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It Matters To Me

It Matters to Me Campaign...
Why It Matters to YOU!

Earlier this year, we asked for your help to deliver an important message to Albany through the Families Cannot Be Caregivers Forever campaign. I want to assure you that your stories were critically important in preventing further cuts to the budget. Thank you!

But the struggle for recognition of our community's need and fair allocation of funding continues. To keep the momentum going, Arc of Westchester is once again aligning with NYSARC, Inc. to support their new It Matters To Me campaign. This initiative focuses attention on issues impacting people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Once again, your stories are key.

I'm inviting you to share your own story about how Arc of Westchester has helped you or your family and why the programs and services we provide matter to you. 

Our goal is to build public awareness while collecting compelling evidence through the It Matters To Me campaign to encourage state legislature and the governor to include the needs of individuals with I/DD in their planning for next year's budget. I'm really depending on your participation. 

Potential topics to discuss are:

  • Residential housing for individuals living at home with aging caregivers: Our residential housing takes each individual's needs and goals into consideration. But funding for these programs is decreasing while need has increased. Thousands of families are worried about who will take care of their sons or daughters when they are unable to do so.
  • Wages: Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) make an impact in the lives of individuals with I/DD. They provide transportation, supervise activities, change diapers and keep air passages clear of food/water, among many other responsibilities. The current minimum wage issue is creating a potentially catastrophic situation of inequity. DSPs should make the same salary as fast food workers, and we're advocating for nothing less! View Petition to Governor.
  • Preschools: Our Children's School is the largest provider of community-based services for children with developmental disabilities in Westchester County, and over 80 percent of our graduates attend community schools. These schools are currently operated free of charge to our families, but cuts to state funding would jeopardize our services. 
  • Choices program: Individuals with I/DD 18 years and older in Westchester County have the unique opportunity to join Choices, our program which helps people find their skills and talents as they transition from a school setting to the workplace. Ninety percent of people who participate in the program go on to be gainfully employed. But due to budget cuts, there is now a wait list for this program.

Arc of Westchester is one of the most innovative and influential Arc Chapters in the state. What makes us strong is our membership. Our opinions matter - to NYSARC and to Albany. Please add your voice to ours by sharing your story and photos. Tell us how we've helped you or your family and why these necessary services should continue to receive state funding.

With my gratitude and support, 

— Richard P. Swierat, Executive Director

VIEW NYSARC VIDEO

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Direct Support Professionals Deserve The Same Salary As Fast Food Workers

Ric Swierat, executive director of Arc of Westchester and Susan Limongello executive director of Putnam ARC, have warned that the inequality in pay could have serious repercussions on the health of individuals with disabilities.

Read Article in LOHUD