Arc of Haywood celebrates accomplishments during annual meeting

Sep 30, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Haywood County special education teachers and speech language pathologists receive grants from The Arc to provide new learning opportunities for  students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc of Haywood County celebrated a year of opportunities, accomplishments and partnerships at their annual awards meeting Tuesday, Sept. 24. The celebration, attended by more than 100 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, friends, staff and community partners, provides the Arc an opportunity to acknowledge the people who support and advocate for individuals with disabilities in our community.

"This annual event provides us an opportunity to get everyone together to celebrate all of the good things that have happened over the year and thank others in the community for their continued support," said Denise Coleman, executive director.

This year, Arc board treasurer John Gatens gave a special PowerPoint presentation outlining the challenges that lie ahead for The Arc and the plans to address these challenges. Gatens shared Arc financial data as well as statistics relating to the impact of the current North Carolina economy related to the nonprofit sector.

The award for Community Partner of the Year went to the two Knights of Columbus Councils in Haywood County, The Father Michael W. Murphy Council at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Maggie Valley and Father Bernard McDevitt Council at St. John's Evangelical Church in Waynesville. Both councils give generously throughout the year to both The Arc of Haywood and Special Olympics. The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic charitable society that promotes charity, unity, fraternity and patriotism. The donations are proceeds from the L.A.M.B. drive where the Knights hand out tootsie rolls in several area locations over the course of the year. The L.A.M.B. drive, which raises funds specifically for agencies that provide services and programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, stands for the "Least Among My Brothers."

Also awarded during the evening were 23 small grants to Haywood County special education teachers and speech language pathologists. The grants, which totaled $7,360, were made possible by the United Way of Haywood County. Each year a portion of the United Way funding awarded to the Arc is set aside to provide school personnel with funding to implement innovative opportunities for special needs students in the preschools, elementary and high schools throughout Haywood County.

Joan Ferrara, exceptional children director for Haywood County Schools, expressed her sincere appreciation to the Arc and the United Way for their continued commitment to students with special needs.

"In these times of extreme budget cuts, the level of commitment that The Arc continues to show to the students and staff of Haywood County Schools through this year's award of 23 grants to fund special projects for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities is awe inspiring," she said. "The support that our exceptional children staff feel from the Arc Board boosts morale and provides exciting new learning opportunities for our students with the most significant needs. We are so honored by the Arc's generosity."

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of awards to each of the 30 individuals who live in Arc group homes or are supported in the community living program. Awards recognized their accomplishments and were individualized to reflect the special interests of each person.

Music for the evening was presented by The Arc Apartment Living program.

For more information on the Arc of Haywood County, a United Way agency,