My inspiration for getting involved with the Arc Foundation’s Board of Directors came from my desire to grow my professional network and get more involved in the community. I didn’t know much about the Arc of Monroe but I had experience with close family and friends who had disabilities. As an adult, my sister became disabled with mental illness. My childhood influences were the many neighbors who were our family’s friends. Particularly, the family next door had a daughter with a disability who was my age. From an early age I became aware of the struggles and difficulties that face a family when presented with a person with special needs. It hit home when I was 36 years old and became the primary support for my sister.
Having babysat for my next-door neighbor, Barbie, over the years so her parents could get out, I realize how many struggles people and families with disabilities have. It is so important for people to have good supports outside the family. Barbie’s parents could not do it alone. And neither can I. Finding the right support system that you can trust is invaluable.
One of the aspects I admire about the Arc of Monroe is their mission of inclusion. To me, inclusion is what I’ve been doing with my sister and her journey with mental illness. It’s important to me that she’s invited to every family event. We need to show people who have disabilities that we as a society want them there; that we will accommodate and be accepting. It’s not about forcing them. It’s a balance.
Being a CPA I am able to lend professional guidance to the Board of Directors as Treasurer. But I’m just happy to do whatever I can to help the community and spread the message. I’m especially excited about the inclusive golf tournament the Arc Foundation is hosting July 2019. It’s wonderful to be able to offer this opportunity to anyone and everyone, with our without a disability.
Want to get involved with the Arc? Click here.
Kathy Burke is a CPA at Daitz & Burke, LLP. She serves as Treasurer on the Arc Foundation of Monroe’s Board of Directors.