’s Humanitarian Award this past spring. Paxton Manor is a 140-year old mansion located in Leesburg, Virginia, that has been transformed into a professional haunted house that raises funds for Paxton Campus, a nonprofit providing services to people with disabilities and their families living in Loudoun.

“We Scare Because We Care, is our motto” says Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus. “Shocktober brings a diverse group of amazing volunteers: from our Board of Directors and staff, to people who love our cause and want to help, to haunt enthusiasts who love to scare people. Each volunteer contributes so much to the entire production.”

Shocktober is a major production that logged over 5,200 volunteer hours and raised over $200,000 for Paxton Campus in 2014. Since Shocktober’s inception the proceeds have helped Paxton Campus create two new programs: “A Life Like Yours” ALLY Advocacy Center, that fills the unmet needs of the community by providing free information, supports and services to people with disabilities and their families; as well as Supported Training and Employment Program (STEP Up), a job skills and training program for adults with disabilities.

Paxton Manor is a source of mysterious local folklore, and many say paranormal activity. The 32-room mansion was built in 1872 above a massive underground lake and immense limestone caverns. “It is the perfect location for a haunted house, we just add actors and special effects and the house takes on a life of its own,” says Lassiter.

Theme of Shocktober: Legend has it that over 100 years ago, The Carvers were banished from Leesburg and forced to move to the underground caverns beneath the Paxton Manor. These zombie cave-dwellers were tired of living underground so they have taken over the haunted mansion, wreaking havoc on all who enter. Attractions include: Paxton Manor, and its basement, The Haunted Well of Souls.

Dates: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the month of October
Hours: Fridays and Saturdays: 7-10pm; Sundays: 7-9pm
Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176
Cost: ONLINE: $30 including Paxton Manor and its basement, the Haunted Well of Souls;
TICKET OFFICE: $35 including Paxton Manor and its basement, the Haunted Well of Souls

The Arc of Loudoun Celebrates Inclusive Schools Week in Loudoun County

The Arc of Loudoun Celebrates Inclusive Schools Week in Loudoun County

Leesburg, Virginia – December 7, 2015 – Paxton Campus celebrates Inclusive Schools Week this week, and inclusion for all, by awarding nine different Loudoun County Public Schools BUDDY BENCHES to be installed on their schools’ playgrounds.

The Buddy Bench is a way to foster friendship and eliminate children being lonely on the playground.  The way the Buddy Bench works is that if a child is looking for someone to play with they can sit on the bench, which signals the other students to come over and invite them to join in and play. It’s a great way to teach kindness and inclusion.

“We were happily surprised by the creativity of the applications from the nine schools around the county that applied for Buddy Benches, and we are thrilled that we are funding all nine Buddy Benches, as inclusion is so important to us, here at Paxton Campus,” says Melissa Heifetz, Director of Advocacy at the ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus.

The nine schools that will receive their Buddy Benches in mid- to late-January are: Trailside Middle School; Horizon Elementary; Algonkian Elementary; Sycolin Creek Elementary; Round Hill Elementary; Dominion Trail Elementary; Banneker Elementary; Aldie Elementary; and Newton Lee Elementary.

Joyce Shanholtzer, the Guidance Counselor at Banneker Elementary and Aldie Elementary, helped her students apply for Buddy Benches, “We wanted to make sure that all of our kids get to enjoy the playground, get to play with each other, and we have such great kids that always want to include other kids that we thought that the Buddy Bench would be a great signal to say that, hey – somebody needs a friend today.”

The Buddy Bench initiative is part of a larger advocacy created by the “A Life Like Yours” ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus, to spread awareness that ALL kids belong and can be included.

In 1967, a group of parents whose children had special needs formed The Arc of Loudoun, a nonprofit to start a school for their children when no one else would. In 2010, those two visions combined when The Arc of Loudoun moved to the Paxton Campus. Since then, the Campus has grown into a full-service organization to provide an integrated and innovative learning environment for all ages and abilities. Programs include Open Door Learning Center, The Aurora School, STEP Up vocational training program for adults, and ALLY (“A Life Like Yours”) Advocacy Center, all devoted to serving people with disabilities and their families, as well as helping children
of all abilities thrive in our community.

Launch of Love-ABLE Product Line at Be Beauty

Launch of Love-ABLE Product Line at Be Beauty

Leesburg, Virginia, April 5, 2016 – In recognition of Autism Awareness month, Paxton Campus and Be Beauty are partnering together for a launch party to introduce the new line of beauty and home products – Love-ABLE Products, made by the STEP Up Team, young adults with disabilities who are employees at Paxton Campus.

The Love-ABLE Product Launch Happy Hour is on Monday, April 11 from 5pm to 7pm at Be Beauty in Market Station in Leesburg.  Light hors d’ oeuvres and wine will be served. If someone needs childcare to attend the event, Paxton Campus will be hosting free childcare services with an RSVP to Katie Wilcox at kwilcox@paxtoncampus.org.

“We are trying to empower young adults with disabilities, who might not be successful in another environment, to become entrepreneurs and create their own businesses with whatever interests them,” says Katie Wilcox, Program Director for the STEP Up Program.

STEP Up (Supported Training and Employment Program) provides adults with disabilities with training and meaningful employment opportunities both on-campus and in the community.  We believe that ALL adults should be involved in meaningful jobs which they enjoy and that ALL adults are capable of thriving in the workforce when provided with the right supports.

Be Beauty is Downtown Leesburg’s only custom makeup studio, with makeup, skincare, nail care products and accessories for sale.

STEP Up will be launching two products at the event: Love-ABLE Bath Fizzies and Love-ABLE Room Deodorizer.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Be Beauty for this product launch, and look forward to many more fruitful partnerships with Loudoun businesses. Be Beauty will also be hosting a ‘Spa Day’ for some women with disabilities living in Loudoun later this month,” says Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director of Paxton Campus.

Paxton Campus is celebrating Autism Awareness Month throughout the month of April. Please check the website www.paxtoncampus.org for other related events. Paxton Campus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. Paxton’s very low 5% overhead costs mean that almost 95 cents of every donated dollar goes back to our programs.

For more information, visit www.paxtoncampus.org or contact Rachel Roseberry, CommunicationsCoordinator of Paxton Campus, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.431.4279.

The Arc of Loudoun and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Partner for Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement Initiative

The Arc of Loudoun and Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Partner for Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement Initiative

Leesburg, Virginia, September 22, 2016 – The Arc of Loudoun, with a winning partnership with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, is helping lead the way forward in positive interactions with law enforcement and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The question of “What happens when the police are called?” has always caused anxiety for parents of children with intellectual and development disabilities. In a report published by the Center for Public Integrity, Virginia has recently been ranked #1 in the nation in school-based arrests, with children with disabilities disproportionately represented. At ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus, we have started to think prevention. As a result, the Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement “PILE” Initiative was created to approach this issue with a multi-faceted approach. We are focusing on: law enforcement training, parent training, developing safety curriculum for students with disabilities in school, training for adults with disabilities in the community, training for lawyers in the criminal justice system, and increased training for all First Responders.

Our latest step involves training the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatchers. Sergeant Linda Cerniglia explains the collaboration, “We partnered up with Paxton Campus about 18 months ago. We run our CIT [Crisis Intervention Team] Deputies through Paxton, we have a guest speaker talking about what autism is and we are currently doing 911 dispatcher training – so that our law enforcement officers actually know how to react when they see someone with autism. Education is power. The more the law enforcement learns the better response we can give to citizens of Loudoun County.”

Two programs on Paxton Campus: ALLY Advocacy Center and The Aurora School have been integral in designing curricula for students with autism and other developmental disabilities, training materials for families and law enforcement. Kendra McDonald, Program Director at The Aurora School says, “We are teaching our students at The Aurora School on Paxton Campus how to interact with law enforcement officers and now we are teaching law enforcement on our students and ways to try to get information from our students. For example, our students are learning how to respond and convey their basic information such as their name, phone number and address, whether they are able to talk about it or whether they use sign language, their iPads, pictures or some kind of identification on them. And we are teaching the law enforcement officers how to seek out that information from people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities.”

To help this charge, The Arc of Loudoun is pleased to announce it has received a $2,000 Pathways to Justice™ grant from its national organization, The Arc of the U.S.  Created by The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability® (NCCJD) in 2013, Pathways to Justice is a first-of-its kind training initiative. It strives to form strong and lasting partnerships between criminal justice and disability professionals that address service gaps encountered by people with disabilities and their families within the criminal justice arena. We have formed the county’s first Disability Response Team (DRT) to help coordinate a multidisciplinary training and be the point of contact when these types of cases come into the system. The members of the DRT include representatives from: the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Juvenile Detention Center, The Department of Juvenile Probation, The Public Defender’s Office, Family Advocates, Self-Advocates and Disability Advocates.
Melissa Heifetz is the Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center on Paxton Campus and initiator of the PILE Program, “We want to collaborate with people on all sides of the criminal justice system. We have formed an amazing partnership with Sergeant Cerniglia and her team, where the CITs come to Paxton Campus once a month for a site visit. They learn how to identify and communicate with people with ID/DD. We also teach them how to deescalate crisis situations involving individuals with ID/DD.  Expanding on that, we have safety training for parents, we have developed a curriculum for the students at our school, and now are training the 911 dispatchers on how to receive calls from people with ID/DD or about someone with ID/DD.” Heifetz continues.  “Our next step is to train criminal attorneys to be aware that whether the individual is a defendant or a victim, they have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and may need reasonable accommodations or modifications throughout the process.”

Paxton Campus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet.  Paxton’s very low 5% overhead costs mean that almost 95 cents of every donated dollar goes back to our programs.

For more information, visit www.paxtoncampus.org or contact Rachel Roseberry, Communications Coordinator of Paxton Campus, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.431.4279.

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Shocktober Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing

Shocktober Receives Virginia Tourism Corporation Grant for Tourism Marketing

Leesburg, Virginia, September 29, 2016 – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that Shocktober received $10,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Program grant fund. In total VTC awarded $927,000 for 43 tourism marketing projects across the state to help increase visitation and revenue for Virginia’s localities through tourism.

Shocktober received a $10,000 grant for its “Shocktober Takes Over October”. We have partners with Old Ox Brewery, in a collaborative brew: Oxorcist II; Hampton Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites for discount hotel rooms for our customers; and Visit Loudoun to help reach more customers inside and outside the Greater DC Area.

The grants are designed to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging local marketing dollars, and will ultimately impact at least 159 other statewide tourism entities. The local organizations match the state grant funds by a minimum of 2:1 in order to support marketing projects. This funding cycle, the local partners will match the VTC grant dollars with more than $2.3 million, providing more than $3.2 million in new marketing to increase visitation to Virginia.

“The Marketing Leverage Grant program is designed to spur job creation, economic development, and visitor spending through new or enhanced tourism product,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants are proven to increase visitation by creating marketing partnerships and effective marketing programs.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2015, tourism generated $23 billion in revenue, supported nearly 222,600 jobs and provided $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. Dollars invested in tourism are proven to provide a 5:1 return in tax revenue for Virginia, and the grant awards and matching funds provide a stimulus to localities seeking to increase tourism visitation and revenue.

Shocktober will proudly carry the Virginia is for Lovers logo on our marketing materials this season!

Shocktober is a seasonal event that brings thousands of people to Loudoun every Halloween season. Shocktober’s Paxton Manor is a haunted house tourism attraction open every weekend through the month of October. The 2015 Season was the sixth year that Shocktober has been open.  In 2015, Shocktober had over 10,000 people walk through its doors, generating over $300,000 for Paxton Campus, the nonprofit it serves.  We Scare Because We Care! Paxton Campus is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet.  Paxton’s very low 5% overhead costs mean that almost 95 cents of every donated dollar goes back to our programs.

For more information, visit www.shocktober.org or contact Rachel Roseberry, Communications Coordinator of Paxton Campus, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.431.4279.

 

The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus turns 50 with Big Changes in Store

The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus turns 50 with Big Changes in Store

Leesburg, Virginia, January 9, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun is excited to announce that 2017 marks the 50th year we have been in Loudoun, serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 1967, parents of children with disabilities founded The Arc of Loudoun because they had a vision to help their family members live ‘A Life Like Yours’. In 1922, Rachel Paxton also had a vision–she wanted her historic Leesburg property to be used to help the ‘needy children’ of Loudoun County. In December 2009, those two visions united and The Arc of Loudoun moved to the Paxton Campus. Since then we have become a full-service non-profit organization with multiple programs and services that together provide an integrated and innovative environment for people with disabilities throughout their lives.

Today, The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus announces the resignation of Jennifer Lassiter, Executive Director, effective January 27. She has very kindly offered to assist with transitioning her responsibilities to our interim Executive Director, Melissa Heifetz, who is currently the Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center. Melissa has been with The Arc of Loudoun since 2014 and has been an integral part of our team, growing our advocacy and supported employment programs, we look forward to having her continue to grow our programs in this 50th year. Melissa says, “I am honored and humbled to be given this responsibility. I fell in love with this campus from the moment I arrived as a volunteer several years ago and have continued to be impressed with the commitment and hard work of the staff and all the good that we accomplish together. I look forward to a bright future for all of our programs.”

Since 2000, Jennifer has been devoted to growing The Arc of Loudoun into the successful organization that it is today, moving the nonprofit’s major program, The Aurora School, from Purcellville to the Paxton Campus in Leesburg, and establishing three new programs since 2009: Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center and the STEP Up Program. She is a true visionary and her team recognizes her for her leadership, great work ethic, and commitment to meeting the needs of children with disabilities in Loudoun. On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff on Paxton Campus, we would like to wish Jennifer the best of success and we are looking forward to continuing to work with her as she transitions into her next role in our community, as the Executive Director of the Paxton Memorial Trust. Jennifer says, “Working with the team at Paxton has been one of the greatest joys of my professional life. We have created something special here, and I’m proud of the impact we have had in helping the disability community in Loudoun County. I know I am leaving it in good hands, and I look forward to expanding our relationship in my new role.”

Lisa Herndon Broyhill, President of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Loudoun says, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Jennifer for her longtime leadership and vision, growing The Arc of Loudoun into the flourishing organization it is today. We would also like to inform our community that we will continue to move forward with our programs in 2017, celebrating The Arc of Loudoun’s 50th Anniversary.” She continues, “Our future is certain and our mission is clear: Paxton Campus maximizes the potential of children while supporting families and individuals with disabilities so that they may thrive in the community.” Fiftieth celebration festivities will continue throughout 2017, kicking off with The Arc of Loudoun’s Annual Meeting on Monday, February 27th from 6pm to 7:30pm. The Annual Meeting will take place in the ALLY Advocacy Center building on Paxton Campus, 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg. Contact Rachel Roseberry to RSVP or for more information, rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org

 

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Three Nights in FEARbruary!

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Three Nights in FEARbruary!

LEESBURG, Virginia – January 20, 2017 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its doors for its third annual My Bloody Valentine event, three nights in February the weekend before Valentine’s Day: Friday the 10th, Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th! It is Shocktober in … FEARbruary – think creepy clowns, scary dolls and a terrifying twist to your typical Valentine’s date! Doors open at 7pm and the last tickets are sold at 10pm on Friday and Saturday and 9pm on Sunday.

For a better time than ever, this year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships this including our own BLOOD red wine, “My Bloody Valentine Wine,” that is locally produced by Tarara Winery in collaboration with Shocktober, on sale this FEARbruary at our My Bloody Valentine 3-night event and Tarara Winery. Our hotel partner is: Comfort Suites in Leesburg, where we have a special My Bloody Valentine rate. We also thank Visit Loudoun, our tourism destination sponsor.

Dates: Friday, February 10th; Saturday, February 11th, and Sunday, February 12th  

Hours: Friday and Saturday: 7pm-10pm; Sunday: 7pm-9pm

Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Cost: ONLINE ONLY SPECIAL: $50 for 2 people “Couples Pass” for My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor; General Admission (online and at-the-door): $30 for one person. Group discounts available.

Although known for its frightening PG-13 tours among thrill-seekers and locals, all proceeds from Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine benefit The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus, an organization dedicated to serving people with disabilities and their families, as well as helping children of all abilities thrive in our community. 

Located in Leesburg, Virginia, the historic Paxton Campus has been serving children and families in need for 90 years. In 1967, a group of parents whose children had special needs formed The Arc of Loudoun, a 501(c)3 organization, to start a preschool for their children when no one else would.  Since then, the Paxton Campus has grown into a full-service organization with multiple programs that together provide an integrated and innovative learning environment for children of all ages and abilities.

For more information, visit www.shocktober.org or contact Rachel Roseberry, Communications Coordinator of Paxton Campus, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939.
                                                           

The Arc of Loudoun Celebrates Autism Awareness Month in APRIL

The Arc of Loudoun Celebrates Autism Awareness Month in APRIL

LEESBURG, Virginia – March 28, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus will kick-off Autism Awareness month with its Annual Spring Festival on Sunday, April 2 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm, on the beautiful grounds of Paxton Campus at 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg. The family-friendly event is free and open to the entire community. It features an egg hunt with 10,000 eggs for kids of all ability levels, a visit from the Easter Bunny, cotton candy, popcorn, and a silent art auction featuring dozens of one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork. The festival ends with a trike-a-thon to benefit the Open Door Learning Center preschool on the campus and an autism awareness walk. Please bring your own baskets.

This year, The Arc of Loudoun celebrates a huge milestone: 50 years of serving people with disabilities in Loudoun County! “Throughout the past five decades, many people have been positively impacted by The Arc and benefited from its many programs,” said Melissa Heifetz, Interim Executive Director. “Each person has their own, unique story to tell. We’ll be highlighting 50 of these inspiring stories each week on our social media and our website with our “50 Faces of The Arc” awareness campaign.” 

The Aurora School on Paxton Campus would like to thank the students and parents of Sycolin Creek Elementary School for donating several weighted lap blankets as part of its community project. The students at Sycolin Creek used this project to learn more about autism, and the Aurora School students got some brand new lap pads for its students to enjoy.

Paxton Campus is a (501)(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. Our overhead admin cost is a very low 5.6%; which means that almost .95 cents of every donated dollar goes right back to our programs. www.paxtoncampus.org

 

Paxton Campus announces 3rd Annual MUSIC AT THE MANOR Concert Series

Paxton Campus announces 3rd Annual MUSIC AT THE MANOR Concert Series

Leesburg, Virginia, May 1, 2017 — The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus will once again host its free concert series called “MUSIC AT THE MANOR”, every Friday in May, from 5pm-8pm, featuring live music performances by local artists playing a variety of genres on its beautiful 17-acre property.  

This family-friendly event is open to the public and doesn’t require a ticket.  Guests must bring their own chairs and blankets.  This event is RAIN OR SHINE, but tents will be provided for shelter. The music lineup is as follows: May 5th  The Voodoo Blues, May 12th Riki J & The Blue Rhythm, May 19th brings Loudoun’s emerging youth artists to the stage; and May 26th features the King Street Kats.

The Arc of Loudoun is pleased to continue its partnership with local businesses to enhance the concert goer’s experience.  Tarara Winery wines and Old Ox Brewery beers will be sold at the concerts to patrons over 21 with valid ID.  The featured wines will be the ever-popular Tarara Long-Bomb Red, the Boneyard White and Boneyard Rose′.  Old Ox’s Alpha Ox Hoppy Pale Ale and Hardway Summer Lager will be also served on tap.

A variety of food vendors will be present each week: May 5th features the Jambalaya Bros.’ Cajun cooking, May 12th is ResQ BBQ, May 19th brings Bada Bing Bagels, and Paisano’s Pizza on May 26th.  In addition to fantastic raffle prizes, the concerts will also feature local vendors selling hand-crafted items, classic cars will be on display, kids’ activities, and Tarara summer concert series season passes and individual concert tickets for sale. The benefit to buying passes at Music at the Manor is that it allows guests to sit under Paxton VIP tent at the concerts.

Money raised during this event will go directly toward the new Paxton Advantage Behavior Clinic. The Advantage Behavior Clinic is phase one of the Barns of Paxton, a multi-purpose complex for people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.  “The clinic provides support, training and encouragement services to families in our area who struggle with autism and related challenges,” says Kendra McDonald, Clinical Director. “We strive to reduce crisis behaviors in the community, so that our clients’ quality of life improves.”

The event sponsors are: Thos D. Walsh Realtors, Ariad Partners, Procentrix, OmniLert, Curt Carlson, Jenni Bickerstaff, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, Living Realty LLC, A&A Heating and Air Conditioning, Melissa & Andrew Heifetz, The Pellicano Family, Scott & Jessica Billigmeier.

Paxton Campus is a (501)c(3), non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet.

The Arc of Loudoun hosts Pathways to Justice Training in Leesburg

The Arc of Loudoun hosts Pathways to Justice Training in Leesburg

LEESBURG, Virginia – May 15, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus will be hosting the Pathways to Justice Training program on Tuesday, May 23rd from 9:00am-5:00pm, at Ida Lee Recreation Center.  Pathways to Justice  is a field-tested criminal justice and disability training provided by The Arc of the US’s NCCJD (National Center on Criminal Justice & Disability).  This one-day training program will bring together criminal justice-related and disability professionals into one place to address key barriers to justice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Pathways to Justice will discuss issues proactively before a crisis occurs to benefit all involved,” said Melissa Heifetz, The Arc of Loudoun’s Executive Director. “The program piggybacks nicely with what we’ve been doing with local law enforcement in our ‘Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement’ training program here on Paxton Campus over the past year.”  

In addition, the training aims to educate individuals in the criminal justice system about cracks in the system that can have devastating effects on people with disabilities.

“Our goal is to have law enforcement recognize and respond appropriately to ID/DD population and to ensure the safety of everyone involved in a possible critical situation,” said Sergeant Linda Cerniglia, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator.  “By raising our own awareness to the needs and even limitations of this population, law enforcement will be able to utilize de-escalation skills, use the proper resources and, maybe even not take immediate action but to observe and listen to what is going on.”

Over 100 law enforcement, legal professionals, victim service professionals, disability advocates and families from Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William County will be attending the event.

The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus is a (501)(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967.

Heifetz appointed Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun  

Heifetz appointed Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun  

LEESBURG, Virginia – May 19, 2017 – The Board of Directors of the Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus voted unanimously to appoint Melissa Heifetz as its Executive Director.  Melissa had been acting as Interim Executive Director since late January.   She has been with The Arc of Loudoun since 2014; previously serving as the Administrative Director of the ALLY Advocacy Center. During her tenure at ALLY, she grew its advocacy, supported employment and law enforcement interaction training programs.

 “The Board recognized Melissa’s outstanding performance as interim Executive Director and believes that her successful experience working with the disability community, her business acumen and leadership traits will lead our organization as we embark on a plan to improve and grow the programs at Paxton campus,” said Board of Directors President George Pellicano.

Melissa received her undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Juris Doctor degree from University of Baltimore School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. After graduation she worked as a Staff Attorney in New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division, where she advocated for children in Bronx Family Court. She later received a fellowship to work in New York University School of Law’s Public Interest Law Center. Melissa also interned at the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office, The Court Appointed Special Advocate program in Montgomery County and The Public Justice Center in Baltimore.

She has previously served as the Vice Chair of Communication for the Loudoun County Special Education Advisory Committee. Melissa is a member of the Virginia Ability Alliance and the Loudoun County Human Services Board. She also Chairs Loudoun’s Disability Response Team, a collaboration with Law Enforcement.  She lives in Potomac Falls with her husband and 2 children.

The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus is a (501)(c)(3), non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, STEP Up and Maggie’s Closet. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. www.paxtoncampus.org    

McDonald appointed Director of Clinical Services of The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

McDonald appointed Director of Clinical Services of The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

LEESBURG, Virginia – June 23, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is pleased to announce that Kendra McDonald has been appointed into the new role of Director of Clinical Services on the campus. Kendra has been the Interim Director of The Aurora School (Aurora), a private day school on campus for students with developmental disabilities, particularly autism, since May of this year. Kendra moves into this role as The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus starts the Advantage Behavior Clinic, a new program offering therapeutic services to the whole community.

Kendra started volunteering with The Arc of Loudoun in 2008, as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist, then became a Case Manager, Program Director, Interim Director of Aurora, and is now the Director of Clinical Services. “I’m excited about this position because I’ve worked in all aspects of the program and have a unique understanding of the responsibilities and needs of the staff; I really want to support them in providing a great individualized educational experience for our students. They work really hard every day, working with students who have high intensive needs,” said McDonald.

Kendra began her career in behavior analysis after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2002. She completed her behavior analysis coursework at UMASS Lowell and she has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  She became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in June 2014. Kendra emphasizes the principles and teaching procedures of verbal behavior across all teaching opportunities including communication, social skills, and academics. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the decision to move Kendra up to this brand new role. She is absolutely fantastic and has been ‘in the trenches’ for years and knows the needs of each program,” said Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Heifetz continued, “This new role allows consistent and quality ABA services across all programming on campus; these programs include the Advantage Behavior Clinic, The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center and STEP Up.”

With Kendra at the helm of Clinical Services, The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus launched the Advantage Behavior Clinic, a branch of Aurora that is open to the community at large. The Clinic provides individualized therapeutic options for children with autism and other related disabilities, with a specialized curriculum focused on verbal behavior and increasing social interactions. Some of the things that the therapists work on with students are Social Skills, Communication Skills, and Appropriate Behavior.

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, and STEP Up. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967.

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus tries to win $75,000 through DSW’s Show Lovers Care – Leave Your Mark Program

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus tries to win $75,000 through DSW’s Show Lovers Care – Leave Your Mark Program

LEESBURG, Virginia – August 4, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is excited to announce that they are one of eight finalists, nation-wide, competing for $75,000 in Designer Shoe Warehouse’s Shoe Lovers Care Leave Your Mark program.

Toni Smith, a volunteer from The Arc’s biggest fundraiser, Shocktober, is the DSW associate who nominated the nonprofit for this contest.

The seven other organizations competing are: A Kid Again, Boys and Girls Club of America, Comfort Cases, Operation Homefront, Providence House, The Jessie Rees Foundation, and The Trevor Project.  Each of the eight finalists will receive $5,000 and the organization with the most votes will receive a $75,000 donation. 

The contest website for voting is: http://www.shoeloverscare.com/ Voting is starts today, August 4 and runs until August 15 at 11:59 p.m. Participants are allowed to cast one vote daily.

“We are really excited to be nominated for this contest, and we urge all Loudouners to help us win by casting your vote,” says Rachel Roseberry, Director of Communications at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus.

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, Advantage Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. 

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Shaffer appointed Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

Shaffer appointed Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

LEESBURG, Virginia – August 7, 2017 – The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is pleased to announce that Eileen Shaffer has been appointed into the role of Administrative Director of ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center on the campus.

The ALLY Advocacy Center’s goal is to fill the unmet needs of the community by providing free information on disability rights, providing support and events for families and caretakers of those with disabilities, as well as the professionals who work with them.

“It is exciting to have someone with Eileen’s passion and knowledge as the Director of Advocacy to continue to push forward ALLY’s mission,” said Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director of Paxton Campus. 

As the Director of Advocacy, Shaffer will continue to expand ALLY’s advocacy program which currently includes special education consultations, advocacy services for individuals with disabilities and community outreach programs and trainings for families, caretakers and professionals. This will mean more clients served at the Advocacy Center and more attention in the community to the rights of individuals with disabilities.

This past spring, under Eileen’s leadership, ALLY completed two successful community projects: Pathways to Justice and iCan Bike Camp. Pathways to Justice was a training for 130 people working in the criminal justice system to address key barriers to justice for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and discuss practical solutions that work best for them. The iCan Bike Camp is a program that teaches individuals with disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently. In June, 37 individuals with disabilities learned how to ride a bike, with a 77% success rate. One of our next initiatives is the ALLY Inclusion Project which will link children with disabilities with inclusive programs in the community.

Eileen received her undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College in Sociology where she was awarded the Jean Donovan Award to promote human rights.  She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Health from Virginia Commonwealth University.   She has worked in group homes with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  As the Resident Services Director of a continuing care retirement community in North Carolina, she worked with individuals across the spectrum from independent adults, assisted living, skilled nursing, adult day care and dementias.  She works as a Care Manager in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.  She has experience coordinating care for her clients with community and healthcare resources.  As the Advocacy Coordinator at the ALLY Center, she provides resources and referrals to families and clients; empowers families to advocate for their children in the IEP process; works with self-advocates and supports a variety of educational outreach programs to educate families and caregivers.  Eileen has been an active volunteer in Loudoun County, initiating volunteer programs with Backpack Buddies, Girl Scouts, the Loudoun Homeless Shelter.  Eileen lives in Leesburg with her husband and two daughters.

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, Advantage Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. 

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Shocktober’s Haunted House Opens for its Eighth Season on September 29th

Shocktober’s Haunted House Opens for its Eighth Season on September 29th

LEESBURG, Virginia – September 11, 2017 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its eighth season this year with a brand new theme in the basement attraction, “Carnival of Souls”.  Formerly, the “Haunted Well of Souls,” the in the new “Carnival of Souls,” the Carver Carnival Family has come back to town to terrorize anyone willing to enter the basement. “Think crazed killer clowns and rancid cotton candy in twisted underground carnival carnage,” says Matt Smith, Director of Facilities for The Arc and evil creative genius of Shocktober.

Award-winning Haunt: The 200+ team of dedicated volunteer actors and crew won Loudoun Care’s Volunteer Team Award for 2017, Visit Loudoun’s Marketing Campaign of the Year Award in 2016 and the Humanitarian Award in 2015. Paxton Manor is a 140-year old mansion located in Leesburg, Virginia, that has been transformed into a professional haunted house that raises funds for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus (The Arc), a nonprofit providing services to people with disabilities and their families living in Loudoun. 

New Grants Program Giving Back: “Every scare counts at Shocktober and something new and exciting this year is that through Shocktober we are giving back to the community in a bigger way than ever before,” says Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director of The Arc. “We want to introduce the ‘We Scare Because We Care Mini-Grants Program,’ which is an opportunity for human service nonprofits in Loudoun to serve more children.” It is The Arc of Loudoun’s mission to maximize the potential of children while supporting families and individuals with disabilities so that they may thrive in the community and this program will be impacting more families by providing five $1,000 mini-grants to human service nonprofits in Loudoun County.

Partnerships: For a better time than ever, this year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships this including our own special brew, the Oxorcist II, that is brewed by Old Ox Brewery in collaboration with Shocktober, on sale at Shocktober and distributed throughout Northern Virginia. Paisano’s Pizza will be on sale at Shocktober, and they are generously feeding our volunteer zombie hoard every Sunday in October. Our hotel partners are: Lansdowne Resort, Hampton Inn & Suites, and Homewood Suites. We thank Visit Loudoun, our tourism destination sponsor.

Legend has it that over 100 years ago, The Carvers were banished from Leesburg and forced to move to the underground caverns beneath the Paxton Manor. These zombie cave-dwellers were tired of living underground so they have taken over the haunted mansion, wreaking havoc on all who enter.  Attractions include: Paxton Manor, and its basement, Carnival of Souls. 

Dates: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from September 29th through October 29th

Hours: Fridays and Saturdays: 7-10pm; Sundays: 7-9pm

Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 20176

Cost: ONLINE: $35 including Paxton Manor and its basement, the Carnival of Souls; TICKET OFFICE: $40 including Paxton Manor and its basement, the Carnival of Souls

Shocktober is a major production that logged over 5,000 volunteer hours and raised nearly $350,000 for The Arc of Loudoun in 2016. The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a full-service organization with multiple programs and services that together provide an integrated and innovative environment for people with disabilities from childhood through adulthood,, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, Advantage Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Aurora School, a private day school licensed by the Virginia Department of Education, teaches students with special needs, particularly those with autism. Open Door Learning Center is a preschool that serves children with and without disabilities. “A Life Like Yours” ALLY Advocacy Center fills the unmet needs of the community by providing free information on disability rights, guidance, support, events, and workshops to families and caretakers of those with disabilities and the professionals who work with them. Advantage Behavior Clinic provides individualized therapeutic options for children with autism and other related disabilities, with a specialized curriculum focused on verbal behavior and increasing social interactions. Ability Fitness Center is therapeutic fitness and wellness center with expert clinicians and specialized equipment that will provide access to innovative, customized, and activity based interventions for people with neurologic and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. 

For more information, visit www.shocktober.org or contact Rachel Roseberry, Director of Communications, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.431.4279.

 

Ability Fitness Center announces its opening at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

Ability Fitness Center announces its opening at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

Leesburg, VA – November 13, 2017 – Ability Fitness Center, a therapeutic fitness and wellness center for people with neurological and developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce it is open for business  at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus in Leesburg. A groundbreaking celebration to start the renovations for the Center’s new home will take place on Monday, November 20th at 10:00am.

The dream of opening the Ability Fitness Center for people with neurological disabilities, particularly spinal cord injuries started five years ago, with the nonprofit Ability Fitness Center, Inc. (AFC). “When I had my accident 6.5 years ago, I was lucky enough to attend some of the better rehab centers,” says Freddie Hetzel, a founding board member of AFC. He continues, “I learned very quickly that for me to receive any exercise, I would either need to hire a physical therapist to work in my home or travel over an hour each way to a rehab center. As wealthy as our area is, there are not any options for this population to exercise, depriving us of the mental and physical benefits from working out with others.  I am eternally grateful to our friends and family for the support they have provided to enable us to solve this problem as we begin our journey of creating a community of hope, healing and health at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus.”

“We, The Arc of Loudoun, are thrilled to partner with AFC, to fill a need in the community with fitness and wellness to a new population that The Arc has not worked with in the past,” says Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun. She continues, “We are also excited that the students with autism and other developmental disabilities from The Aurora School are receiving one-on-one fitness instruction in daily sessions in the new Center.”

Ability Fitness Center is The Arc of Loudoun’s newest program focusing on activity-based interventions that increase functional ability for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, balance disorders, developmental disabilities, and other neurological conditions. Clients of Ability Fitness Center pay a monthly membership fee and receive access to the Center’s specialized equipment, as well as one-on-one sessions with the Center’s neuro physical therapist. Need-based scholarships are available.

“When someone has a spinal cord injury, stroke, or other neurological diagnosis, insurance coverage is typically insufficient for their needs.  After discharge from outpatient therapy, people want to continue to work towards maximizing their function yet this is often difficult to do on their own and many cannot exercise in a standard gym. At Ability Fitness Center we have specialized equipment, expert therapists, knowledge of their diagnoses, and most importantly we are able to offer support both physically and emotionally. We are creating a space where clients can work out together and support each other through their journeys of accomplishments and challenges,” says Helen Parker PT, DPT, NCS, Clinical Director of Ability Fitness Center and a neurological physical therapist.

Currently Ability Fitness Center has 10 clients from the community and is serving 16 children from The Aurora School on campus. “The goal is to continue to grow to reach more people in our community that can benefit from our center.  We also want to grow by adding support groups and group classes along with the individual exercise times,” says Parker. 

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, adults and children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. 

For more information on Ability Fitness Center visit www.paxtoncampus.org/ability-fitness-center or contact Rachel Roseberry, Director of Communications for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, at rroseberry@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939 ext. 106.

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

Shocktober Opens its Doors for Two Nights in FEARbruary!

LEESBURG, Virginia – January 19, 2018 – Shocktober’s Paxton Manor will open its doors for its fourth annual My Bloody Valentine event, two nights in February the weekend before Valentine’s Day: Friday the 9th and Saturday the 10th! It is Shocktober in … FEARbruary – new this year, the Carver characters are looking for dates for the Valentine’s Day Dance Massacre, a terrifying twist to your typical Valentine’s date! Doors open at 7pm and the last tickets are sold at 10pm on Friday and Saturday.

This year we have amazing community partnerships and sponsorships including our own BLOOD red wine, “My Bloody Valentine Wine,” that is locally produced by Tarara Winery in collaboration with Shocktober, on sale this FEARbruary at our My Bloody Valentine 2-night event. Shocktober merchandise is also available to purchase online and on site. We also thank Visit Loudoun, our tourism destination sponsor.

Dates: Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th

Hours: Friday and Saturday: 7pm-10pm

Location: 601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, Virginia 2017

Cost: ONLINE ONLY SPECIAL: $60 for 2 people “Couples Pass” for My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor; General Admission $35 (online only) $40 (at the door) for one person. Group discounts available online only.

Although known for its frightening PG-13 tours among thrill-seekers and locals, all proceeds from Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine benefit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, a full-service, non-profit organization dedicated to serving children with disabilities and their families, as well as helping children of all abilities thrive in our community. 

Located in Leesburg, Virginia, the historic Paxton Campus has been serving children and families in need for 90 years. In 1967, a group of parents whose children had special needs formed The Arc of Loudoun, a 501(c)3 organization, to start a preschool for their children when no one else would.  Since then, The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus has grown into a full-service organization with multiple programs that together provide an integrated and innovative learning environment for children of all ages and abilities.

For more information, visit www.shocktober.org or contact Morgan Payne, Marketing and Communications Coordinator of The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, at mpayne@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939 ext 106.   

Melissa Heifetz Tapped to Serve as Executive Director of Family Synagogue, Steps Down at The Arc of Loudoun

Melissa Heifetz Tapped to Serve as Executive Director of Family Synagogue, Steps Down at The Arc of Loudoun

Leesburg, Virginia, April 4, 2018 – Today, The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus announces the departure of Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director, effective April 20 as she takes on the opportunity to serve as the Executive Director of her family synagogue, Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon. The Chief Operations Officer, YaTonya Abdullah, will assume the duties of the Executive Director on an interim basis until a permanent Executive Director is hired. 

Melissa has been with The Arc of Loudoun since 2014; previously serving as the Administrative Director of ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center. During her tenure at ALLY, she grew its advocacy and supported employment programs. She also created the Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement initiative. As Executive Director for the past year, Melissa helped establish two new programs on campus: Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. In 2018, Melissa received the Nonprofit Executive of the Year Award at the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Awards. Melissa says, “Over the last 4 years, it has been my honor to work at The Arc of Loudoun.  I have never seen a team as talented, hard-working, and dedicated as the team here. With the incredibly strong leadership in each of the organization’s 5 programs, I am confident that the programs will continue to grow and thrive.”  

The staff at The Arc of Loudoun wishes Melissa much success as she transitions into her next role as the Executive Director of the synagogue. Kendra McDonald, Clinical Director for The Aurora School and Aurora Behavior Clinic reflected, “Melissa has been such a strong supporter of all programming for individuals with disabilities at The Arc of Loudoun.  She always encouraged the staff to be creative and make things a reality. Personally, she has inspired me to go after things I want to grow on campus. Melissa will definitely be missed. We hope to continue her legacy!”

George Pellicano, President of the Board of Directors of The Arc of Loudoun says, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to take this opportunity to thank Melissa for her years of service to The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus and as Executive Director for the past year. Under Melissa’s exceptional leadership, The Arc has grown and our programs expanded to support even more individuals with disabilities. We appreciate Melissa and her dedication to ensuring all people in our community have an opportunity to lead ‘A Life Like Yours,’ and we wish her the best of luck in the future.”

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to children with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017. To get involved with The Arc of Loudoun you can attend our upcoming spring 2018 events: 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala on April 21st, Ability Fitness Golf Tournament on May 10th, and Music at the Manor Festival on May 19th.

For more information visit www.thearcofloudoun.org or contact Morgan Payne, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, at mpayne@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939 ext. 106.

Ability Fitness Center Grand Opening Celebration Press Release

Ability Fitness Center Grand Opening Celebration on April 10th, 2018 at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus

Leesburg, VA – Ability Fitness Center, a therapeutic fitness and wellness center for people with neurological and developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce the grand opening of its new location in the Williamson Cottage at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus in historic Leesburg. A grand opening celebration will take place on Tuesday, April 10th at 5:00pm. Mayor Burk will commemorate the celebration with a ribbon cutting, followed by an open house and light refreshments.

Ability Fitness Center opened in November 2017, and in January 2018, the center moved into the Williamson Cottage. Helen Parker, PT, DPT, NCS, Clinical Director of Ability Fitness Center and a neurological physical therapist explains, “Having a larger space allows us to have 6 more clients here at a time exercising and more room for specialized equipment. The new building is also beneficial since it offers an amazing atmosphere that is both welcoming and supportive of all our clients’ goals of becoming healthier and stronger!”

The dream of opening the Ability Fitness Center for people with neurological disabilities, particularly spinal cord injuries started five years ago, with the nonprofit Ability Fitness Center, Inc. (AFC). “When I had my accident 6.5 years ago, I was lucky enough to attend some of the better rehab centers,” says Freddie Hetzel, a founding board member of AFC. He continues, “I learned very quickly that for me to receive any exercise, I would either need to hire a physical therapist to work in my home or travel over an hour each way to a rehab center. As wealthy as our area is, there are no options for this population to exercise, depriving us of the mental and physical benefits from working out with others.  I am eternally grateful to our friends and family for the support they have provided to enable us to solve this problem as we begin our journey of creating a community of hope, healing and health at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus.”

“We, The Arc of Loudoun, are thrilled to partner with AFC, to fill a need in the community with fitness and wellness to a new population that The Arc has not worked with in the past,” says Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director of The Arc of Loudoun. She continues, “We are also excited that the students with autism and other developmental disabilities from The Aurora School are receiving daily fitness sessions in the new Center.”

Ability Fitness Center is The Arc of Loudoun’s newest program focusing on activity-based interventions that increase functional ability for individuals with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, balance disorders, developmental disabilities, and other neurological conditions. Clients of Ability Fitness Center pay a monthly membership fee and receive access to the Center’s specialized equipment, as well as one-on-one sessions with the Center’s neuro physical therapist. Need-based scholarships are available.

“When someone has a spinal cord injury, stroke, or other neurological diagnosis, they make much slower progress than your typical physical therapy patient. As a result, insurance coverage at most healthcare facilities rarely last long enough for people to reach their true functional potential. After discharge from outpatient therapy, people both want and need to work towards maximizing their function, in order to prevent complications from inactivity. Yet this is often difficult to do on their own, and many cannot exercise in a standard gym. At Ability Fitness Center, we have specialized equipment, expert therapists, knowledge of their diagnoses, and most importantly we are able to offer support both physically and emotionally. We are creating a space where clients can work out together and support each other through their journeys of accomplishments and challenges,” says Parker.

Currently Ability Fitness Center has 22 clients from the community and is serving 19 children from The Aurora School on campus. “The goal is to continue to grow to reach more people in our community that can benefit from our center.  We also want to grow by adding support groups and group classes along with the individual exercise times,” says Parker. 

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for, and provides direct service to, children with disabilities, as well as their families and caretakers, through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center, ALLY Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun is celebrating 50 years serving people with disabilities in Loudoun since 1967. To get involved with The Arc of Loudoun you can attend our upcoming spring 2018 events: 50th Anniversary Celebration Gala on April 21st, Ability Fitness Golf Tournament on May 10th,and Music at the Manor Festival on May 19th.

For more information on Ability Fitness Center visit www.paxtoncampus.org/ability-fitness-center or contact Morgan Payne, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, at mpayne@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939 ext. 106.

The Arc of Loudoun announces 4th annual Music at the Manor Festival

The Arc of Loudoun announces 4th annual Music at the Manor Festival

Leesburg, Virginia, May 10, 2018 –The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus will once again host its free music festival called “MUSIC AT THE MANOR”, a day-long celebration of family, friends, food and of course, live music—from blues to contemporary to rock. The event will take place rain or shine on Saturday, May 19 from 11am-8pm on the beautiful, 17-acre Paxton Campus. All proceeds benefit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, as we together empower, embrace, and engage children with special needs and their families.

This family-friendly event is free, open to the public, and people of ALL abilities are welcome to attend. VIP tickets are $20, which include two drink tickets and access to VIP Hospitality Suite. Tickets and registration are available at paxtoncampus.org/music. The music lineup features local performers—of multiple genres—throughout the entire day: 11:00-12:00: Rikki J and the Blue Rhythm, 12:30-1:30: Willie White, 2:00-3:00: Never Born To Follow, 3:00-3:30 Jack Squared, 3:30-4:30:  Stone Cold, 5:00-6:00: Juliana MacDowell, 6:30-7:45: The Voodoo Blues.

To enhance the festival experience, wine, beer, and food from local businesses will be sold. Patrons over 21 can drink Tarara Winery wines and beers from Old Ox Brewery and Loudoun Brewing Company. Fleetwood Farm Winery will also be providing wine tastings to attendees over 21. In addition, concert goers can enjoy excellent food from Jambalaya Bros.’ Cajun cooking and Paisano’s Pizza.

The event will feature a variety of fantastic raffle prizes—some of the raffle prize donors include: Be Beauty, Burger Fi, Paisano’s Pizza, Copperwood Tavern, and 5 Tara. The event will also feature kid’s activities, All Star Comic Con superheroes from the DC and Marvel Universe, and vendors selling hand-crafted items, baked goods, and more!

Thank you to our event sponsors: Thos D. Walsh Realtors, Ariad Partners, Living Reality Procentrix, and DataSlash. To support Music at the Manor, individual donations can be made online at paxtoncampus.org/donate.   

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus is a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct service to children with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017.

For more information visit www.thearcofloudoun.org or contact Morgan Payne, Marketing and Communications Coordinator for The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, at mpayne@paxtoncampus.org or by phone at 703.777.1939 ext. 106.

Lisa Kimball Leads The Arc of Loudoun as New Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Kimball Leads The Arc of Loudoun as New Chief Executive Officer

Leesburg, Virginia, August 1, 2018 – Today, The Arc of Loudoun is pleased to announce Lisa Kimball as its new Chief Executive Officer. Lisa previously served as the Vice President for Telos Corporation. In her new position, Lisa will determine the vision of the The Arc of Loudoun and is responsible for developing infrastructure, policy, and systems to ensure long-term sustainability and implementation.

Lisa comes with a wealth of knowledge and extensive background working in the nonprofit industry, including serving as the Chairperson for the Commonwealth of Virginia Identity Management Standards Advisory Council (IMSAC), Chair of the Loudoun Volunteer Caregivers (LVC) Board of Directors, and First Vice-Chairman for the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. Lisa is also an Advisory Board Member of the Loudoun County Medical Reserve Corps and formerly served as a Board Member and Business Advisory Council Member for ECHO.

“I feel like I’m returning to my roots,” shared Lisa. “I grew up in New Jersey and from
the time I was a child, I volunteered for The Arc in my hometown. Being in Loudoun County and familiar with non-profits, The Arc of Loudoun has a reputation of being well managed and has always stood out to me. The organization has grown into an amazing resource for people with special needs and their families, and the staff at The Arc of Loudoun is talented, compassionate, and passionate about what they do to serve the community. I like to surround myself with the best and brightest, people I trust to know what they are supposed to do, and I am honored to serve on behalf of the incredible staff at The Arc of Loudoun.”

Through both her for-profit and non-profit experience Lisa has extensive knowledge in
strategic planning, directing non-profit Boards, writing grant proposals, and designing and achieving organizational development programs. The Arc of Loudoun Board President, George Pellicano commented, “We’re honored to have Lisa join The Arc of Loudoun family. She is a seasoned leader with wide-ranging experience in philanthropic leadership and volunteer work. We’re confident she will grow and expand the organization as we continue to ensure children and adults with disabilities and their families have an opportunity to lead ‘A Life Like Yours.’”

The Arc of Loudoun is a non-profit organization that advocates for and provides direct
service to children with disabilities, as well as their families, caretakers, and the professionals who work with them through its many programs: The Aurora School, Open Door Learning Center Preschool, ALLY “A Life Like Yours” Advocacy Center, Aurora Behavior Clinic and Ability Fitness Center. The Arc of Loudoun celebrated 50 years of serving people with disabilities in 2017 and is also the charity behind the fan favorite Shocktober, opening October 5 for the 2018 season.

If you have a child with special needs, want to volunteer, attend our events, or support The Arc of Loudoun, visit www.thearcofloudoun.org

FBA and BIP Training

FBA and BIP Parent Workshop Training

The Virginia Department of Education announces

the following PARENT WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITY

Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) and

Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP)

The FBA/BIP training is designed specifically for parents who have

students who exhibit difficulties in managing their behavior at school.

Section 504

The Section 504 training is designed to provide parents of

children who have disabilities but are ineligible under IDEA 2004 criteria.

 

The workshop will repeat at four locations across the

Commonwealth. See below for specific dates and locations:

Tidewater Area – August 13, 2018, 10am-2pm

Location: Holiday Inn and Suites North Beach

3900 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451

Richmond Area – August 16, 2018, 10am-2pm

Location: Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Airport

441 International Center Drive, Sandston, Virginia 23150.

Roanoke Area – September 5, 2018, 10am-2pm

Location: Holiday Inn Tanglewood

4468 Starkey Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24018.

Charlottesville Area – September 6, 2018, 10am-2pm

Double Tree by Hilton

9900 Hilton Heights Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901

Cost FREE:

Registration deadline is one week before the selected training date. 

Register here

 

Roommate i-Match Workshop

Roommate i-Match Expo | September 20, 2018 | 9:30am – 3:30pm

Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Developmental Services (MHSADS) 906 Trailview Boulevard SE, Leesburg, VA 20175 in the Aspen Room

 
The Northern Virginia Housing & Supportive Services Team invites individuals in the Settlement Agreement population and others with a disability who are looking for a roommate or who have a room to rent, their families, support coordinators and/or service providers to the Expo.
 
The Expo will be split into AM and PM sessions with a lunch of pizza and drinks provided by Loudoun County MHSADS.  Participants can attend one or both sessions.
 
Roommate iMatch survey here. 
RSVP here. 
 

FBA & BIP Workshop April 10, 5:30-6:30 pm

Join us at our Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) & Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Workshop 

Does your child tantrum? Do they scream, cry, or drop to the floor? At this workshop you will learn how to interpret Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. 

A Functional Behavior Assessment is a tool used to determine why a child is engaging  in challenging behavior. A Behavior Intervention Plan is used to help a child’s team learn how to manage challenging behavior needs. 

Our workshop is on Tuesday evening, April 10 at ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625) in Nora’s Room at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, from 5:30-6:30 pm.

$15 for the General Public. 

Register online HERE.

FBA and BIP workshop parents functional behavior assessment behavior intervention plan

 

Ability Fitness Center Golf Tournament – May 2nd

The 6th Annual Ability Fitness Center Golf Tournament is on Thursday, May 2nd!

Your participation in the golf tournament will help each AFC client have an improved quality of life and optimal physical and emotional health; have maximum functional independence; improve flexibility, muscle strength, balance, posture, and bone density; decrease muscle spasms & all over better quality of life!

When: Thursday, May 2nd | 12:00 PM –  8:00 PM

Where: Loudoun Golf & Country Club, Purcellville, VA 

Online Registration and sponsorship information here. 

Paper registration form here. 

 

 

Amazon Smile

Shop with AmazonSmile

Amazon donates .05% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (The Arc of Loudoun!) 

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Follow the steps in the Infographic below to learn how to shop with Amazon AND give back to The Arc of Loudoun. 

 

Social Skills How-To for Parents and Caregivers: May 22

Social Skills How-To for Parents and Caregivers 

At this workshop you will learn how to incorporate social skills for children of ALL levels.  Using the prompting methods and activities developed for the Cannon’s Connections Social Skills Curriculum, you will learn how to begin teaching social skills for your child—from tolerating peer proximity, to initiating and sustaining peer interaction. 

The concepts in this training is adaptable for children with a wide range of social needs.

This workshop will be on on Tuesday, May 22 from 5:30pm – 6:30pm at ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625) at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus.

$15 Register here!

Questions? Please contact Tammy Goddard at 703.777.1939 ext 207 or at tgoddard@paxtoncampus.org

“This Business of Autism” Film Premiere – July 28

“This Business of Autism” Northern Virginia Film Premiere – July 28 

You’re invited to the Northern Virginia Film Premiere of “This Business of Autism.”

Saturday, July 28 | 2:00pm – 4:30pm | Regal Cinemas Fox 16 and IMAX, Brambleton, VA 

Buy tickets here!

Join the producers, members of the cast, local practitioners and local dignitaries to watch this timely and topical feature-length documentary on employment opportunities for adults with autism, produced by Loudoun’s own Mesh Omnimedia!

Immediately following the film, there will be a 30-minute Q&A session with the director, members of the cast and local practitioners–including The Arc of Loudoun’s own Director of Clinical Services, Kendra McDonald!

Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to see what people with disabilities CAN do in the workforce! 

Buy tickets here!

Watch “This Business of Autism” trailer below: 

Opportunities Open Golf Tournament – October 1

Opportunity Open Golf Tournament

October 1, 2018 | 7:30am – 2:00pm | River Creek Country Club

100% of the profits from the 22nd Annual Opportunities Open help support Dulles International Airport Rotary charities, including ECHO, ServiceSource, the ARC of Northern Virginia, the Arch of Loudoun, FOP Cops and Kids and local student scholarships. 

More information here. 

ABA Therapy Training – For Parents and Caregivers – October 2 and October 4

Join us in this 2 part class on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)! 

Is your child engaging in challenging behavior? Applied Behavior Analysis can help you address challenging behavior.  At this workshop you will: learn the basics of ABA,  determine why behavior is occurring, and learn how to positively reinforce the behavior you want from your child. 

Part 2 includes: examples, demonstrations, and a question and answer session.  Attendance to both workshops is highly encouraged!

These classes will be on two evenings, October 2 (Part 1) at The Arc of Loudoun in ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625 in Nora’s Room) and October 4 (Part 2) at the Aurora Behavior Clinic from 5:30-6:30 pm.

$30 for 2 classes OR $15 for Part 1 on October 2 and $15 for Part 2 on October 4

Register online HERE.

 

Shocktober 2018 October 5-November 4

Shocktober Haunted House

Every fall, Paxton Manor in Leesburg, VA transforms into a 4-story, terrifying, award-winning haunted house, giving thousands of patrons the scare of a lifetime. Built in the late 1800s, Paxton Manor has become the topic of many urban legends and a must-see attraction for thrillseekers across the country. The real reason for Shocktober? It’s the largest fundraising event for The Arc of Loudoun, a local nonprofit creating a lifetime of opportunities for children with special needs and their families.

Shocktober 2018 is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from October 5- November 4. Doors are open from 7pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday and 7pm-9pm on Sundays. 

 

 

 

 

 

Tickets are on sale now! Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click one of the buttons below: 

We Scare Because We Care Mini-Grant Application – Due November 6

WE SCARE BECAUSE WE CARE MINI-GRANT PROGRAM, coming October 2019

We Scare Because We Care is a mini-grant program created from the proceeds of Shocktober, The Arc of Loudoun’s biggest fundraiser. For the second year in a row, this program will be providing five $1,000 mini-grants to human service nonprofits in Loudoun County. The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Grant Amount

We will be giving out 5 grants equaling $1,000 each.

Eligibility

Nonprofit organizations with dedicated programs in Loudoun County are eligible to apply. Funds from this mini-grant need to be used for programs helping children and adults with disabilities as well as their families.  Priority will be given to programs with an inclusive project, incorporating people with disabilities.

Application

Applications must be electronically received on or before November 6, 2018 to be considered. Download the application here

Submission Instructions

Applications must be electronically received on or before November 6, 2018 to be considered.

  • Email Subject Line: Shocktober’ s We Scare Because We Care Grants Program
  • Submit electronically to: Eileen Shaffer at eshaffer@thearcofloudoun.org

 Awards

Grants will be announced and awarded on November 16, 2018.

Presentation and Reporting

Please note that The Arc of Loudoun will invite each grantee to our Annual Meeting in late February 2019 for the grantees to present their projects.

Each grantee will need to submit a final report on or by July 1, 2019, including:

  • A one-page summary of the project,
  • How the money was spent
  • Any photos of the project

Please direct any questions to:

Eileen Shaffer, Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center

The Arc of Loudoun

Email: eshaffer@thearcofloudoun.org

Tel: 703.777.1939 x 208

 

LightUp Fest at One Loudoun – November 8-January 2

LightUp Fest at One Loudoun

Date: November 8, 2018 to January 2, 2019
Time: 5:30pm to 10:30pm daily 

The LightUP Fest is an eight-week exhibition that combines the latest lighting technology and artisan crafted lanterns to showcase the rich heritage, tradition and culture of the world. 

With 77 stunning displays presented in different themes, the LightUP Fest promises to be an eventful night for everyone!

There are 4 major themes in the exhibit – Tour of Fantasy; Freedom America; Mysterious East and Magical World. One of the featured highlights unique to this exhibit is the display of the Capitol Hill Building. There are also many interactive segments well suited for Instagram worthy moments.

In addition to the incredible light displays, there are daily acrobatic performances, unique arts & craft showcase, and a wide variety of unique cuisine including street food from China available for the enjoyment of the festival goers.

This is truly a must-see extravaganza and a wonderful experience for the entire family!

Use code ILoveLoudounARC2018 and recieve a 10% discount off to LightUp Fest. If you use this code, a portion of the proceeds will also be donated to The Arc of Loudoun!  

Buy your tickets here.

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening – November 14th 5-7pm

Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening 

In gratitude of your support, we invite you to our
Aurora Behavior Clinic Grand Opening Celebration
on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 5-7 pm.

Join us for the ribbon cutting, open house, and light refreshment as
we celebrate our new home in the Stone Barns located
at The Arc of Loudoun 

RSVP here. 

My Bloody Valentine – February 15 and February 16

Shocktober presents: My Bloody Valentine

Every FEARbruary, near Valentine’s Day, Paxton Manor opens is doors for an annual anti-Valentine event.  Our haunted house My Bloody Valentine event is a self-guided tour through love-wrecked horrors inside the terrifying Paxton Manor. 

Whether you want to hold your loved one closer while going through 32-rooms of terror or whether you are single and want to go out with a bunch of friends because love… stinks, our event is open to you!  

The real reason for Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine? The funds from the event support The Arc of Loudoun, a local nonprofit creating a lifetime of opportunities for adults and children with special needs and their families.

My Bloody Valentine 2019 is open Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16. Doors are open from 7pm-10pm.

Ticket prices:

My Bloody Valentine (ONLINE): $35.00(Plus Service Fee), (At the door): $40.00

Couples Pass (ONLINE ONLY): $60.00 (Plus Service Fee) for 2!

Group Rate (ONLINE ONLY): for groups of 10 or more: My Bloody Valentine at Paxton Manor $28.00(Plus Service Fee)/per person

Tickets are on sale now! All tickets are non-refundable.

Ability Fitness Center Open House – February 28

Ability Fitness Center Open House

Ability Fitness Center, a therapeutic fitness and wellness center for people
with spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease,
multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Can you or somebody you know use our services? Join us at our Open House, February 28 where you can tour the facility, meet the staff, and learn about the equipment. 

When:  Reschedule to Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 9am-4pm 

Where: Ability Fitness Center, 585 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176

RSVP here. 

The Arc of Loudoun Celebration Gala – March 23

The Arc of Loudoun Celebration Gala

Join us for this inspiring celebration as we rally together to embrace, educate, engage and empower people with disabilities and their families.

What: A family* fundraising celebration for all ages to support The Arc of Loudoun’s mission. Evening includes a four-course dinner, Sherwood R. Simons Achievement Award and The Arc of Loudoun Courage Award presentation, live and silent auctions, raffle, music by Mangione & Benton Jazz Quartet, and dancing with the ‘80’s Band Sensation, The Reflex!

When: Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 6:00-11:00pm
Lansdowne Resort and Spa, 44050 Woodridge Parkway Leesburg, VA 20176

 Chair: Ara Bagdasarian, CEO and Co-Founder of Omnilert

Attire: Accessible Elegance- defined as what makes you shine – suit, tux, dress, khakis – whatever is lovely and reasonable for you

Price: 

General Admission: $85

Reserved Seats: $150 – One single reserved seat, two drink tickets for beer/wine

Cocktails available for purchase.

For sponsorship opportunities please contact Denise Daffron

at ddaffron@thearcofloudoun.org or 703.777.1939 ext 112

*A calming room will be available for those with sensory sensitivities.

 

Leon Harris from NBC News 4 at 4 to emcee Gala!

 

We’re excited to announce Mangione & Benton Jazz Quartet will be performing throughout the night! 

Tucker Benton – Saxophone
Chris Mangione – Guitar
Ryan Benton – Guitar and Keys
Chris Marsh – Bass

 

 

 

Thank you to our generous partners! 

Mission Sponsor: 

Beatriz McNelly

 

 

Champions of The Arc of Loudoun: 

 

Friends of The Arc of Loudoun: 

Ellie Addae

Kathy and Jeff Lubitz

 

Supporters of The Arc of Loudoun: 

Halstead & Halstead | Chris Arnold | Jenni Bickerstaff | Scott Billigmeier
Kelly Carberry | Clark Carr | Stacey Cleveland | Diane Culp |
Michael Goodman | Jordan Harris | Melissa Heifetz | Bonnie Hoffman
Bernadette & Brian Ishmael | George Pellicano | Mary Shurtz

 

 

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This Business of Autism Showing – April 6

The Arc of Loudoun in Partnership with Tuscarora High School’s Husky Buddies Program Presents: This Business of Autism 

When: Saturday, April 6 | 1pm

Where: Tuscarora High School, 801 N. King Street, Leesburg, VA 20176

REGISTER TO ATTEND THE SHOWING HERE. 

Join us to watch this timely and topical feature-length documentary on employment opportunities for adults with autism, at the crossroads of entrepreneurism, government programs, corporate responsibility, and family—produced by Loudoun’s own Stephen and Shannon Mackey!

Before the showing, there will be a panel discussion with the Director of the film, Stephen Mackey.

Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to see what people with disabilities CAN do in the workforce!

Learn more about the film, watch the trailers, and get your own copy on the film’s website at www.ThisBusinessOfAutism.com

 

REGISTER TO ATTEND THE SHOWING HERE. 

Cannon’s Club- Friday Night Social – April 26

Join us for fun, food, and friendship! Play games, create crafts, and make friends at our Friday night hangout. Cannon’s Club is open for both teens (13-19) with AND without disabilities. REGISTRATION REQUIRED, LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE.

When: Friday, April 26 | 7-9pm | $5/person
Where: Aurora Behavior Clinic, located in the stone barns at The Arc of Loudoun | 601 Catoctin Circle, NE Leesburg, VA 20176

REGISTER to Tammy Goddard at tgoddard@thearcofloudoun.org
REGISTRATION REQUIRED, LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE.

iCanBike Camp 2018- June 24th-28th

The Arc of Loudoun has partnered with Tuscarora’s Husky Buddies Program to present iCanBike Camp! This is a program offered to help children with disabilities learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently.

June 24-28, 2019| 8:30am-5:00pm | Tuscarora High School 

Cost: $200 

Bikers register online here.

Volunteers register online here.

In order to sign up, rider must meet ALL of below criteria: 

  • Ages 8-18
  • Have a disability
  • Able to walk without assistive device
  • Willing and able to wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Parents must remain at camp at all times 
  • Able to sidestep to both sides 
  • Able to attend all 5 days 
  • Maximum weight of 220 lbs 
  • Minimum inseams of 20″ (measure from floor while reader is wearing sneakers) 
  • Bring in own (approved) bike at at sessions 

For any questions please e-mail Eileen Shaffer at eshaffer@thearcofloudoun.org 

iCan Bike 2018

50 Faces of The Arc- Jude

Jude is a happy and social student at ODLC (Open Door Learning Center); an intentionally inclusive preschool at The Arc of Loudoun. Megan, the Program Director at ODLC says she “could cry” talking about Jude’s unbelievable progress since attending the school. Megan exclaims,

“It’s crazy to see how far she’s come! When she first started, she couldn’t say single words, and now she’s talking in full sentences. She’s also full of personality in conveying what she’s saying.”

Since attending ODLC for the past two years, Jude is now greeting her teachers and friends, telling stories about her family, and facilitating play between her peers.

Through the 1:1 ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy that ODLC provides, Jude was given the opportunity to expand her communication skills. Megan says,

“Since receiving ABA therapy her language has really blossomed. She’s able to express herself so well, and can communicate her preferences and make choices. She’s become so independent.”

Megan believes the extra coaching and teaching is what kickstarted Jude to start learning in the classroom on her own. Now, Jude prompts her peers to socially interact with each other and initiates her group of classmates to take turns,

“We’ve gone from working with her and teaching her– and now she’s the one who’s teaching her friends” states Megan.

Megan knows it’ll be hard to see Jude move on after she leaves preschool, but she’s fortunate to work at a place like The Arc where she can see the progress amongst all the students exclaiming, 

“Everybody here is so dedicated to unlocking the potential of every student who walks through these doors!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Jocelyn

Jocelyn is an upbeat and enthusiastic STEP Up employee at The Arc of Loudoun. She’s been a member of  STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment), a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities, for the past year. She works as the receptionist at the ALLY Advocacy Center twice a week. Her duties include greeting ALLY visitors, stocking the mobile snack cart, and completing any office work.

Although she loves working, Jocelyn enjoys the afternoon enrichment activities that the STEP Up program facilitates in the afternoon.

“I liked going on the field trip to the Air & Space Museum,” she said. “We [STEP Up] also volunteer and make sandwiches for people at the homeless shelter which is so fun!”

When Jocelyn isn’t working, she attends many of the events The Arc of Loudoun hosts for its members and the community. She’s watched the sensory sensitive movies at Cobb Theater, attended the annual Spring Festival, and volunteered at the Last Ride attraction for Paxton’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober. But Jocelyn’s absolute favorite event to attend are the dances exclaiming,

“I love going to the dances. I always have a good time there!” When asked why she likes The Arc, Jocelyn says, “I like working here because it keeps me busy and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve made so many friends here!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Megan

Megan is the Program Director at ODLC (Open Door Learning Center), an intentionally inclusive preschool on Paxton Campus. She previously worked at The Aurora School as a Team Lead before transferring to the preschool. Megan was immediately attracted to working at The Arc of Loudoun because of how much of a resource they are to the disability community. She says,

“There’s really nothing like The Arc. It’s such an honor to work alongside people who uphold the mission of helping children and families affected by disabilities.”

Megan enjoys working with the ODLC students in particular because of her background in early intervention. She exclaims,

“It’s amazing to see how ABA intervention is making a world of a difference in their lives at such a young age.”

Megan believes ABA therapy plays a huge part in the success of the children, and since students at ODLC are able to participate in ABA therapy as part of their curriculum, Megan has observed countless numbers of students grow in both their behavior and communication skills.

“Some children have difficulty with aggression or they  do not have functional forms of communication,” she explains. “But with ABA therapy we’re able to teach them replacement behaviors that are appropriate, like asking instead of yelling for what they want.”

Megan says she loves the ODLC program because she sees enormous improvement in students in a short amount of time. Megan’s observed students who were previously not  able to say words  now reciting the whole alphabet. She’s also seen progress with children who had difficulty being social, stating,

“Now those same students who would always play alone are engaging with their peers.”

Megan believes The Arc of Loudoun is a great resource for the community exclaiming,

“I feel like the whole campus is an ‘Open Door!’ We are so welcoming through our events, and we are a resource  for so many families through our different classes and workshops.”

In the next fifty years Megan hopes The Arc will continue to thrive, grow, and be a light for the community.

50 Faces of The Arc- Jen

Jen is the first smiling face you see when you visit The Arc of Loudoun’s administrative office. Jen came to The Arc after hearing about it from an encounter with a former Arc employee while at her last job. She has been the receptionist for The Arc since 2013. Jen says,

“It really sounded like my place of calling and was something I was immediately interested in. And I soon realized it was where I belonged!”

Since being a part of The Arc team, Jen’s eyes were opened to the large amount of people who needed assistance with daily living tasks– but still weren’t getting the support they needed. As a result, she became a self-advocate for those same people with disabilities, saying,

“I began as a public speaker at age 21 when I joined The Brad Kaminsky Foundation for brain cancer research, but began public speaking on behalf of all programs at The Arc after working here.”

Jen, who grew up with complications from a brain trauma at a young age, was misunderstood and isolated growing up. She says,

“Special Education was new in public schools and I had to continually be persistent to receive help. People with disabilities were put out of sight, out of mind.” Jen goes on to explain why advocating now is so important to her, “I can help change people’s understanding of what a disability is, and educate others about how people with disabilities want to be a part of the community too.”

Jen’s passion for The Arc stems from the fact that the campus is so welcoming. She exclaims,

“What is so unique is that The Arc is an environment of acceptance. That is something I have seldom felt in my life, but it is so alive here among the staff, the students, and the families who are a part of this [The Arc’s] community.”

Jen loves working for The Arc so much she comes to campus even after her work shift is over stating,

“Ever since I came to Paxton I’ve become very active in every social activity. I was someone who needed The Arc, who needed a Paxton Campus growing up, and it’s just so fulfilling for me to now, to go to the Next Chapter Book Club, the Speak Up group, or attend the adult dances.”

She also selflessly volunteers her time at most of the on-Campus fundraisers and events, such as Shocktober and Music at the Manor.

In the future, Jen is extremely excited about the Barns of Paxton that will soon house the Advantage Behavior Clinic and the Ability Fitness Center — all for people with disabilities. She exclaims,

“It [The Barns] will be a shuttle rocket to new orbits for Paxton’s students, families and the community affected by disability. People of all abilities will flourish!”

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Immanuel & Elliot

Immanuel and Elliot are adorable, loving brothers who attend Open Door Learning Center, an intentionally-inclusive preschool at The Arc of Loudoun. Since attending ODLC for the past year and a half, parents Debbie and David have seen a tremendous difference in both of their sons.

“When Immanuel first started at ODLC, he had trouble sitting at circle time, needed extensive help with transitions, and also had trouble playing with other children,” said Debbie. “Now he’s expanded his socialization and kindergarten readiness skills.”

Since being enrolled at ODLC, Elliot has also made progress in learning the basics of school schedules, behavior expectations, and was potty trained by the staff.

Furthermore, Debbie and David have also seen development in both of their children’s communication skills. Immanuel improved on expressing his feelings and desires. Before attending ODLC, the parents were also concerned about Elliot’s verbal development, he was only saying two to three word phrases. Since then they say,

“His vocabulary and enunciation have improved dramatically. Now he prattles on in full sentences.”

Both boys enjoy going to school every day because of the awesome staff. However, Elliot in particular absolutely adores the teachers and must hug each of them every day! Debbie and David love the staff too, exclaiming,

“They are all dedicated to our children’s optimal development. Each of them are incredibly supportive, caring, and are continually thinking of ways to make the program more effective for each child.”

Without ODLC, Debbie and David believe Immanuel would not be in nearly as healthy a place as he is now in terms of socialization and being comfortable and confident in a school setting. They say,

“ODLC creates a safe and supportive space for our children to grow and learn with their unique styles. The staff know how to work with our children’s specific needs, strengths, and challenges.”

They only wish more preschools would take advantage of ODLC’s expertise in non-typical issues such as behavior management, social challenges, and communication stating,

“These early and effective interventions are reducing and even eliminating the need for more serious interventions later on. The curriculum really works, and I could not be more appreciative of ODLC.” 

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Patrick

Patrick attended The Aurora School (a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities) for the past eight years and graduated this June. His program director, Maureen, describes Patrick as a genuinely happy student who is extremely hard working. Maureen says,

“He loves being productive, and isn’t happy if if he’s not getting something done.”

While at Aurora, Patrick’s favorite activity is sorting beads and markers by colors– which he can do all day. Maureen notes,

“Patrick is also an excellent speller, and he likes playing different crossword and wordsearch apps on his iPad.”

Patrick is so good at spelling he’s even learned how to communicate with others through writing out a word or spelling out each letter if they can’t understand him, something he learned how to do all on his own.

Throughout the years of attending Aurora, Patrick’s learned to become more flexible with abrupt changes in his schedule. He’s also learned how to take turns, like when playing board games, and has become more social with his peers. Some of Patrick’s current goals include: learning to identify whether a clothing item is acceptable to wear (if it’s clean or dirty), taking inventory of the cleaning supplies he uses, and staying on track for all his tasks (with minimal guidance from his instructors). Five times a week Patrick goes on CBI (Community Based Instruction) trips which allows him to take the skills he learns in the classroom out into the community. Patrick either goes to the yoga studio where he cleans and takes inventory, the Giant grocery store where he picks out different items from a list, or various restaurants where he is able to practice ordering food from his iPad. Maureen says,

“The support we [The Arc of Loudoun] provide through these activities significantly increases success of students like Patrick.”

Furthermore, Maureen believes The Arc is so important to the community because the staff are able to teach important life skills to students who are in an impressionable part of their lives. Maureen states,

“This campus is so unique, and we’ve become the model for what other people want to emulate.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Kyle

For the past year, Kyle has been a member of the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program at The Arc of Loudoun; a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. However, he’s been a part of The Arc of Loudoun community since 2010, when his mom, Christine, started working at the Open Door Learning Center preschool on campus. Since then, Kyle, now 21, has volunteered as an assistant teacher at ODLC and has had other miscellaneous tasks, such as data entry, for the various programs at The Arc of Loudoun.

Volunteering and working at The Arc of Loudoun has allowed Kyle to learn many different skills. “It’s [The Arc] helped me learn how to be responsible and I’ve gained more experience with social interaction,” he said.  By gaining these skills, Kyle was able to secure a job at Noodles & Company in Leesburg, where he takes orders as a cashier, prepares the meals, and helps the customers. One of Kyle’s passions is cooking, and he teaches his fellow STEP Up colleagues how to cook different meals three times a month. Once a month Kyle also prepares for all his meals– where makes a list of all the ingredients and materials for his dish. Kyle makes a variety of dishes, but he loves cooking Italian food which is why he’s grateful that The Arc provided him the opportunity to gain work experience in order to become an employee at Noodles & Company.

Kyle aspires to become a professional chef, and he is now able to add both his experience from conducting cooking classes through STEP UP and his job at Noodles & Company to his resume when he applies to culinary school. Kyle believes he wouldn’t be where he is now without The Arc of Loudoun stating,

“This place is really special to me. It’s helped me grow, develop, and unlock my hidden potential. No one would have an excuse to feel angry here at a place like this.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Bryce

One of the next #50FacesofTheArc is Bryce!
 
Bryce has been attending The Aurora School for four years. His ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructor, Tyrelle, has described Bryce as a gentle giant, “He’s quiet, but also very smart.” Throughout Bryce’s time at Aurora, he has improved his communication skills immensely, especially with his articulation. Tyrelle says Bryce is currently working on his personal hygiene goals and vocational skills like table setting and dish washing. “All of these skills he’s learning allows him to live a more independent life,” states Tyrelle.
 
While at Aurora, Bryce loves visiting the school store, playing on the swings, watching YouTube videos, and sorting through the school’s collection of DVDs. Tyrelle explains, “He [Bryce] can spend all day just looking at the covers of the DVDs and inspecting every inch of it! He’s very fascinated by them.” One of Tyrelle’s favorite things about Bryce is watching all of his progress, saying, “Bryce retains so much information. It’s amazing to see how impressionable he is, and how much he learns everyday.” Because of The Arc of Loudoun, Tyrelle believes students, like Bryce, have the chance to learn at their own pace. “I think we [staff at The Arc] do a great job of adapting to all of the different personalities of the students. We’re able to give each student exactly what they need.”
 
 
 
 

50 Faces of The Arc- Dawn

Dawn has been working at The Aurora School for more than ten years, and as a veteran staff she is the most cherished. Before becoming the receptionist at Aurora, she was an instructor at the school for seven years, where she helped students with their daily goals. Kendra, the Interim Director of  Aurora says,

“Dawn is the first smiling face you see when you come here [Aurora]! We depend on her for so many things to make our day go more smoothly. The kids love her, and we love her too!”

 

Dawn explains why Aurora is so important to her saying,

“It’s given me the opportunity to learn how to interact with both typical and non-typical children. Plus, before coming to Aurora I had no idea what Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy was. Everything I learned about ABA, I learned at Aurora. And now, ABA helps me with my eight-year-old niece. I now know what to say, what not to say, and how to say it.”

 

Working with all the students is one of Dawn’s favorite things about Aurora.

“The best thing about working here is seeing the results of children’s progress,” she says. “Some students have graduated, some have gone back to mainstream public school, or joined STEP Up.”

She has no plans to leave Aurora anytime soon exclaiming,

“I like what we do and what we stand for, and I also love the students and my co-workers! The support here is amazing, too. If somebody goes into crisis, everybody comes running, no hesitation whatsoever.”

 

In the next 50 years, Dawn hopes more people will know about The Arc of Loudoun stating,

“The outreach and support at The Arc is great. I just wish more people knew what a wonderful place we are and how much we help people and the community. I don’t know of any other places like us and I feel like families would probably be struggling a lot if we weren’t here. It’s really amazing to have all the various programs here on one campus, united under The Arc.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Tiara

Tiara’s radiant personality will make anybody who sees her on Paxton Campus smile. She works as the receptionist for the ALLY Advocacy Center three times a week through STEP Up  (Supported Training & Employment Program); a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Some of Tiara’s tasks include: delivering mail on campus, greeting the guests at ALLY, making copies, and shredding papers.

Since being in STEP Up, Tiara has grown to be more independent. In fact, one of her main jobs on campus is to sell items from a mobile snack cart to the employees and bus drivers at The Arc– which she does completely alone. She restocks and organizes the snacks and drinks on the cart, which has several names including “Snax on Pax” and “Bart the Cart”, and she manages the money from the sales. Sometimes Tiara works with another member of Step Up in order to serve more customers. Tammy Goddard, ALLY program director, says

“Tiara is a great sales person – she loves to bring around the snack cart and if she knows you like a certain drink or snack, she puts it aside for you.”

Once Tiara has completed her work shift in the morning, she enjoys being social with everybody on campus. People know when Tiara is on campus because they’ll hear her greeting anybody she sees! She loves to ask people about their pets and asks how their pets are doing, because she loves animals as much as people. She usually ends the conversation by telling them to make sure that they give their pets a hug and a kiss from her.

Tiara is also very adept at making handmade cards for everybody at The Arc of Loudoun.

“She is a like a one-woman Hallmark store – she’s always making sure she is on top of making every single person on campus a birthday card, a get well card, or a going away card if they are leaving,” says Tammy. “She also makes a point to ask everyone who stops in ALLY what their two favorite colors are, and she draws pictures and cards for all of the new clients when they come in.”

Besides creating cards, Tiara enjoys just being able to work at The Arc of Loudoun, saying,

“I can’t imagine working anywhere else, being here makes me so happy!”   

50 Faces of The Arc- Tammy

Tammy first heard about The Arc of Loudoun in the Spring of 2011, after her son was diagnosed with a motor skills disability. She was advised to get an advocate, in which she researched online and found The Arc. After meeting with ALLY (A Life Like Yours) Advocacy’s past directors to discuss plans regarding her legal rights as a parent of a child with disabilities, she knew she needed to be a part of The Arc,

“It was infectious–how passionate they [the ALLY directors] were and it caught on to me! I decided then and there that I wanted to work there and be contributing to helping other families.”

Tammy initially worked at the front desk of The Aurora School, a school for students with disabilities located on Paxton Campus. She would later become ALLY’s Program Director. Tammy explains,

“The Arc became important to me because of my son, it stayed important to me because my son is just one out of the thousand people we help every year. My son did the social skills group, he goes to all the sensory sensitive movies, and the Spring Festival. My daughter volunteers with Shocktober and did siblings shops (workshop for siblings of people with disabilities). I’ve gotten IEP (Individualized Education Plan) help and gone to parent support groups here. The whole family has been helped.”

Throughout her time working for The Arc, Tammy has given back to the community through all the programs ALLY hosts.

“We help people with disabilities, but also help people in need. My favorite program is the Holiday Giving Program. Last year we helped give presents to 191 families, who would otherwise not have any gifts. It’s very rewarding!”

In the fall of 2011, Tammy created Maggie’s Closet, which provides free clothing to families in need. Maggie’s first started in a small office in one of the buildings on Paxton Campus, but expanded after just one week. Tammy exclaims,

“What I loved about it is that people just want to give! They want a reason to be excited, want a reason to help. There’s so much generosity in the community–which I hoped for, but didn’t realize until I started working here.”

Whether it’s gifting presents to those in need or creating Maggie’s Closet, Tammy is constantly looking for new and creative ways to help others through The Arc, saying

“There’s just so many different ways that people can help and be helped here. It’s the best thing about working here.” 

Her newest goal is to revamp the volunteer program for ALLY. She plans to start a mentoring program, where volunteers have an opportunity to know more of the members of The Arc and teach them new skills.

Tammy believes there’s no other organization like The Arc, stating

“Where else can you go to get help with your IEP,  watch a sensory sensitive movie, get a backpack for school supplies, and get a prom dress for your daughter? We serve so many different facets of life for people with disabilities.”

Because of this, she hopes in the next 50 years The Arc will be an example for other agencies and nonprofit to model themselves after saying,

“It’s the stuff we do, plus the amazing people we serve, plus the people that work here. It’s such a good combination.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Saul & Abe

Saul and Abe are twin brothers who’ve been attending The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for the past three years. Although they look exactly alike, their personalities greatly differ. Saul is independent, and he enjoys completing tasks without any help. His Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Instructor, John, says he’s very determined,

“Once he [Saul] starts something, he needs to finish it. He likes to get everything just right.”

 

Abe, on the other hand, is not as much of a perfectionist as Saul. Abe’s ABA instructor, Kay, describes him as creative,

“He [Abe] likes Pinterest, colors, and playing the piano– especially the “Rugrats” theme song,” she says.

 

Although their personalities are different, the staff and learning style at Aurora has been able to accommodate both of the boys’ needs. Through ABA therapy, Saul and Abe are improving their communication skills. John and Kay state,

“The teaching style here [Aurora] really helps them. They now know how to talk about how they are feeling, and explain why they’re feeling a certain way.”

While at Aurora, the boys are learning vocational skills, such as washing their hands, adaptive behavior management, and identifying safety signs in the community.

John says, “Saul also loves to cook and that’s a skill he’s learning at Aurora. His favorite foods to make are french toast and pancakes!”

John and Kay explain that they enjoy working with Saul and Abe because of their goofy and lovable personalities, exclaiming,

“They love dancing and can do the ‘cha-cha slide.’ They’re both so silly and unique in their own way, which makes them so fun to be around!”

Because of schools like Aurora and the services provided by The Arc of Loudoun, kids are given the opportunity to succeed. Kay says,

“The staff know how to handle all types of behaviors here, which allows all of the students to be themselves.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Rena

Rena has been working for the Arc of Loudoun since 2007. She began as an instructor at The Aurora School, a school for children with developmental disabilities; primarily autism. Since 2011, she’s worked at the Open Door Learning Center, an intentionally inclusive preschool for children with and without disabilities, located on the Paxton Campus. When speaking about her career at The Arc, Rena becomes emotional.

“I love doing this because I know I’m helping somebody and making their life better,” she says. “I can really see the growth in children, and I see them open up and blossom–it’s a wonderful feeling…I love it!”  

Rena constantly sees changes in the children because of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. She’s experienced children who never even said “Hi”, to now interacting with their peers on the playground and initiating conversations. Her favorite thing is to see success!  She says ABA therapy changes people’s lives. And when parents tell her what a difference it makes– that’s one of the goals, knowing that it’s making a difference in people’s lives.  

“It makes me so happy!” Rena exclaims. “Moreover, knowing that the children will now be able to thrive in the community because of schools like Aurora and ODLC, it’s what keeps me motivated.”  

She hopes that The Arc will continue grow even bigger and reach out to more people.

“There are programs, but there are no programs like this,” Rena states. “I would hope in the next 50 years, The Arc expands into different school districts, different counties, and even different states! There is no limit on what The Arc can do to help the community!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Matthew

Matthew’s been described as a very dedicated employee at STEP Up, the Supported Training and Employment Program of The Arc of Loudoun that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Before joining STEP Up, Matthew graduated from The Aurora School (a school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 5-22 on Paxton Campus). After discovering Aurora, Matthew’s father Jim said he saw a tremendous difference in Matthew.

“I felt like I finally found a place with trained instructors who knew how to handle Matthew’s behavior,” he said. “Before attending Aurora, Matthew would become aggressive when he was given a demand, but now, after graduating from the school and joining STEP Up, his negative behavior has been slowly diminishing.”

Each day at The Arc, Matthew learns to be more independent. His main responsibility is cleaning the various buildings on campus, which he absolutely loves. Mary, his former STEP Up coordinator says,

“You knows he’s  [Matthew] working hard because you’ll hear the squeaking of the windows as he cleans them. He’s the best cleaner and most hard working employee you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t want to take a break until the job is done!”

With the support and training of both Aurora and STEP Up staff, Matthew was able to start working part time, where he cleans office spaces for two companies twice a week. Working as a part time employee gives Matthew more independence and freedom, which he enjoys. Matthew continues to learn more skills at STEP Up, such as time management, following lists, and increasing the duration of his work.

Sometimes while Matthew’s working, he likes to ‘script’ from game shows. (Scripting is a common occurrence among those with autism which involves repetitive reciting of lines from movies, tv shows, books, etc. and believed to be a coping mechanism). He quizzes all of The Arc office employees by asking them different questions and answers from the shows he watches. It’s like a fun game for him, and for the employees as well!  

One of Mary’s favorite things about Matthew is his affectionate gestures.

“Matthew is very sweet,” she states. “He doesn’t talk very much, but he’ll show he has a bond with you by coming over and squeezing your arms, giving you a thumbs up, or hugging you–always a highlight of my day.”

In the future, his supervisors and his dad, Jim, hope that Matthew will have a full time job where he can reach his maximum potential.

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Kendra

Kendra is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at The Arc of Loudoun. She has been working for The Arc for eight-and-a-half years, where she started as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist at The Aurora School, a year-round day school for children with developmental disabilities; mainly autism. She initially heard about Aurora while searching for programs for her son, Cannon, to attend. After touring the school in 2008, Kendra was immediately impressed by the ABA therapy the instructors were practicing with the students. She was so impressed, in fact, that she moved her family to Loudoun County in the hopes that Cannon could one day attend Aurora. Although Cannon, now 17, would later attend public school, Kendra would begin her career as an ABA therapist at Aurora.

Kendra’s desire to become an ABA therapist grew after seeing how effective ABA therapy was for Cannon, who has autism.

“I knew I wanted to become a therapist and help children with the same needs,” she said.  

In her duties with The Arc, she is currently Clinical Director of the Paxton Advantage Behavior Clinic and a behavior consultant to students at The Aurora School, the preschool students at Open Door Learning Center, and the employees at STEP Up (a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities).

Seeing the progress the students and employees make is one of Kendra’s absolute favorite things about working at The Arc of Loudoun.

“Through ABA therapy, I  have seen astronomical success in students who went from not communicating at all to being able to read text, sign words, and talk vocally!” she exclaimed.

She’s also witnessed students’ severe aggressive and self-injurious behavior decrease through ABA therapy. 

Later this year, Kendra will be there for the grand opening of the Advantage Behavior Clinic on Paxton Campus. The clinic will allow people, like Cannon, who may not have had the opportunity to attend schools like Aurora the chance to still get the support they need– whether that’s learning communication or social skills. Kendra is thrilled about opening the clinic, and one of her desires is to create a wraparound approach where the staff at The Arc can work together with the public school teachers and their after school activities to practice social skills with a variety of students. In addition, she hopes through this approach everyone will know the effectiveness of ABA therapy and how it works.

Without The Arc, Kendra believes families would be at a great loss. She explains how The Arc is filling a need in the community by helping children and adults with disabilities live “a life like yours.” Programs and workshops at The Arc like CBI (Community Based Instruction) and the new Pathways to Justice Training, allow people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with community members such as bus drivers, cashiers, or police officers. These programs greatly benefit both the individuals with disabilities along with the community members as they learn to interact with each other. Kendra explains the importance of all the programs at The Arc stating,

“I wish more people knew that we are able to fulfill the gaps in the community with more volunteers and more funding. If they fund it, we can do it. We’re willing to put in the hard work, we just need the resources.”

Within the next 50 years, Kendra hopes The Arc will expand its programs all while “doing what they do best” which is helping the community.

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Madison

Madison is an energetic student at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the past five years since she’s been attending Aurora, Madison has learned academic skills, along with how to connect with people–whether it be with her peers or with staff. Maggie, Madison’s Applied Behavior Analysis Instructor, says,

“All the staff here know Madison. She’s very outgoing and makes friends with everybody! She’s one spit fire of a gal.”

Throughout her time at Aurora, Madison has learned general safety skills such as reading signs (like “danger”, “exit”, and “enter”) along with learning basic household chores, like doing laundry. Madison continues to learn other skills at Aurora, like how to advocate for herself.
Some of Madison’s favorite activities at Aurora include listening to her favorite band (O.A.R), playing on the tire swings, and socializing with the staff and students. Maggie says,

“I love Madison’s charisma, and her love for life! She’s very much herself all the time and we’ve really grown to have a great friendship.”

Maggie wishes more people knew how The Arc of Loudoun and Aurora provides students with different learning styles.

“The Arc gives children so many opportunities to learn,” she says. “More people should be able to see, in person, how much growth and progress our students make.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Drew

Drew is a hard-working employee at The Arc of Loudoun. He’s been a member of the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program for two years, which is a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. He first discovered The Arc of Loudoun after he and his mom attended the ALLY Advocacy Center’s Transition Series, a workshop that helps families with young adults with disabilities transition out of the public school system at age 22.

Drew, who has high-functioning autism, says he’s incredibly grateful for STEP Up, and is always excited to go to work every morning! He takes pride in his daily tasks, which range from changing light bulbs to mulching and mowing the 17-acre grounds of Paxton. Once his morning shift is over, Drew participates in STEP Up’s afternoon enrichment activities.

“I enjoy visits from Nic the therapy dog and taking field trips to places like the National Air and Space Museum,” he says. “But going to Top Golf is my personal favorite!”

Not only is Drew an employee The Arc of Loudoun, he’s also an advocate for people with special needs. Since participating in The Arc’s self-advocacy and public speaking group Speak Up, Drew has learned how to advocate for himself. Last year, Drew and other members of Speak Up traveled to Richmond; where he had the opportunity to speak directly to state lawmakers about transportation and group homes for people with disabilities.

Drew says he’s also learned how to be safe in the community through programs like ALLY’s ‘PILE’ (Positive Interaction with Law Enforcement) initiative on campus. This program teaches law enforcement personnel how to interact and with people with disabilities. Drew explains that programs like these are one of the reasons why The Arc of Loudoun is important to him saying,

”Being here helps to keep me safe. I have special needs, I have high-functioning autism. There are a lot of people with special needs around here, and Paxton benefits the whole community!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Trish

Meet Trish Thomason, mom to 17-year-old Eric, a student at The Aurora School. Before her family moved from Colorado to Virginia, Trish researched different schools for Eric to attend, which is how she discovered The Arc of Loudoun and Aurora. Eric thrives in a smaller, inclusive, structured environment, so Aurora was the perfect fit for him. In the one and half years since Eric’s been attending Aurora, Trish has seen a huge improvement.

“His focusing and ability to do tasks has gotten much better,” she says. “He also has better self-regulation of his emotions. And he’s happy! There’s definitely been schools where he didn’t want to go at all, and that doesn’t happen now. He gets excited about different things happening at school every single day.”

Not only does Eric attend The Aurora School, he also participates in many of the events that The Arc of Loudoun holds for its members. He enjoys doing adaptive yoga, art classes, and he absolutely loves music therapy. Eric’s even volunteered at The Arc’s annual fundraising event, Shocktober. After graduating from Aurora, Trish hopes Eric will join STEP Up, a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities.

“He loves animals and wants a giraffe as a pet. I want to give him the opportunity to work with animals, even just once a week. And that can be a place that can meld his interests with something that can grow within The Arc or Paxton Campus family.”

Trish loves The Arc of Loudoun because of the people.

“The people and staff are my favorite thing!” she exclaims. “Eric doesn’t get to just deal with his staff, but with other people from different programs as well. This allows Eric, and all the students, more opportunities for a wider social network.” She says The Arc’s efforts to incorporate individuals into the community is huge. “And that’s what I like about it. I like that they’re taking steps to let our kids be involved in the community, as well as bringing the community in to appreciate what our kids do. I think that’s so important.”

Trish also believes it’s important to give back to an organization that has given her so much, which is why she volunteers once a week with STEP Up.

“Ever since Eric started, I’ve volunteered at every program he’s been at. I come whenever I have free time, it’s a way to give back to them. I think it’s important to be involved. I want my kid happy and safe and I’ll work with any program that’ll let that happen.”

In the future, Trish hopes that more people will know about The Arc.

“I need it. Everybody needs it. I don’t have to spend so much time researching what’s out there about my kid’s future. The Arc has taken so many of those steps [of researching] away from us, which allows us to spend more time with our kids.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Aidan

Aidan is an enthusiastic student at The Aurora School on Paxton Campus. His infectious laugh can often be heard resonating throughout the entire building! He’s extremely musical and is always asking when he can enjoy his favorite activity: playing his piano keyboard. However, before attending Aurora, this simple act of asking would’ve been impossible– since he could initially only communicate using three pictures. Today, after six years of instruction at Aurora, Aidan can use sign language, express his thoughts through the use of an iPad, read over 100 words, and is now learning to talk. As Aidan conquers his communication skills, he continues to learn countless new skills that will provide him the chance to thrive in the community with his peers and live a more independent life. Hailey, Aidan’s lead Applied Behavior Analyst Instructor explains the importance of Aurora,

“The Aurora School and The Arc of Loudoun provides young adults, like Aidan, the opportunity to learn and grow into their full potential. I wish more people knew about the amazing progress our students make using ABA (instructional methods), and how all of the Aurora staff are striving to provide our students with, ‘A Life Like Yours.’”

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Lauren

Meet Lauren. She works at Maggie’s Closet (named after the founder of Paxton Campus’ daughter, Margaret) a non-profit store located on Paxton Campus that provides free clothing and accessories for families in need. After one year of volunteering, Lauren was given the opportunity to work part-time at Maggie’s Closet through STEP Up; a program of The Arc of Loudoun that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Maggie’s Closet accepts shoppers by appointment only and features all sizes of quality, seasonal clothing. Lauren recently began taking on more responsibility; answering phone calls, and scheduling shopping visits. She greets each shopper with a smile when they arrive for their appointments.

Lauren says working at ‘Maggie’s’ has been an amazing experience,

“I have a lot more confidence talking to people now and have become more independent. I’ve learned skills that I’ve never learned before!”

Skills such as answering the phone and interacting with customers were challenging for Lauren at first, but now she’s able to do both tasks easily. In fact, she’d love to do more public speaking. Lauren says,“I’d like to be on TV or the news. Advocating and being able to talk at The White House about Paxton would be my dream!” Lauren especially enjoys meeting all the families who shop at Maggie’s,“I love seeing them smiling. It makes me happy knowing that I’m bringing happiness to all of the people who are shopping.”

Learn more about Maggie’s Closet here: www.paxtoncampus.org/maggies-closet

 

 

50 Faces of The Arc- Masih

Meet Masih, a bright and cheerful eight-year-old student at The Aurora School. Vanessa, his lead Applied Behavior Analysis instructor, has seen tremendous growth in Masih since the beginning of the school year in September. Before coming to Aurora, Masih struggled going to new places, but now he looks forward to visiting the public library or stopping by the grocery store. He continues to learn lifelong skills at Aurora: from learning to share with others, to washing his hands independently, to allowing peers to be physically near him– now, he’s always asking for hugs! Vanessa believes it’s important for kids who are on the autism spectrum, like Masih, to have the opportunity to attend schools like Aurora that provide different learning strategies for all types of students. Vanessa is extremely proud of Masih’s progress saying,

“I enjoy knowing and working with everyone at Paxton Campus, but what an honor to work closely with Masih…the skills he learns at Aurora he will keep for a lifetime.”