The journey of life should be full of opportunity and joy for everyone in our community. Often, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families need extra help or guidance to make this possible. It is your generous support that enables The Arc of the Capital Area to serve these individuals and their families. Thank you for helping us to provide lives of joy and dignity to The Arc of the Capital Area’s participants.
Matthew’s story: The CLASS Program
Matthew’s got passions as big as Texas and would share them with everyone if only there were more hours in a day. Every minute of Matthew’s day reflects an individual with determination, and an unending pursuit to help others. His awareness of our country’s history and appreciation of those who have affected his life motivates Matthew to push past the barriers of his disability. Matthew’s family came to The Arc of the Capital Area in 2011 through community living and support services (CLASS). He has also found enrichment in The Arc of the Arts program, developing his social skills and self-confidence. Although he no longer participates in the studio program, Matthew has been known to show up at The Arc with arms full of pizza boxes to show his appreciation to all of those who have helped him gain independence. Between his work as Assistant Sergeant at Arms for the Capitol and at the Texas Rowing Center, it’s hard to imagine Matthew has much personal time to spare let alone giving back through volunteerism. Yet, Matthew also participates as a four-sport Special Olympics athlete, rows for Rowing for All UT’s team, volunteers at the Texas Forces Military Museum, takes informal classes at The University of Texas, and runs with the Red White and Blue running organization. With the help of his family and services from The Arc, Matthew’s life will continue to grow with the only limit of twenty-four hours in a day.
Celeste’s story: The Guardianship Program
Celeste’s smile belies the fact that she has faced multiple physical and developmental crises in her 18 years. She can’t walk or talk, and she requires 24-hour care, numerous medications, and a feeding tube. To meet Celeste and her family, you might not grasp the challenges they endure based on the smiles on their faces. Her mother and father worked diligently with The Arc of the Capital Area to become Celeste’s guardians. The guardianship transition can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking for families, especially those with limited resources and, like Celeste’s parents, with two other children and working full time. Fortunately, Celeste is surrounded by an incredible family and caregivers who offer a comprehensive support system. The court date was a very happy day for the Rangel family; sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles all rallied around Celeste. Now, the Rangel family can rest assured that they can continue to watch over Celeste and provide for her medical care.
Stephen’s story: The Arc of the Arts Studio & Gallery
With his charismatic personality and penchant for greeting everyone who enters our facility, Stephen has become The Arc of the Capital Area’s unofficial ambassador. He also has a challenging disability and when he first came to The Arc of the Capital Area, he was shy, withdrawn, and disinterested. As Stephen settled into a new environment surrounded by peers, his social skills improved and he became more outgoing. Now, his joyful personality helps him sell his work and he is an inspiration to his fellow artists. Stephen’s desire to market his work, develop financial literacy, and learn customer service skills was the inspiration for the professional artist track in The Arc of the Capital Area’s art program. The Arc of the Art’s Studio program promotes social inclusion and provides opportunities for adults with disabilities to develop self-esteem and to work ultimately toward making a personal income.
Maria and Azucena’s story: Best Single Source Plus (BSS+) and Crisis Assistance Program
Maria knows many of the common challenges that parents of children with special needs face. She adopted her daughter Azucena who, as a newborn, had survived a difficult birth and has since been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Maria also survived a life-threatening illness, and her family fell behind on bills, tuition, and rent as a result of her medical treatment. Her husband picked up extra work and Maria, a stay-at-home mom, began selling piñatas out of their home for extra money. Azucena’s family came to The Arc of the Capital Area for assistance with the Guardianship process and discovered that they were eligible for crisis assistance as well, which helped them pay their debts. Maria was embarrassed to ask for help but knows that as a family of a child with special needs, sometimes they must reach out. She has said, “Words cannot describe the gratitude I have in my heart for The Arc of the Capital Area. Without this help, I don’t know where my family would be.”