Christina R., an outstanding student in The Arc Mid-South’s Life, Education, Training, Skills (LETS) classroom, initially started the program with a lack of motivation in learning and a lack of interest in obtaining a job. She hasfaced many obstacles, and challenges; yet she has emerged victoriously. Through encouragement from the instructors of the LETS classroom, Christina is now eagerly applying for jobs online, using her newfound keyboard skills to help make it happen.
Christina’s biggest trial has been in mathematics, always saying, “It’s too tough.” With one on one assistance from the instructors, continued motivation, and urging from Career Development staff, Christina has worked diligently to improve her concentration and master her mathematics lessons.
Christina has now transitioned her focus to reading comprehension, and is well on her way to earning her GED. Christina’s GPA is the highest in the class, and she looks forward to securing a job and becoming a productive citizen. There is no doubt that Christina will reach her goal.
The Arc Mid-South offers scholarships for adult students who need the financial help. Without financial assistance,students like Christina might not have the opportunity to have the individualized training The Arc Mid-South provides. Your donation will allow others to benefit from the program so that we can help develop a stronger population of well-trained, self-sufficient citizens who can contribute positively to society both economically and socially?
In many families, it is common for children to attend day care or after-school care, interact with peers and adults outside the family, or stay with a child care provider while their parents enjoy an evening out. Respite care provided by The Arc Mid-South Direct Support Professionals offers these same opportunities for children with special needs. Respite care is short term care that helps a family take a break from the daily routine and stress of care-giving. It can be provided in the client's home or in a variety of out-of-home settings and is an essential part of the overall support that families may need to keep their family member with a disability or chronic illness at home. This is a top objective of the respite program so that families can avoid the need to institutionalize their loved one.
For older individuals with a disability, The Arc Mid-South offers weekend respite retreats 8-10 times per year and 2 week-long summer camps which assist in building the skills needed for independent living and also provides companionship and support services. Since the most appropriate living situation for many adults with a disability is in a group home or other supported environment, out-of-home respite care can enable families to test this option, explore community resources, and prepare themselves and their family member with a disability for this change. The campers enjoy field trips, community events, and activities designed to increase their ability to lead fulfilled lives.
A parent of one of our campers shares their story, "We have been taking our son, Scott, to The Arc's respite/retreat weekends for at least ten years. We feel that this is a good experience for him in learning to become more independent. This gives Scott an opportunity to spend some time away from his parents, to make new friends, and take part in different activities offered. It also gives his Dad and me "some alone time to recharge our batteries" so that we will have the patience and energy to take the best care of our developmentally and intellectually disabled son. Scott is always eager to attend the respites and seems to always enjoy himself."
Colin's family moved to Memphis in the mid-80's and found The Arc Mid-South had so many supportive programs…especially respite…that were invaluable to their family. They knew nobody when they arrived in Memphis and The Arc immediately provided respite care during their first visit to Memphis so they could begin house-hunting and getting settled. Colin still loves the weekend retreats and summer camps and his parents certainly enjoy the regular break the respite programs provide. His mom says " The Arc has become our family here in Memphis – I don’t know what we’d do without it!"
The Arc Mid-South offers scholarships for campers who need the financial help which is where your support comes in. Each $400 we receive sends a camper to a weekend retreat. Will you help?
WORKING TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY
The most recent L.E.T.S. Program (Life, Education, Training, Skills) directly impacted 14 students for the twelve consecutive weeks beginning June 2012. This signature program of The Arc Mid-South has two primary goals: preparing young adults from low-income families who have cognitive disabilities to obtain their GED and teaching individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities certain life skills pertaining to health and wellness, sex education, homemaking, safety awareness, housing, transportation, effective communication, and the understanding of governmental benefits. Overall outcomes of the program are to increase confidence and self-sufficiency in individuals with disabilities.
The L.E.T.S. Program does its part to ensure communities are educated and productive. Especially in a society where poverty is rampant- with 46.2 million Americans living below the poverty line (The New York Times, 2011)- it is essential that individuals acquire the skills necessary to assist them in gaining substantial employment; skills which will allow individuals to become an active contributor in the society where they reside.
Along these lines, the importance of education must be stressed. Statistics have shown that 8 percent of individuals ages 16 to 24 are neither enrolled in school nor possess an official record of high school completion (Institute of Education Sciences, 2008). While eight percent may appear to be a low number, it is staggering when considering that young adults lacking a High School Diploma or GED are more likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance. Additionally, individuals lacking education are more likely to be involved in crime (David C. Deming, 2012)
Fortunately, The L.E.T.S. Program helps combat these societal issues. Specifically, this program prepares young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to obtain their GED, acquire the skills needed for employment, seek employment opportunities, and teach everyday life skills. This program ultimately assists individuals in becoming contributors in the community where they reside; this decreases the need for individuals to rely on government assistance which, in turn, reduces the adverse financial impact on the economy.
The pre-determined curricula of the L.E.T.S. Program stressed understanding the Mathematics portion of the GRE exam. Students were also taught basic skills, some of which included adequately handling stress, dealing with conflicts, emphasizing the importance of teamwork, and practicing good time management.
While enrolled, students improved both their listening skills and participation in the class. They involved themselves with completing independent exercises at times, and focused on group exercises at others. While the varying types of disabilities may have posed a challenge during classroom instruction, instructors often provided time for one-on-one instruction depending upon the severity of the disability.
As a result of the program, many students demonstrated improvements in self esteem, determination, and confidence. There was obvious progress in students’ punctuality and attendance, and behavioral-driven outbursts that were demonstrated towards the beginning of the 12 week session significantly lessened in degree and frequency. There was a recent graduation for all students who successfully completed the program.
Finally, students attending L.E.T.S. classes received training and assistance when locating employment. The Arc Mid-South’s Job Readiness staff worked with students preparing them for how to best locate positions within their specified area of interest. The Job Developer closely engaged students in multiple areas, including how to best complete applications, how to dress in appropriate work attire, and how to interview well. Once hired, staff followed up with students who offered direct support during the beginning stages of their employment.
Thank you for taking the time to view Working to Develop Confidence and Self-Sufficiency. The Arc Mid-South appreciates any support you can provide in sustaining this project. With your continued support, The L.E.T.S. Program will continue to be successful.
Please contact The Arc Mid-South with ideas and to gather more support for this program and the agency. Visit The Arc Mid-South at www.thearcmidsouth.org.
STRENGTHENING FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
The L.E.T.S. (Life, Education, Training, Skills) started with 25 students, and as a result of the dire need, enrollment continues to increase. The Arc Mid-South’s sole purpose of the L.E.T.S. Program is to prepare young adults from low-income families, with cognitive disabilities to obtain their GED, and to educate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the areas of life skills, such as health and wellness, sex education, homemaking, safety awareness, housing, transportation, effective communication, and navigating benefits. The outcome of the program is to increase the confidence and self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.
The community at large is better off in a society where a large portion of people are more educated and more productive. Although education problems are prominent in the United States, in 2008, the national school dropout rate was estimated at 8% of individuals ages 16 to 24 either not enrolled in school or without their diplomas/GEDs. United States Census specifies that only 56% of the students with special needs receive a High School Diploma upon graduation, rather than a certificate of attendance.
Young Adults that have not obtained a High School Diploma or GED are more likely to live in poverty and to receive government assistance. Many young adults that fail to obtain their High School Diploma, without the support of a family member or program such as L.E.T.S., are also more likely to become involved in crime. The L.E.T.S. program provides a safe haven and a daily program for young adults to attend, which decreases the probability of crime. Individuals without a daily routine are more likely to become involved in crime. Negative outcomes, along with diminished labor force participation exact a high economic toll on society.
Poverty can be caused by many different problems. One cause of poverty is that people who have a lower than average ability to earn income are more likely to be poorer than those people who are high achievers in the workplace. The group most affected by this cause is generally the elderly, individuals with disabilities, the feeble-minded, single mothers, and many minority figures.
The L.E.T.S. Program is designed to give these young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities an opportunity to obtain their GED, acquire skills geared for employment, seek employment opportunities, and to educate individuals for everyday life skills. This program is designed to assist the individuals in becoming contributors in the community in which they reside; thus decreasing the need for the individuals to rely on government assistance, increasing literacy, and in turn, reducing the financial impact of the economy.
"Illiteracy carries economic costs as well as personal problems. The report 'Literacy, Education and Training and their Impact on the UK Economy', by Ernst and Young, suggests that illiteracy costs business and government £10 billion a year.”
Students worked on GED preparation, including Mathematics and Basic Skills, some of the students have learned to complete multiplication, fractions, working on time management, team work and handling stress and dealing with conflicts.
Students have improved their listening skills, and participation in the class. As a result of increasing their participation, they are actively involved in completing independent exercises, and group exercises that encourage independence, and teamwork. The varying types of disabilities have been a challenge during classroom instruction. Depending upon the severity of the disability, some of the student’s need more one-on-one instruction. There is a high demand and a great need for additional instructors or volunteers to assist in the classroom with one-on-one instruction, and classroom instruction.
The changes made in the initial setting to separate the students based on the level of learning, and the level of comprehension has ensured that the students that have difficulty learning are receiving instruction at a much slower pace. The students will continue to attend classes as long as needed and to prepare for their GED Test.
Many students have demonstrated an improvement in their self esteem, determination, and their confidence. The students have shown an improvement in their punctuality and attendance, and the outbursts that were demonstrated in their behavior in the beginning of the 12 week session have significantly improved. Social skills have improved within the classroom. Recently, the students performed publically at a program celebrating Disability Awareness Month which included a talent show hosted by The Arc.
Career Development and Job Readiness
Students attending L.E.T.S. classes received training and assistance in locating employment. The number of students employed during the first 12-week session of the L.E.T.S. Program is four. The Job Readiness staff worked with students in preparing them for employment and locating positions. The job developer instructed students in completion of application, interviewing skills and dressing for the position. The job developers are responsible for following up with the students to offer support in their employment. The students hired during this period have retained employment for at least six months.
The students from L.E.T.S. Program as well as approximately 80 students from eight local high schools attended a Job Readiness Workshop hosted by The Arc Mid-South. The students were given an opportunity to receive information from community leaders and educators regarding transition from school into the work force. Day Two of the workshop provided an opportunity for students to meet with employers at the career fair. (see photos)
The Respite Care program allows families to have their loved ones at home with them and provide relief of 24 hour caregiver responsibilities. During the months of January through March, 2012, 42 campers attended the weekend retreats. Weekend retreats give the campers an opportunity to interact with peers in a fun and safe environment. Continued budget cuts to families reduce the number of campers able to attend the weekend retreats. A donation of $1000 will provide four full camperships. The Respite Care Program gives caregivers an opportunity to take a break and have time for themselves. Many of the caregivers are provided an opportunity to continue in their careers, and the security of knowing that their loved one is cared for by a trained, and caring professional in the safety of their residential home.
Thank you for taking the time to view Strengthening Families and Communities Project. The Arc Mid-South appreciates any support you can provide to continue these projects. With your support, The L.E.T.S. Program and Respite Care Program will continue to be successful.
Contact The Arc Mid-South with ideas and to gather more support for these programs and the agency. Visit The Arc Mid-South at www.thearcmidsouth.org.
The Arc Mid-South is able to keep families together and fulfill its mission to empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to achieve their full potential through various programs focused on self sufficiency and opportunity.
The Respite Care program allows families to have their loved one at home with them and provide short term relief of 24 hour caregiver responsibilities. The physical, emotional, and financial health of caregivers is important and should be considered in the life plan of individuals with I/DD.
In July of 2011, The Arc Mid-South was able to provide two summer camps. These camps are important to the Mid-South community, as there are very few places in the area where individuals of all ages with I/DD can attend camps in the summer. It is an opportunity for the campers to come together with their peers in a loving environment and participate in a broad range of activities that focus on empowerment and achievement. While the campers are away at camp; the parents and caregivers are given the opportunity to have a break and take time for themselves. Respite programs such as The Arc’s summer camps are a necessity.
To all 25 service recipients an opportunity to experience camp it costs $35,000 annually and $73,000 for weekend retreats. Many of the people we serve in the community are unable to afford services. Through support from individual donors, community partners, and local businesses, in 2011, The Arc was able to provide:
The Arc would like to expand respite to the Mid-South community through summer camps and weekend retreats. State and Federal budget cuts are reducing respite care funding.
In addition to respite programs at The Arc, our newest program, the Life, Education, Training, Skills (L.E.T.S.) Program enriches the minds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing life skills training in a broad range of areas. One of our program students, Justin took time to share a personal testimony as to why he is fortunate to be able to receive services at The Arc Mid-South.
“The Arc Center of the Mid-South has been very kind to me because they made me feel more confident that I can be successful in finding a job based on the skills that I have learned. Once I graduate from The Arc Center, I should feel 100% confident that I can find a job-even if it’s not my own dream one. Thank you to The Arc of the Mid-South for making me realize that getting any job is far from impossible. Thank you to all of the following: Ms. Mildred, Ms. Merle, Ms. Sandra, Ms. Tabitha (Rogers), Ms. Michelle and anybody and everybody else not mentioned but responsible for at least one part of my success. I will never forget each and everyone of you all! -THE END-”
Our vision is that every individual and family affected by intellectual or developmental disabilities has access to the information, advocacy, and skills they need to participate as active citizens of their community. You can help make this possible by supporting our agency. You’ll help individuals just like Justin realize their full potential, and receive necessary skills to be active citizens in the community.
The Arc also has various partnerships with other agencies in the community. The Aging Commission of the Mid-South and The Arc are working together to provide in-home support, homemaker services, and advocacy on behalf of senior citizens with I/DD. A demographic that is often sent to nursing home facilities if it appears they are unable to care for their home and self. With the proper services in the home, individuals can remain independent in their homes.
The Arc helps people with I/DD and their families by creating opportunities. We foster respect and protect human rights of people with I/DD through advocacy. We can accomplish more together with a strong collective voice, and the collaborative efforts of the community members at large.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
This project is no longer accepting donations.
Still want to help?
Find another project in
that needs your help.