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Clients Thrive at ARC Human Services
By Nancy Kennedy

If one word could capture the essence of ARC Human Services, that word would have to be thrive. To thrive is to grow, flourish and bloom; when we thrive, we gain strength, make steady progress and find the success that we seek. At ARC Human Services, that describes both the agency and the clients that it serves. In an environment of respect, encouragement and inspiration, ARC Human Services is helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness fulfill their dreams, reach their potential and gain independence. In other words, to thrive.

Based in Washington, PA, ARC Human Services serves 450 individuals across eight western Pennsylvania counties. With an approach that emphasizes advocacy and respect, the 700-member staff helps them find meaningful work, develop relationships at home, at work and in the community, and find fulfillment, enjoyment and satisfaction in their lives. ARC Human Services clients have many options: they go to camp, attend sporting events, compete in sports, take classes, and participate in the arts. They volunteer, acquire work skills, learn homemaking skills in order to live independently and meet with community leaders to advocate for themselves.  They enjoy outings to the Aviary, the Zoo, Kennywood and many other sites.

The clients, says MaChal Forbes, Development coordinator, are an energetic and amazing group of people who meet whatever challenges confront them. “They have often been underestimated in their lives, but that does not happen here,” she says. “They inspire the staff. It’s very satisfying to work with these individuals.”
ARC provides a wide range of innovative services tailored to individual need:

  • Residential Services: This program provides a continuum of services, from 24 hour care community homes to independent living apartments. Placements are individualized to each person’s needs, abilities and preferences.
  • Specialized Services: Several programs provide innovative supports including Behavior and Individualized Supports that help those with intellectual and developmental disorders and mental health disorders. These programs address the trauma that many have experienced.
  • Employment Services: Community Employment, Student Transition and Vocational Training Programs encourage self-sufficiency and success in the workplace. These programs help individuals develop skills so that they can find employment, earn a living, contribute to the community, learn and gain self-esteem.
  • Self-Advocacy and Mentorship: This program provides resources and opportunities to help clients find their voices and advocate for themselves, and provides peer support to build skills such as problem solving, teamwork and decision making.

For more information, visit www.aadvantageinc.org

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