2015 Press Releases

“Celebrating Relationships” – 25th Annual Legislative Breakfast

Legislators 2015 group pictureThe Arc – Center of Hope Foundation, Inc., Central Mass Providers and South Valley DDS Speakers 2015 group picCitizen Advisory Board presented “Celebrating Relationships” at the 25th Annual Legislative Breakfast held at the College of Holy Cross on Monday, June 29, 2015. Fifteen Legislators came to support and listen to the needs of people with disabilities in MA. Jim Howard, Exec. Director of the Center of Hope Foundation (CoHF) opened the program with a welcome and Awardees 2015 group picoverview. Linda Cournoyer, Member of the Board of Directors for the CoHF and parent of an adult with disabilities was the moderator for the agenda. Michael Moloney, CEO of HMEA, spoke of the current and future state of people and families with Autism, followed by Keynote Speaker Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. The Secretary allowed us to learn more about her connection to our field through her own work experiences and assured the audience of her commitment to work for people with disabilities during her time as Secretary. Catherine Boyle, President of Autism Housing Pathways expanded upon the disability housing crisis and how we can all begin thinkig about changing the future. Elin Howe, DDS Commissioner offered valuable insight from DDS’s point of view for services and programs across the state.






Awardees from top to bottom, left to right:
Justin Bernard – Nominated By: South Valley Citizen Advisory Board and Award Presentation By: Jim Dennison
Jeanne Clapper – Nominated By: HMEA and Award Presentation By: Donna Boucher
Ben Doyen – Nominated By: CoHF and Award Presentation By: Lisa & Kyle Brodeur
Barbara Reynolds – Nominated By: CoHF and Award Presentation By: Cindy Howard
Carol Humphrey (Not Shown) – Nominated By: CoHF and Award Presentation By: Cindy Howard
Mayor of Fitchburg, Lisa Wong – Nominated By: The Arc of Opportunity and Award Presentation By: Mary Heafy
John Smith – Nominated By: The Arc of Opportunity and Award Presentation By: Mary Heafy
Pati Hale – Nominated By: Marie Barse and Award Presentation By: Rachel Reyes
Norman Phillips – Nominated By: Linda Cournoyer and Award Presentation By: Linda Cournoyer
Tim and Lynn Bent – Nominated By: Linda Cournoyer and Award Presentation By: Linda Cournoyer
2 part: Linda Cournoyer – Nominated By: Bill Stock for the 1st Annual Linda Cournoyer Award for Excellence in Advocacy to be given to Nancy Moore – Nominated By: CoHF and Award Presentation By: JimHoward



All Aboard The Arc! Rocks Boston Common with Lauren Potter from “Glee”
By: Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of The Arc Massachusetts

May 18 – All Aboard The Arc! spread its message of disability acceptance and inclusion this past Saturday as nearly 1000 people descended on Boston Common!  Special Guest Lauren Potter, who plays Becky in the TV show “Glee,” shared her story of success as a young woman with a disability.  Best known for her role on the popular television show and an inspiration to all, Lauren Potter has proven herself a young woman of strength and of character.

All Aboard is hosted by chapters of The Arc, a non-profit which provides support and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Massachusetts.  In Massachusetts, The Arc has a statewide network of 18 chapters, which represent nearly 200,000 individuals with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The event also was headlined by the MAI rock ‘n roll band from the greater Brockton area.  Band members are individuals with and without disabilities.  The MAI band has been providing opportunities in music and art since its inception in 2009. MAI currently has 10 core group members who have performed in concerts for the past five years.

In talking about the event, Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, stated that the main goal was awareness:  “We are celebrating the gifts of person with disabilities, and we want everyone in Massachusetts to know that today they are making a difference, through their work, in their families, and in volunteering their time to various activities such as food pantries and community events.”

Susan Tran from Channel 7 WHDH kept the event on track as the emcee. She also helped get the word out about the event through Twitter and other social media.   The 2015 sponsors of the event include: Comcast Business Class, HMEA, YOTTA, Shepherd Financial, Disability Law Center, and Hilltop Child & Adult Services.

Joining with Lauren Potter and MAI was Victoria Dion, Miss Amazing Teen of Massachusetts.  My Own Voice, an inclusive choral group also performed, hosted by the Treble Chorus of New England.  Audience participation kicked in with Drums Alive led by Tracy Glynn.  Drumsticks were handed out to the many in attendance.  Tracy led participants to drum as they listened to music.

There is still time to contribute to the work of The Arc locally or statewide through All AboardTheArc.org

Community Works Award recipient Nancy Moore

On April 17, 2015 Nancy Moore was awarded the Community Works Award by the Central Region Citizen’s Advisory Board for her on going leadership in the Center of Hope Foundation’s programs and for servicing many individuals who “slip through the cracks”, changing their lives and making a positive impact.