To the editor:
Saturday's Journal-World contained an article about the likelihood that The Arc of Kansas, an advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities, will dissolve by the end of 2002. As president of the board of directors of our local Arc, I believe it's important to emphasize that The Arc of Douglas County and The Arc of the United States continue to be strong and vital organizations. Despite the potential demise of the state organization, local Arcs also continue to fill important and diverse roles in several other Kansas towns, including Topeka, Wichita, Hays, Leavenworth, and Atchison.
With the assistance of funding from the United Way of Douglas County, the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities, Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services, and a variety of other sources, our staff of seven full- and part-time employees and our volunteers continue to fulfill The Arc's mission of providing advocacy and support to people with developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc of Douglas County provides independent service coordination for a growing number of people with developmental disabilities.
For several years, The Arc has also provided support staff to the Self-Advocacy Coalition of Kansas (SACK), which is a consortium of local groups comprised of people with developmental disabilities. SACK plays a growing role in representing the interests of people with developmental disabilities before the Kansas legislature and before policy makers in the executive branch of government.
The Arc of Douglas County expects to be around for many years to come. We agree with Jane Rhys of the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities that there continues to be a need for organizations like The Arc both locally and nationally. We welcome new and younger members and the energy and ideas they bring to our organization. We encourage people to call our office if they are interested in learning more about The Arc!