I CAME DOWN WITH MY PARENTS IN 1989 I BECAME A MEMBER OF THE ARC NATURE THE SAME YEAR THEY HELP PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ACHIEVE THIER GOAL IN LIFE THEY HELP THEM FIND JOBS AND MAKE MONEY THEY ARE NUMBER 1 IN MY BOOK THEY GIVE PEOPLE WITH DISABLILIES A CHANCE IN LIFE WE CAME A LONG WAY SINCE THOSE DAYS SO DON'T PUT US DOWN CAUSE WERE DIFFERENT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE GONNATHROUGH AS CHILDREN UNTIL THEY WALK IN OUR SHOES SO DON'T MAKE FUN OF US UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU SO GOD BLESS YA AND KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK YOU DO LOVE ELIZABETH THOMAS
I first became involved with The Arc Nature Coast in 1996 when I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a board member. I have a developmentally delayed sister-in-law and had been involved with an Arc in Connecticut so it was a comfortable fit. Once I became a board member, I became more familiar with the services offered and was amazed at the inclusionary vision of the executive director and the staff. Mark Barry, the executive found ways to develop job opportunities for the people served through the Arc. These opportunities are in local food stores, schools, an enclave at a local Wal-Mart distribution center and a custodial enclave which provides services for 130,000 square foot facility. In addition, those needing it are provided with living supports through in-home, companion and group home settings. They are comfortably immersed into the general population. As for the staff? From the executive director to the maintenance staff, all are totally dedicated to the customers served by the Arc. They are committed to the mission. Any disagreements are settled quickly and without any affect on the customers. It is heartwarming to see their love of the adults we serve and it is an honor to volunteer for such a humanitarian organization.