NYSARC Inc.'s 60th Anniversary in Albany

The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., the largest parent-based organization in the nation serving people who have developmental disabilities, participated in a celebration walk in recognition of the Organization’s 60th anniversary. Throughout the summer, NYSARC Chapters hosted local and regional events as a part of a statewide People. Progress. Potential. 60th Anniversary Celebration. Locally, The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter.

On September 17, 100 people from The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter climbed aboard a bus and headed to Albany to participate in a statewide event which culminated at the steps of the NYS Capitol. The event kicked off at 11:00 AM at the Corning Preserve Riverfront Park as a procession of 1500 people walked over the Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge and up State Street to the Capitol Steps lead by Schenectady Pipe and Drum. At the Capitol steps flags from the 55 NYSARC Chapters were placed by individuals who use the supports and services of NYSARC Chapters. Remarks from several important public officials including Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings; Senate Majority Leader, Ron Canestrari; Senate Assistant Majority Leader, Neil Breslin; Asemblyman James Tedisco; Director for Constituent Relations for Senator Roy MacDonald, Jim Church; Director of Mental Hygiene for Governor Paterson, Michael Seereiter; and OMRDD Executive Deputy Commissioner, Max Chmura.

Immediately following the ceremony the group returned to the Riverfront Park at the Corning Preserve for a picnic and entertainment provided by the popular band FLAME.

The 60th Anniversary Celebration walk to the Capitol was symbolic of what NYSARC, Inc. is− local grassroots energies spreading from community to community to ultimately come together as a statewide, parent driven organization that supports more than 60,000 people with developmental disabilities as they pursue their dreams and personal goals.

In addition to its role as the nation’s largest provider of services to people with developmental disabilities, for six decades NYSARC and the (CHAPTER) has played a leading role in legislative advocacy. NYSARC initiated the historic suit against New York State which resulted in the signing of the Willowbrook Consent Decree and paved the way for a massive national policy shift toward deinstitutionalization. The Organization was also instrumental in the creation of a separate Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. More recent advocacy efforts include a major role in the passage of landmark legislation in health care decision making for people who have developmental disabilities.

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Background Information on NYSARC, Inc.

In 1949, NYSARC, Inc. was formed by parents who were determined to change forever, society's traditional disregard for the needs of their children with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

With an interest in establishing a day nursery for their young children, two Bronx mothers placed an advertisement in the New York Post. A group of 200 New York City parents responded and consequently banded together to fight for the recognition of their children's special needs and capabilities.

The establishment of the Association marked a turning point for all people who have developmental disabilities and their families in the United States. As a parent-based organization dedicated to political action the Association became a unique and effective organizational model that has been duplicated across the nation.

In the years to follow, the Association grew rapidly as a service provider and as the leading advocacy organization in the State. NYSARC initiated the historic suit against New York State which resulted in the signing of the Willowbrook Consent Decree that paved the way for a massive national policy shift toward deinstitutionalization. This landmark legislation secured an unprecedented legal claim on behalf of people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to the dignity that is the birthright of every person.

Today the Association continues its leading role as an outspoken advocate and a multi-faceted, caring service provider. NYSARC supports 60,000 people in all aspects of life from birth through end of life care. Supports and services include: early intervention, health care, education, preparation for employment, help in finding and keeping a job, independent living, and self-advocacy.

With representation in every county in New York State, NYSARC is the largest organization of its kind in the nation.

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