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United Way dollars are helping in our community

By Shela Sapp

Special to the Salisbury Post

The United Way Campaign is just around the corner. Numerous hours and volunteers will be used to make the campaign a success. The Arc of Rowan is proud to be one of the Rowan County United Way Member Agencies.

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.

I have been with The Arc of Rowan for almost 25 years and our agency was receiving United Way dollars even before I came to the agency. I understand the value of the United Way Dollars that are allocated to our agency on a yearly basis. I have watched The Arc of Rowan grow over the years: our staff, Board of Directors and the individuals that our agency is proud to provide services to are all appreciative and are thankful for the generosity of United Way Dollars.

Some of the programs that benefit from United Way Dollars include:

The Arc of Rowan Summer Day Program – I am pleased to report that we have 100 children ages 5-22 attending the program this year at three locations in Rowan County. United Way Dollars assist with operational expenses and scholarships for children 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.

Community Resources such as Family Support 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% preventable cause of I/DD 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% 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.

I am proud to announce that the Arc of Rowan did start-up our After School Respite Program that provides after school care for middle and high school students. This has been an exciting venture and had assisted families who need an after school program for their middle or high school child.

Funding allows are 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.

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.

Shela Sapp is executive director of The Arc of Rowan.

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