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Arc of Westchester at the White House Press Release

Executive Director of The Arc of Westchester Invited to the White House for High Level Briefings and to Advocate for People with Disabilities

Hawthorne, NY – February 7, 2012 - This week Richard Swierat - Executive Director - of The Arc of Westchester will join 150 leaders of The Arc from across the country to attend a White House Community Leaders Briefing. Over the course of the day, leaders of chapters of The Arc, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), will be briefed by high level White House and Administration officials on topics ranging from Medicaid to education to community living and employment for people with I/DD, and have the chance to engage with and ask questions of these officials.

This day-long briefing is specifically for The Arc’s network, and comes just weeks before Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, which is in March and will be marked with efforts across the country to raise awareness of issues facing people with disabilities.

“This invitation from the White House represents the recognition by policy makers that people with developmental disabilities are an important constituency among the citizens of our nation. People with developmental disabilities and their family members participate as voting citizens and active participants in discussions on all aspects of politics in our nation. Now they will have the opportunity to demonstrate this in the house of our nation’s leadership”, said Swierat.

The day-long event offers:

  • Participants an invaluable opportunity to hear from senior White House officials, including Jon Carson, the Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
  • A series of policy breakout sessions that will allow for more detailed discussions on certain issue areas, like community living, education, and Medicaid. The purpose of these briefings is to allow White House and administration officials to hear from leaders of The Arc about how government policies affect the lives of people with I/DD and impact their ability to live full, independent lives. 
  • A unique, face-to-face opportunity to speak directly to people in leadership positions that allow leaders of The Arc to make the voices of the millions of people with I/DD heard at the White House. 
  • An opportunity for chapter leaders can take home new tools to help individuals in their communities utilize programs of the federal government.
  • “The Arc, as one of the largest organizations working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brings a wealth of experience and insight to discuss today’s most important concerns facing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We’re looking forward to having them here at the White House to deepen our partnership, and to discuss the issues we care about most,” Jon Carson, the Director of the Office of Public Engagement.


About The Arc of Westchester:

Founded in 1949, The Arc of Westchester is the oldest and largest agency in Westchester County serving children and adults who have developmental disabilities and their families.

Over seven hundred employees provide more than 1,600 individuals throughout the county with a broad range of innovative and effective programs and services designed to foster independence, productivity and participation in community life. Through a process called person-centered planning, Arc of Westchester enables those it serves first to define their dreams, and then, with the help of family, friends and staff, to work towards realizing them. The Arc of Westchester is a chapter of NYSARC, Inc. and The Arc.

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About The Arc:

The Arc advocates for and serves people with I/DD, including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy, and other diagnoses. The Arc has a network of over 700 chapters across the country promoting and protecting the human rights of people with I/DD and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes and without regard to diagnosis.

The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC.

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