Arc of Rowan: United Way dollars in use

Published 12:36 am Sunday, July 24, 2016

By Shela Sapp

For the Salisbury Post

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. The Arc of Rowan is one of the Rowan County United Way member agencies that benefit 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 — This 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/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) 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 (FAS) — A public awareness program for the prevention of I/DD. FAS is caused by women drinking while pregnant. This is a 100 percent preventable cause of I/DD. 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.

•  After-School Program — The after-school program serves children (ages 11 to 22) who have an intellectual/developmental disability. This population is not included in the after-school programs provided by RSSS, nor the private community after-school providers. While all children benefit from high quality after-school programs, after- school gives children with special needs the chance to experience meaningful and authentic belonging. Beyond the benefits of providing learning and enrichment activities, after-school offers children with special needs the chance to engage peers in a way often not possible during the regular school day. After-school provides a safe haven where children with special needs can learn, play and succeed. Beyond the many benefits the program provide the children and their families, many children with special needs cannot be left unattended, so being home alone is not an option. After-school also provides a comfortable setting for family involvement, critical to the success of all students, and especially beneficial to students with special needs.

•  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 Olympic 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 2015 The Arc of Rowan served 1,835 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 You can also follow our agency on Facebook.

Shela Sapp is executive director of the Arc of Rowan.