Friday, June 5, 2015

June 10 Arc Family Forum to Address Workshop Closure

In response to the state's decision to close sheltered workshops for New Yorkers with intellectual and other developmental disabilities beginning in 2020, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming will hold its third annual Family Forum at 6:30pm Wednesday, June 10 at Hilltop Industries, 3 East State Street in Mount Morris.  The event is open to the public.

"Will the Hilltop workshop close?  Where will my loved one work?  What new services are being offered?  How can I help?  These are the questions on our community's mind that will be our focus on June 10," says Kellie Kennedy, Director of Day Services for The Arc.  "Our advocacy along with the advocacy of groups across the state is starting to make progress with getting state officials to re-think their strategy, but we need to keep up the pressure."

Through its Hilltop Industries program, The Arc provides about 220 workshop-based jobs for individuals with disabilities.  About 100 additional people work elsewhere in the community, at independent work sites coordinated through Hilltop.  Many of those receiving services maintain that workshop closure would take away a secure, gainful work option that is often preferred by Hilltop participants.

"My disability is unique to me; I struggle each and every day of my life," says Hilltop worker Keith Conklin.  "Work gives me a sense of accomplishment.  I need to choose for myself where I want to work, I need to choose for myself what I want to do, and I need to choose for myself who I want to work with.  I know what is best for me."

Reservations are not required for the Family Forum.  Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, based on standing-room-only attendance at previous Forums.  Doors will open at 6:10pm.  Contact Kellie Kennedy at 585-658-3311 ext. 203 or with questions or suggestions.

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