Changes at the Arc of Rowan

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In 2001, Jane Jackman took a job to work with children and adults with developmental disabilities for the Arc of Rowan and always looked at the position as executive director as her “dream” job. She recently stepped down as head of the nonprofit and took a position as a community guide within the organization she said in order to pursue her fantasy job.
The Arc of Rowan provides support and referral services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers. The Arc of Rowan is a chapter of the national organization, Arc of the United States. The local chapter facilitates a number of programs including advocacy, a brain injury support group, van transportation, a liaison who connects participants with other programs and services, to name a few.
Jackman’s new role as a community guide means she has the flexibility to work from anywhere and even make it home in time for dinner with her family, she said.
Shela Sapp, who served as assistant director/finance director, has taken on the role of executive director, while Lori Ewart, who began in 2008 as a part-time community guide, is now assistant executive director. Ewart also oversees the agency’s residential apartments and the national accreditation.
The changes, though gradual, were implemented in July, Sapp said.
Sapp will do much of what she did prior to the change, but will now include meeting with the board of directors, taking on more responsibilities of the agency and working with Cardinal Health Innovations Healthcare Solutions, formerly PBH.
Community guides help the participants integrate into and build connections in the community, coordinates community resources for the participants and provide support for the individual’s family or care provider.
“It helps link them with other agencies and sort out their options,” Sapp said.
There are 200 participants who receive help from a community guide and in 2012, there were 1,764 people who received services from the Arc of Rowan.
The organization has partnered with the Arc of North Carolina to provide the Community Guide Services and is under the network of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions. These partnerships have paved the way for the Arc of Rowan to serve more participants and increased the need for a bigger staff. The Arc of Rowan provides services to not just Rowan County, but participants in Cabarrus, Davidson and Stanly counties.
“When PBH changed to Cardinal Innovations the services and needs changed and we are able to serve more people,” Jackman said.
There are four full-time community guides and three part-time guides. The organization now operates with a staff of 10 and in the past had mostly operated with just Sapp and Jackman.
“Our growth in the agency has been because of the Community Guide program,” Sapp said.
“The changes are just plain growth of the agency and personnel,” Jackman said.
The Arc of Rowan is also in its 60th year and will celebrate with a reception following its annual membership meeting in March. The Arc of Rowan is a Rowan County United Way member agency and has been such since the 1970s. The United Way provides some funding to the agency.
Sapp and Jackman said they are grateful to the United Way because it means they don’t have to search out funds and as a member-agency can also refer participants to other United Way agencies for help.
For more information about the Arc of Rowan and its other programs and services visit or call 704-637-1521.