The Arc Appeal is an informational source published by The Arc Mid-South


The Arc Appeal Winter Edition

Message From the Executive Director

Reflecting on 2019 and a 20/20 Vision for the Future

As I reflect on 2019, I’m reminded of some extraordinary accomplishments made by staff, members, our residents, business leaders, and city officials who are dedicated to the continued success of our agency.  This month, as we close out the 2019 activities and look ahead to our 20/20 vision for the future, I see great success ahead for West Tennessee and the Arc Mid-South. Read more.



The Arc Appeal Summer 2019

Message From the Executive Director

It’s Back to School Time! We are a few days before the start of a new school year. Pencils, crayons, glue sticks and audiobooks. . . it's back to school time! For children with an IEP, preparation (or lack thereof) before school begins can make or break the entire year. Part of getting your child ready for school is also getting the school ready for your child. Here are a few top tips for making this transition as smooth as possible. Read more.

The Arc Appeal Spring 2019

Message From the Executive Director

We have many wonderful things happening in our agency, which now serves approximately 154 people in West Tennessee and surrounding counties. We hope this newsletter will become your source for stories and information on upcoming events. Read more.


The Arc Appeal Winter 2018

Message From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

We thrived the past year because of your dedication to our mission. As I reflect on 2018 this holiday season, I’m really grateful for your tremendous support. Thank you for making 2018 yet another remarkable year for The Arc Mid-South. Read more.

The Arc Appeal Summer 2018

Message From the Executive Director

It’s summer time, many people will be on vacation and relaxing.....but don’t drop the ball!! Your child’s education depends on you!

We have a responsibility to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, from pre-kindergarten to elementary and high school. Now that school is out for the summer, this is a good time for parents and caregivers to review their family member’s educational goals and progress during the last year. If you think your child hasn’t achieved certain milestones or that cognitive skills are lacking, an individualized education plan (IEP) might be the next step. Read more.

The Arc Appeal Spring 2018

Message From the Executive Director

Bullying and Harassment of Students with Disabilities

How do you handle bullying in the schools? Many parents have said this has become an alarming issue, so I have pulled resources about how to address bullying and where to go for help.

One parent has been in contact with The Arc Mid-South’s office about her interaction with her son’s school regarding physical aggression. I think you’ll agree with me that the outcome was disheartening -- the parent withdrew her son from the school and now fears that there is no safe place to educate him. Read more.


The Arc Appeal Winter 2017

Message From the Executive Director

Dear Friends and Families,
Happy holidays! You helped make this an extraordinary year and I’m so appreciative to have you in our “family.” Overall, 2017 was a year of terrific accomplishments – many of which were made possible be-cause of your generous support. Read more.


The Arc Appeal Fall 2017

Message From the Executive Director

Effects of Developmental Disabilities on Family Life and Poverty

As you read our newsletter, I hope you get a view of just how much our organization is doing every day for people with developmental disabilities. Many of their families are concerned about the future. They’re worried about the lack of housing alternatives for older adults, lack of recreational programs, the precarious government funding for respite care and the possibility of not being able to retire. Adults with developmental disabilities are living longer and participating more in the community. However, little is known about their day-to-day "lived" experiences and overall quality of life. Their parents are working longer because they can’t afford to live off Social Security and also support their loved ones with special needs. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Summer 2017

Message From the Executive Director

Hope and Help…

The Arc Mid-South supports, protects, and advocates on behalf of more than 5,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Over 500 individuals in West Tennessee received some service or support from us during the past year.

The Arc Mid-South is stronger than ever. We improve the quality of lives of our recipients while also educating the community about the importance of assisting the for-gotten. Currently, 658 individuals are being served by our programs. In the past year, The Arc Mid-South provided a week of summer camp for 26 individuals, monthly weekend retreats for 160 people, in-home Elder Care services to 24 senior citizens and 10,004 hours of vocational and basic skills training to 170 cli-ents. The Hershey Company, Sam’s Club, FedEx, UPS, and Home Depot are among those who have hired our students; more than 80 percent of those hired have held their jobs for more than the standard 95 days. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Spring 2017

Message From the Executive Director

Thank you for taking the time to browse through The Arc Mid-South’s newsletter and learn more about our many programs that support the children, adults and families affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc Mid-South has been a leader and innovator in such services since 1950. Our agency was begun as a parent advocacy group that served Shelby County children with special needs, and has grown over the years to include resources for early child-hood and special education, juvenile justice services and services to the Aging population. Our approach to our work has changed as the community’s needs have changed.

The Arc Mid-South’s latest “first” is its new partnership with the U.S. Navy through which up to 40 hours of respite care are provided per month to Navy families who have an Exceptional Family Member (EFM) EFM Respite Care gives parents a break so they can attend appointments or get some much-needed rest without having to worry about their child’s well-being. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Winter 2016

Message From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

On behalf of The Arc Mid-South family — board and staff — we would like to wish you our best for a happy and healthy holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

As the year comes to a close, we would like to thank you for partnering with us over the years.  It is because of your generous support that The Arc Mid-South has continued to provide important services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Fall 2016

Message From the Executive Director


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month: A quarter century ago, our country took a major step toward fulfilling the fundamental American promises of equal access, equal opportunity, and equal respect for all when the Americans with Disabilities Act was made the law of the land. While we have continued to make advancements that help uphold this basic belief, we must address the injustices that remain. During NDEAM, we celebrate the ways that individuals with disabilities strengthen our workforce, communities and country, and we recommit to cultivating an America where all people are able to build vibrant futures for themselves and their families. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Summer 2016

Message From the Executive Director

Speaking up for our children!

“It’s about changing the culture; it’s about changing beliefs”

Despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act almost 26 years ago, students with disabilities are still punished at disproportionate rates. On July 26, 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act to give people with disabilities equal access to services like public education. But the rate at which special-needs students are disciplined raises questions about how equal that access truly is. In public schools today, children with disabilities are far more likely than their classmates to be disciplined, removed from the classroom, suspended, and even expelled. Read More.

The Arc Appeal Spring 2016

Message From the Executive Director

Dear Members,

MARCH is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Governor Bill Haslam issued a proclamation declaring March 2016 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, “a time to recognize and celebrate the gifts, talents and contributions that people with developmental disabilities and their families offer Tennessee communities, and also a time to be aware of the work left to be done to ensure that all Tennesseans with developmental disabilities enjoy the same opportunities to access education, employment and connections within their communities as citizens without disabilities." Read More.


The Arc Appeal Winter 2015

Message From the Executive Director

2015- The Arc Mid-South Milestone!!!

Happy Holidays! 

This year was a milestone for us – we celebrated our 65th anniversary starting with an ADA parade and events honoring The Arc Mid-South tremendous achievements throughout the years. We recently concluded with our Annual Awards and Benefit Gala in celebration of our 65th Anniversary.  From Family Support, Respite Care, supportive employment and Education and Advocacy to independent employment and Community Day Services, The Arc Mid-South is always on the cutting edge of providing innovative and effective programs and services to more than 2,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Read More.

The Arc Appeal Fall 2015

Message From the Executive Director

Celebrating 65 years!

Another Milestone for The Arc Mid-South - Celebrating 65 Years! We have come this far by faith; we have come through budget cuts and funding downfalls. Over 65 years, the agency continues to advocate and educate on behalf of all children in our local and private school systems. During my tenure as Executive Director at The Arc, the organization has remained resilient- regardless of constant decreases in funding, budget threats and budget cuts. This nonprofit organization provides services to people ranging from children to seniors who have varying levels of disabilities. As in 1950, The Arc is proud to continue with our mission of “empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential”. Read More.

The Arc Appeal Summer 2015

Message From the Executive Director

Plan to Plan

Many families look forward to spending the summer months with both relatives and friends. To guarantee all concerned are pleasantly anticipating future events, plans were likely conceived and developed according to individual interest and needs. The planner had to financially consider the cost of every aspect, such as transportation, health care/safety, lodging, food and entertainment. Of course, every good set of plans factors the ‘what ifs’ so that any alternative activities will also meet the interests and needs of those involved. Good planning takes into consideration the fact that ‘time and unforeseen circumstances befall us all’. Are you ready with a plan? Read More.

The Arc Appeal Spring 2015

Message From the Executive Director

March Is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Progresses and Obstacles

The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties laid the foundation for significant social change. The 1987 presidential proclamation-announced by Ronald Reagan- that March would be recognized as “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” called upon all Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with developmental disabilities to reach their potential. Read More.


The Arc Appeal Winter 2014

Message From the Executive Director

Happy Holidays to all our members, partners, sponsors, volunteers and, of course, our self-advocates. 

With your help, our 2014 theme - “Creating Independence….Supporting Literacy”- became reality for several of our clients. We are celebrating larger numbers of clients who joined the work force and an increasing number of clients who have become self-advocates. We also had the distinction of having our first graduate in the “L.E.T.S” (Life, Education, and Training Skills’) program to receive a regular high school diploma and are grooming several others to do the same. There is nothing like witnessing a client’s excitement as their dream comes to fruition - achievements so many of us take for granted. So, 2014 was a year of opportunity and energy and empowerment, but now we must turn the page. It’s 2015 and we are Building lives, Improving Communities, Read More.

The Arc Appeal Summer 2014

Engaging Communities…Enhancing Lives

Carlene Leaper, Executive Director of The Arc Mid-South

Throughout its 64-year history, The Arc Mid-South has worked toward its mission: “To empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential.”

From the beginning, The Arc understood that for people to live enhanced lives, they needed to be included in society. Therefore, The Arc’s history is one of ever-increasing community engagement; Engaging communities to enhance lives marks the progress of The Arc Mid-South’s past and points the way toward its future. Read More.

The Arc Appeal Spring 2014

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Message From the Executive Director

March 1st marked the start of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. To celebrate this month, The Arc Mid-South will join other chapters of The Arc, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and friends in raising awareness
on March 29th . Read More....


The Arc Appeal Winter 2013

The First Three Years

Carlene Leaper, Executive Director of The Arc Mid-South

Research has consistently shown that the first three years of a child’s development remains the most important indicator of future success. Positive early experiences are essential prerequisites for success, whether success can be found inside the classroom, in the workplace, or within the community.  Unfortunately, it is between the ages of 0 to 3 when intervention is sometimes needed for infants and toddlers who are showing various developmental delays. Identifying the need for intervention at this age when the developing brain is most capable of change is imperative for both infants and toddlers. Read More...

The Arc Appeal Summer 2013

A Message from the Executive Director, Carlene Leaper

Imagine A Good Life…..

In the 1950’s, if you were part of a family who had a child with a developmental disability, services did not exist. At this time, the medical community frequently suggested institutionalization for a child with this kind of disability; this, unfortunately, was the decision for many families. However, for the families who chose to keep their children within their homes, it was soon discovered that supporting each other was of the utmost importance.  The family partnerships that were soon developed ultimately became the foundation for the agency we now celebrate.   Read More...

The Arc Appeal Spring 2013

A Message from the Executive Director, Carlene Leaper

Life After High School

Life after high school means transitioning into adulthood and finding one's own path to independent living. This almost always necessitates certification from some type of institution offering continuing education. Even if the choice is to immediately enter the workplace, no exceptions are typically made, even for those students with “exceptionalities”. Read More...




















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