Education – Restraint & Seclusion Briefing

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), TASH, and The Alliance to Prevent Restraint, Aversive Interventions and Seclusion (APRAIS), in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Education & Labor Taskforce, sponsored a congressional briefing on June 24 on the detrimental effects of restraint and seclusion in schools. Filmmaker Dan Habib shared an excerpt from his film, Restraint and Seclusion: Hear Our Stories.  Panelists described their personal experiences with restraint and seclusion and voiced their support for the Keeping All Students Safe Act (S.2036 / H.R. 1893), bills introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) to set minimum federal standards.  These bills would ensure that children in all states are given equal protection from dangerous practices and create a cultural shift toward preventive, positive intervention strategies.  This event kicked off a series of meetings with Congressional offices, in which The Arc is participating, in support of the bills.  To learn more and view the complete film, please visit Stop Hurting Kids.

(Info from Capital Insider Newsletter 6-30-14)

Autism – CARES Act Passed by House of Representatives, Action Pending in Senate

On June 24, the House passed a bill to reauthorize the Combating Autism Act – now renamed the Autism CARES Act (H.R.4631) – by voice vote. The bill was brought up on the suspension calendar, meaning no floor debates or amendments. The Senate bill (S.2449), was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee the next day.  It is expected to be considered by the full Senate in early July.  This legislation extends research, surveillance, public awareness, and professional training activities for an additional five years.  The Arc strongly supports the CARES Act. Learn more about these efforts at

(Info from capital Insider Newsletter 6-30-14)

Employment First and You – A Discussion for Self-Advocates

Employment First and You – A Discussion for Self-Advocates
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
4:00 – 6:00 PM

Center of Hope Foundation, 100 Foster Street, Southbridge, MA  01550

Guest Speaker
Susan Banks, Community Systems Director
Central/West Regional Office Department of Developmental Services

Employment First
Changes for Sheltered Workshop Employees
How These Changes Impact You

Community Business Connections Appreciation Breakfast

The Arc – Center of Hope Foundation, Inc. Southbridge, MA hosted a Community Business Connections (CBC) Appreciation Breakfast on May 20, 2014, at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, thanking its community business partners.  Our relationships with local and national companies have provided employment to individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  These have led to direct employment, sub-contract work at the agency’s NORESS Corporation and purchasing of services/products at the Center’s other 13 small businesses.

Informational tables of local business partners and networking opportunities kicked off the CBC Appreciation Breakfast, along with a video presentation created by Center of Hope Foundation employees Ben Doyen, Cindy Howard and Jennifer Williams.  This provided an overview of the agency and its Employment Supports program and the development of the agency’s small business model of integration.  Photographs of individuals working in agency businesses and in the community emphasized how work positively impacts one’s self-esteem and personal growth.

Self-advocate Erin Power shared how community employment has led to personal growth and expressed appreciation to both the agency and employers for the satisfaction she receives by working in the community.  Work opportunities, presented by agency small businesses and community businesses, have given Erin more independence, confidence and a sense of pride.

Testimonials from Fred Cormier of Angel Guard Products, Alix McNitt of South Central Mass Chamber of Commerce, Jeffery Ide of Henke – Sass, Wolf of America, Thermohauser Division and Kevin Keith of Fall Prevention articulated the Center of Hope Foundation’s reliability, high quality of work, flexibility and cost effective services.

The Arc – Center of Hope Foundation, Inc. would like to again recognize and thank the many businesses who have opened the doors of opportunity to people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  Your support helps agencies, such as ourselves, fulfill the mission of people with disabilities having a meaningful life, acceptance and inclusion within the community.