News from the Field Department - September 2020

WORKING WITH YOUR LOCAL ARC

Interview with Michelle Jordan, Program Manager for Special Olympics Armstrong/Indiana and Executive Director of The Arc of Indiana County

  1. What are some of the reasons for Special Olympics Local Programs to develop a relationship with their local Arc?  The Arc is a service provider (usually) and therefore connected to Group Homes and other athlete groups.  The Arc can act as a check and balance for a local program by providing legal information that protects athletes and their families.  The Arc also provides some workshops, employment help and training and public awareness.
  2. What should Local Program Managers do or not do when connecting with The Arc? Self-advocacy for athletes is important and sharing your opportunities for leadership, coaching, travel and state events will help get Arc staff excited.  Be persistent, but have a good message.  Tell the story of your program. 
    • Don’t lead with what the Arc can do for you.  This is not the place for gaining volunteers or athletes - at least at the beginning.
  3. What ways can The Arc work together with Special Olympics Local Programs?  Every Arc is different, research your local organization and find out what age groups they serve, what services they provide and whether they have in-school advocacy.  The Arc can partner with Special Olympics on events and might consider adding an athlete with leadership experience to their Board.   Many Arc meetings are open to anyone and a representative from your program could attend and even speak.
  4. The Arc of Indiana County hosts a Community Disability Awareness meeting.  Tell us about that.  Each month we hold a meeting to raise disability awareness issues in our community.  We have representatives from PATTAN, ADA, ARIN and other service organizations.  We discuss best methods, early intervention and ways to raise awareness in Indiana County.