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Shela Sapp: The Arc of Rowan puts United Way dollars to use

Shela Sapp

Shela Sapp, executive director of The Arc of Rowan, stands with Andrew Stirewalt, recipient of the 2014 Self-Advocate Award.  (Photo by Hugh Fisher)

Shela Sapp, executive director of The Arc of Rowan, stands with Andrew Stirewalt, recipient of the 2014 Self-Advocate Award.
(Photo by Hugh Fisher)

By Shela Sapp

The Arc of Rowan

The Arc of Rowan board of directors and staff would like to thank everyone who worked and contributed to the Rowan County United Way campaign this year. The Arc of Rowan is one of the Rowan County United Way member agencies that benefits from all the hard work of this successful campaign.

The Arc of Rowan was established in 1954 and is committed to improving the quality of life for all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities while promoting inclusiveness, equity, dignity and respect for their diversity and cultural differences.

As a Rowan County United Way agency, The Arc of Rowan provides the following programs/advocacy using United Way Dollars:

The Arc of Rowan Summer Day Program is a seven-week program to help with operational expenses and scholarships for children ages 5-21 with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Activities blend recreational and academic instruction to produce a fun time including swimming, field trips, self help skill development, daily living skill instruction centered around each child’s identified developmental needs.

Advocacy is the foundation of The Arc of Rowan. The agency assists people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families with obtaining needed services. The Arc may connect them to an existing service or develop the services, assisting families by providing “a voice,” direction, consultation or whatever the family may need. The service system is very difficult to navigate, so The Arc of Rowan provides the needed supports so people can obtain their life needs.

Fetal alcohol syndrome – A public awareness program for the prevention of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by women drinking while pregnant. This is a 100 percent preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This program is presented to middle and high school students in Rowan County. Teenage “mothers-to-be” are one of the target groups for presentations. The Arc of Rowan partners with the Rowan Salisbury School System and other agencies to “pass the word” that there is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. The message sent is simple: “Somewhere, someday you will be with someone who is pregnant and a drink will be offered, and you will be able to make a difference for that baby.” Statistics are staggering — 50 percent of women will drink alcohol before they realize that they are pregnant.

The Respite Program gives parents/guardians the opportunity for a much needed break from the day-to-day care need of developmentally disabled family members. Respite can be a one-on-one need or for a support group with many individuals. Currently, The Arc of Rowan also provides child care for Down Syndrome Support Group, Rowan County Brain Injury Support Group and the Special Needs Conference. Our agency is working to expand this program in the upcoming year.

Funding allows our agency to provide transportation for recreation groups, Special Olympics regional and state meets, the SOAR Program at RCCC. The Arc also holds monthly dances for adults and informational seminars to assist our families.

These are just a few of services that your contributions will assist with. In 2014, The Arc of Rowan served 1,935 people in our community. This could not have happened without the support from United Way.

If you would like to learn more about The Arc of Rowan, please call 704-637-1521 or visit our website at www.thearcofrowan.org . You can also follow our agency on Facebook.

 

Sapp is executive director of The Arc of Rowan.

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