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Local Charities

An Innovative Continuum of Services for Westchester Residents with Developmental Disabilities

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August 1, 2022

Whether helping a family to secure an early intervention evaluation for a young child, preparing young adults to enter the workforce or providing person-centered residential living opportunities, The Arc Westchester is a resource for people with developmental disabilities from birth through end of life. The nonprofit, which relies heavily on donations and grants to fund its programs, has a staff of more than 850 and supports 2,000 Westchester residents with a suite of innovative services designed to foster independence, productivity and participation in community life.

The Importance of an Early Start

The Arc Westchester’s Children’s School for Early Development (The Children’s School), located in Hawthorne, provides preschool evaluations for children ages three to five, as a first step in determining services, and a variety of inclusion classrooms through long-standing collaborative relationships with nursery schools, child care centers, and public school Pre-K programs throughout Westchester County. The Children’s School has also established a variety of highly specialized center-based classrooms for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder located a variety of small and community-based settings. Many graduates of The Children’s School have advanced to inclusive education opportunities in their home school districts and some have even returned to The Arc Westchester later in life to live in its residences and/or participate in its employment program.

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Preparing for Life After High School

In 2022, The Arc Westchester launched a Transition Academy to support young adults who had recently – or soon would – complete high school. Oftentimes, families face a ‘services cliff’ when their loved one stops receiving services from their school district at ages 18 or 21. Realizing the critical need to set these individuals up for success after high school, the nonprofit established a suite of programs to help young adults build the skills they will need to succeed in the workforce. Programs are centered around each participant’s goals, ensuring they receive both the training and supports needed to achieve these objectives.

A Bridge to Employment

Visit a local coffee shop or grocery story – or stop by an accountant’s, financial planner’s or lawyer’s office – and you may see an individual who receives services from The Arc Westchester hard at work. The organization prides itself on offering opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to achieve employment, earn an income and build a meaningful career. The Arc Westchester’s Career Services team works closely with individuals and employers to make pairings that meet the goals of the employee and deliver a tangible benefit to the business. Employing these talented individuals with disabilities contributes to building a diverse work force, yet they are often least accounted for when it comes to conversations and practices to support equal rights and combat discrimination. They are also twice as likely to be unemployed, compared to those without a disability. Employment partners such as Regeneron, Zaro’s Family Bakery, ABB Optical Group, Wegman’s and several others, are helping us to combat these challenges by recognizing the dedication and talent people with developmental disabilities can bring into their workforce.

Actively Strengthening Our Communities

The Arc Westchester maintains a robust volunteerism program help individuals better their communities. Our volunteers actively support a wide-range of organizations including the Westchester Parks Foundation, Feeding Westchester, Goodwill Industries and numerous other nonprofits throughout the community. From sorting donations to helping clean up our parks, Arc Westchester volunteers take great pride in actively participating in the community. We are also fortunate to have a network of volunteers who share their talents with our individuals, and for that we are grateful.

For more information about The Arc Westchester’s programs and services for people with developmental disabilities, visit: ArcWestchester.org.

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