Ralph is about to celebrate his third anniversary at Otis Elevator Company. He stuffs envelopes to help the company with its monthly billing, and the job helps Ralph buy DVDs of his favorite TV shows and movies. Working gives the 45-year-old a sense of purpose.
The Wellington-area resident has been part of The Arc of Palm Beach County’s Adult Career Transition Program since 2008. The Arc staff take Ralph to and from his job at Otis Elevator and help him complete his time sheets and stay organized.
The career program is just one of the many services that The Arc of Palm Beach County has been providing for people with disabilities since 1958. The nonprofit’s ongoing dedication to creating connections and encouraging independence for people with disabilities led the United Way to name it a Community Champion. The honor was bestowed at the Simply the Best Awards ceremony in May.
The Arc’s wide array of services address the needs of all people with disabilities, from infants to senior citizens. Along with educational and recreational activities, the nonprofit also provides group housing and in-home or center-based respite care to help parents find balance as they care for their child. The United Way has funded many of these programs, allowing the nonprofit to serve more than 2,800 families each year.
“The United Way of Palm Beach County is grateful to be a partner in the incredible work that The Arc is doing in our community,” said Dr. Laurie George, president and CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County. “Like the United Way, their programs were created in direct response to the community’s need for basic services so that everyone can achieve their full potential. The Arc is a champion for individuals in our community with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and it was our honor to recognize them for the significant impact they are making.”
The Arc was also recognized this spring for its fiscal responsibility. In fact, Volunteer Florida and AmeriCorps founded the Financial Organization of the Year Award in honor of The Arc. Thanks to a grant from Volunteer Florida, 27 AmeriCorps workers were able to spend a year working at The Arc and learning about the nonprofit. As the AmeriCorps representatives gained experience, they noted the nonprofit’s efforts to document expenses, issue reimbursements and maintain overall financial excellence.
“This year, there was one organization that we felt was so deserving of recognition, we created the new Financial Organization of the Year Award,” said Tracie Lambright, senior financial analyst for Volunteer Florida. “They have become an exceptional role model for other organizations, and those who are struggling in this area should reach out to them for guidance.”
The Arc of Palm Beach County President and CEO Kimberly McCarten said her organization was honored by these awards.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized for our lifeworks,” McCarten said. “Receiving these awards from those who have entrusted us with their time and resources, reaffirms that our efforts are truly felt in every corner of our community.”
McCarten added that seeing the daily accomplishments of the people they serve keeps the nonprofit’s staff motivated. The impact they have made in Ralph’s life is evident — his smile is consistent no matter how many envelopes he has to stuff. For the staff at The Arc, there is no greater reward.
To learn more about how The Arc is helping to better the community and the future for people with disabilities, visit www.arcpbc.org.