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Health Meet off to a great start in Pittsfield with 24 self-advocates receiving health assessments yesterday night - thank you Berkshire Arc!      

Tomorrow The Arc Brockton hosts a day time session.  Still can use some more doctors, nurses and physicians to round out our volunteer team!  Go here to learn more.

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Congressman Jim McGovern reached out to constituents in South Worcester this week and to The Arc, Center of Hope Foundation.   

Cindy Howard and Linda Cournoyer talked to the Congressman McGovern about speaking at this year's legislative breakfast in their region.  The date will be announced soon.

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On Friday, March 22– Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary John

Polanowicz announced the appointment of Rosalie Edes as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Policy and Programs. He stated that, “Rosalie is a well-respected leader who brings more than 30 years of experience in health and human services to this position.”  The Arc is pleased with the decision and welcomes Assistant Secretary Edes to her new role.  


Edes began her career as a practicing counseling psychologist and then transitioned into public policy & program implementation work in the area of disabilities when her youngest son, Andrew, was born with Down Syndrome over 25 years ago. She has a passion for enhancing disability services for all people.  Since 2009, Edes has served as deputy assistant secretary, working with the statewide Autism Commission, development of the community based Medicaid waiver programs and advanced family support initiatives.


In commenting on her recent appointment, Rosalie stated: “I consider myself truly fortunate to have the opportunity to work in partnership with families and individuals with disabilities, advocates, providers and the Administration to advance the Governor’s Community First agenda and the development of a network of quality services and supports that is responsive to peoples’ needs.”  (Picture -Sheri McCann, Rosalie Edes and Kathy Wilson at ADDP Conference)


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Senator Warren visited members of the Disability Community hosted by ADDP in its Framingham offices.  Senator Karen Spilka, Reps. Tom Sannnicandro and Chris Walsh accompanied her.  She spent an hour with a mix of staff, self-advocates and family members.   The group was pleased to hear Sen. Warren state that she understood our concerns as someone who began her career as a special education teacher.  She also announced that her second committee assignment is the HELP committee- which handles health, education and labor and pensions, which is a key committee for The Arc and anyone concerned with disability issues. Sen. Ted Kennedy had served as chair of HELP.

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Great Legislative session yesterday honoring Sen. Spilka and Rep. Bradley.  See more photos on this page! Over 300 attended along with Gov. Patrick, Speaker DeLeo and Majority Leader Rosenberg.  Hosted by The Arc Mass and Mass Developmental Disabilities Council.

The Arc's Frank Sally, Sen. Rosenberg, Sen. Spilka, Sean Cusack.            

Sen. Spilka w/Frank Sally, Sen. Rosenberg and artist Sean Cusack; Photo 2- Rep. Bradley with Speaker DeLeo, Julie Fitzpatrick and Sean Cusack.

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Please join us for a reflective celebration of the life and career of Boston's Legendary Children's TV star and longtime Emerson faculty member.

Rex also was the first to include children with disabilities in his live audience. He was a trailblazer, bringing attention to disabilities through a 1961 wagon train which was covered daily by WBZ-TV.  Leo Sarkissian will be one of the speakers. It will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm. RSVP here.

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On February 1, the legislature closed co-sponsor registration for bills. Over 300 messages were sent directly from The Arc action center while others responded by telephoning their legislators or emailing directly.  Seven bills were highlighted during the week. The bills include better protections through the national background check, increasing self-direction of services through Real Lives (which closed out with 114 co-sponsors according to Rep. Tom Sannicandro), expanding access through two eligiblity bills (out of the autism commission) and two bills on Transition including Bridges and Passage to Independence.  See our present bills list here.

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The civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound effect on the growth of disability rights advocacy. 

Dr. King’s stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Despite progress for people with disabilities, we still face barriers to a good life in the community. We join with others in honoring his memory. Visit the King Center here.

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The Arc of Massachusetts expresses its sympathy to the family of Rex Trailer on his passing today. Rex was a strong advocate for children with disabilities. His TV show was the first in New England and possibly the nation, which included children with intellectual disabilities in his live audience while taping.   While Rex made the decision to include children with disabilities in the late 1950s and early 1960s, educators at all levels  were still keeping school doors closed to the same children. Read more here.
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Do you or your loved receive Medicare AND Medicaid benefits?  If so you should know all about the changes coming up in a few months.  Training for families, individuals or staff will take place at 5:30 pm on January 17 and February 7.  See locations here

More information regarding the change can be read here.

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