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Meet new friends, have fun, and DANCE! Featuring the very special DJ Stephanie Rasul. Light drinks and snacks will be provided. (Attendees must be 19 and older, Participants that need assistance for physical and behavioral needs must be accompanied by their caregiver)
When: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22 | 6:30-8:00PM Where: ALLY ADVOCACY CENTER – Located at The Arc of Loudoun
601 Catoctin Circle, NE, Leesburg, VA 20176
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
Taught by Darcy Swope and Trent Carbaugh, owners of and instructors at Birds of A Feather Art School
Adults 18+ of ALL abilities are invited to take part in this exciting instructional class that will allow you to discover your inner artistic voice. Darcy and Trent are skilled art instructors and therapists, with a great deal of experience working with people of all abilities. Each week will provide a new and exciting opportunity to try different mediums (or the same one each week if that is what you would like to do!).
WHAT: Expression Through Art: Adaptive Art Classes for ALL Abilities
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!”
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.”
In 1967 a group of parents who had children with special needs joined together and formed The Arc of Loudoun, a non-profit organization, in the hopes of starting a preschool that would accept their children when no one else would. Mr. Sherwood Simons and his wife, Ann Simons, were one of those families who were looking for their son to have “A Life Like Yours”. They wanted him to have a school where he would be welcomed like every other child….where he could feel included, have friends, feel safe, and be given the opportunity to learn and reach his maximum potential.
Thanks to the Simons Family and the dedication of many parents who came afterwards, The Arc of Loudoun has grown into a full service organization, with multiple programs and services that together, serve over 3,000 children and adults with disabilities, and their families each year.
At The Arc, we do our best to meet the needs of the disability community, but we cannot do it alone. With estimates of approximately 16,000 children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Loudoun County alone, collaboration with other non- profits, government agencies, corporate partners, and many caring and dedicated individuals is absolutely necessary to achieve “A Life Like Yours”.
With the creation of the Sherwood R. Simons Award, we are celebrating a community member who has made a significant impact in helping the disability community achieve the goal of “A Life Like Yours”. They have worked diligently in their personal or professional life to make sure that individuals with disabilities are valued for what they CAN do, rather than for their limitations. They have worked to make sure that this community is treated with fairness, kindness and justice. They are the one fulfilling the dream that parents will no longer have to search for a place for their child to fit in…..they will be welcomed with open arms.