The Arc of Racine
Sandy Engel – Executive Director
"The Arc advocates for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by safeguarding their rights, facilitating choice and promoting independence and inclusion in school and community life. We provide information, advocacy and support, and help empower people with disabilities and their families to get needed services. We educate professionals, community leaders and elected officials to better understand disabilities and best practices. We collaborate with others in the community to make changes in the system. The Arc of Racine was incorporated in 1954 and it was during that time that parents gathered around kitchen tables to discuss how they could improve the quality of life for their children and others with disabilities. That grassroots organizing took place throughout the country and led to significant changes. People with disabilities moved out of institutions, public schools opened their doors to children with dsiabilities, and programs were established. At that time, ARC was an acronym, but in 1991 the acronym was dropped and the name was changed to simply The Arc, to reflect a broader mission, a new direction, and a change in the terminology used in the disability field.
As a result of the work of The Arc and others, today there are laws that protect people with disabilities from discrimination and many programs that provide services. Still, change is needed. Lack of understanding, fear, lowered expectations, outdated attitudes and practices, and funding decisions are just some of the reasons that we must continue our work on behalf of people with disabilities."