September is Deaf Awareness Month & International Week of the Deaf Begins September 20

Advocacy, Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

September is Deaf Awareness Month and International Week of the Deaf begins September 20! The first International Day of the Deaf was first celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) in 1958. The day of awareness was later extended to a full week, becoming the International Week of the Deaf (IWD). Deaf Awareness Week (IWD) is a national week of celebrating deafness. It is observed annually throughout the last full week of September (to commemorate the first World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, which took place in September 1951). The week focuses on promoting the positive aspects of deafness, encouraging …

Volunteer and Make a Difference for a Family Member with a Developmental Disability

Advocacy, Family Perspectives, Programs and Services, Volunteer

The Arc of Monroe Family Reimbursement Advisory Committee is seeking volunteers to serve as members on the committee. The Arc of Monroe Family Reimbursement Program helps families caring for a family member with a developmental disability with access to purchase or otherwise obtain goods and services needed to support the family member at home and strengthen the quality of life for the person and their family. Requests for the goods and services are reviewed on a monthly basis by the Family Reimbursement Advisory Committee that is includes: people with a developmental disability, family members, community advocates, and Arc of Monroe …

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee: “A Mission of Heart”

Advocacy, Staff Perspectives

As Black History Month comes to a close, I reflect on the year that we have experienced and the way in which America has been educated on the experiences of those from marginalized groups. While this “awakening” has been important to the evolution of our life, the work of growth has truly just begun. This work and growth can be uncomfortable. It can be hard to accept that life has not been equitable to others, or that some have experienced privilege. I have found that many people get hung up on the term “privilege.” Privilege is often invisible to those that …

self advocates

American with Disabilities Act


July 26, 2020 marks thirty years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed. This law was the first official step in ending discrimination against people with disabilities. In addition to physical accessibility, it guarantees equal opportunity in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. It gives people who were once excluded a chance at a successful and fulfilling life. Many things have improved in the last thirty years with people’s attitudes and accessibility, and in many ways things still have a long way to go. The Arc Alliance, a self-advocacy group at The Arc …

man with blonde hair and blue shirt

Inclusive language and safe spaces


“Be You, Be the Arc” is not just a catchy slogan that we say at The Arc of Monroe, it’s a reflection of who we are and what we are all about. Our agency is an inclusive place where we empower everyone to find what it is that makes them unique and where we celebrate the diversity that each of us brings. We live our mission statement: “a progressive community that welcomes diversity, fosters meaningful relationships, and cultivates a life of fulfillment for those we support.” In order to welcome diversity, we strive to make every Arc location a safe …

Rallying to support direct support Direct Support Professionals #bfair2DirectCare


Speech given by Nicholas Wager, Direct Support Professional at The Arc of Monroe, at the #bFair2DirectCare Rally held on March 8th, 2019. “I would like to thank everyone for being here – our New York State elected officials, those who organized this rally, fellow Direct Support Professionals, and most importantly the people that we support. My name is Nick Wagar, and I am a direct support professional at The Arc of Monroe. I became interested in this field when I was working as a manager at the Dollar Tree. You see, people would come into the store almost daily, and …


What is the #bFair2DirectCare initiative?


A Message from The President/ CEO of The Arc of Monroe, Barbara Wale For nearly eight years, non-profit agencies which serve New Yorkers with developmental disabilities went without a funding increase. To address this issue, #bFair2DirectCare formed and waged a statewide educational campaign to win funding for a living wage, phased in over six years. In 2017, Governor Cuomo made the commitment to a six year plan for the state to provide an increase in wages for direct support professionals. When fully implemented, the living wage for a DSP would be roughly $16.40/hour upstate. The first two years of the plan were …

Getting around Rochester with a disability


What do you do when you need to go somewhere in Rochester?  You use your car and drive, right?  This is not an option for everyone, including people who have disabilities. How about public transportation? People with disabilities often depend on public transportation to get them places they need, like work, or want to be, like the movies.  But what happens if you don’t live near a bus line?  What if your wheelchair doesn’t fit up the ramp to the bus?  What if you want to be spontaneous about going somewhere? For people with disabilities transportation involves hours of planning …

A living wage for Direct Support Professionals


Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide around-the-clock care to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are professionals who are highly trained in a wide variety of critical areas that include administering medications, giving first aid and CPR, de-escalating dangerous situations, behavioral intervention, and providing for the safety of those they support. Despite the high demands of this job, these dedicated staff do not earn a living wage. Direct Support Professionals make between $10 and $13 per hour. The living wage in New York State is $15.44. What is a living wage? Families and individuals working in low-wage jobs make insufficient …

Election Day, November 6, 2018

Make Voting a Priority


It’s mid-term election time!  Are you going to the polls tomorrow November 6th?  It takes time and research and, yes, it’s a real responsibility, but it’s our chance to really participate in our government. In the last mid-terms only 42% of registered voters participated. Let’s change that this year! We need you to help make a difference tomorrow. Why Vote? This is your chance to make your voice heard.  We are lucky to live in a democracy where we have the opportunity to choose our representatives. Who you vote for can affect your bank account, your rights, your health, and so …