The ADA Is Celebrating 25 Years

July 26, 2015 Marks the 25th Anniversary of the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ada25-logo-horiz-white-300The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) is celebrating the occasion with an event at Camden Yards on Sunday, July 26. The public is invited to join in marking this historic occasion through a celebration of the progress made in the past twenty-five years and a look to the future which includes full recognition, appreciation, and utilization of the diverse talents of all Marylanders.
The ADA was a landmark piece of legislation signed by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990.  It was an enormous advancement for the disability rights movement ensuring equal community access for those with disabilities to include employment, communication, and transportation usage.
MDOD’s celebration is meant to honor the true meaning of inclusion bringing local advocates, families, service providers, and elected officials together to mark the occasion.  The event is free and open to the public.  The celebration is fully accessible for all wishing to attend.  The festivities will consist of an outdoor Community Resource Fair open to all with no registration required.  The fair will feature many exciting highlights including:
  • Assistive technology demonstrations
  • Jazz music by local advocate and artist, Joana Weaver
  • Wheelchair fitness class with the Sunshine HELP group
  • Dance exhibition with the Step 2 It dance group
  • Adaptive lacrosse presentation
  • Selfie station and social media display
  • Picture opportunity with the ADA Legacy Bus
  • Kids Zone with face painting and sensory play
  • Cool refreshments provided by Kona Ice
  • Meet Gardenia, the service dog

Immediately following the Community Resource Fair, MDOD will host a reception in the Camden Yards Banquet Room.  The reception is free, but space is limited and registration is required.  For more information or to register go to

*Update:  Registration for the reception is closed, but you may register for the waiting list.


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New Officers and Board Members FY16

PlantzThe Arc of Howard County recently elected officers for FY16. We extend our congratulations to Columbia resident Dorothy Plantz, who was elected President of the Board. Dorothy is the Director of Admissions and Advising at Howard Community College. Other officers include William Erskine of Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law, who was elected Vice President; Pam Guzzone of the Goddard Space Flight Center, is Secretary; and Jane Padgett of M&T Bank, is Treasurer.

Directors elected for a three-year term include Alex Barnes of People Power and community advocates Sarah Hochbaum, Doreen Shing and Catherine Raggio, former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who donate their time and talent to The Arc of Howard County by serving on its Board.

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Cindy Parr Selected as New Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County

Cindy Parr selected to be Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County.
Cindy Parr selected to be Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County.

The Arc of Howard County has selected Cindy Parr, Executive Director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc., as its new Executive Director.

The Search Committee was unanimous in its recommendation of Cindy Parr, and the board concurred with the choice. The Search Committee was formed in February to identify and recommend a nominee to the Board as the next Executive Director. Committee members included non-profit and business professionals, board members and staff, a self-advocate and an executive director of another chapter of The Arc.

“Cindy brings a well-rounded background and passion for non-profit service to this role,” said Ed Wilson, President of The Arc of Howard County Board of Directors. “I have no doubt she will be an outstanding leader and an effective advocate for the I/DD community, as well as the positive face of The Arc of Howard County for years to come. We are excited for her to lead our organization into its next era,” he added.

Parr has 25 years of experience in operations management, personnel administration and communications. Since 2011, she has been leader of Carroll County’s community action agency serving at risk and low income residents. Previously, she worked as Director of Administrative Services for Carroll County Government. She has a B.S. degree in Mass Communications from Towson University.

“I am looking forward to working with The Arc’s dedicated and committed staff, and helping to enhance an already strong organization,” Parr said. Employment services and supportive housing are of special interest, she added, noting already established relationships with county and state officials will be helpful in future efforts on behalf of those programs.

Parr replaces long-time Executive Director Carol A. Beatty who left in late February to accept a position in Governor Larry Hogan’s cabinet as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities. She had served as The Arc’s leader since 1993.

Since Carol Beatty’s departure Susan Haynes has been serving as Acting Executive Director. She will return to her post as Associate Executive Director of Administration when Parr joins the The Arc in July.

We are excited to welcome Cindy Parr as Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County.


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Congratulations to the 2015 Celebration of Excellence Awards Recipients

The Arc of Howard County
2015 Celebration of Excellence Awards
May 13, 2015
The Gathering Place, Columbia

The Celebration of Excellence Awards is when we say “Thank You” to all those in the community who contribute to The Arc in ways that make a powerful impact on the lives of individuals we serve. Celebrating the self-advocates, businesses, professionals, educators, volunteers and other community members who help support The Arc in its mission of “achieving full community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Congratulations to the 2015 Celebration of Excellence Award Winners!

 2015 Self-Advocates of the Year:  Presented to people who have made significant progress in meeting their own goals in their personal or professional life.

Rose Daniello – in honor of her progress personally and professionally. This past year has been one of challenges and accomplishment for Rose.  She suffered the loss of her father after a long illness. In response, Rose and her sister, Edie, have become more independent and responsible, and Rose is now able to be home alone for the first time. She is involved in many activities such as swimming, basketball and attending dances.  Rose also has made great strides in a job she enjoys.  Working two days a week at Little Lighthouse Child Care, Rose takes pride in completing her tasks and enjoying her time reading to the children.

Rachel Kalatzis – in honor of her increased overall dependence.  Rachel is able to administer and chart her medications without staff assistance. Rachel has also improved her cooking skills, adding different seasonings to improve the flavor. She now schedules her own medical appointments and transportation. In addition, Rachel has learned to utilize her circle of support more effectively, consulting her staff with an issue or problem.

Doreen Shing – in honor of her growth as a self-advocate and spokesperson for others. Doreen is an optimistic, assertive and lively young woman. She is Vice President of People Power, The Arc’s self-advocacy group, and represented The Arc of Howard County at the annual convention. Doreen testified before the Maryland Legislature, calling for more funding for members of the disabled community, and looks forward to more opportunities for self-advocacy.

Scott Widitz – in honor of his personal growth and willingness to help othersScott has experienced accomplishments in many areas of his life.  He has moved out of his family home and in with housemates and staff.  He helps with grocery shopping and household chores, and enjoys an active social life, participating in bowling, Special Olympics, “No Boundaries” musical theatre and community dances. He will be going on a vacation this summer for the first time without his parents. In addition, Scott has worked for 16 years as an assembler at Omnicare, where he is a respected team member who goes out of his way to mentor individuals when they join the team.

2015 Excellence in Employment Award – Dana Shoubaji of Little Lighthouse Child Care
For providing a supportive environment for professional growth.  Dana has created a work environment of inclusion where people with disabilities are welcome and where they can grow into valuable employees given the time and support they need.  Dana overlooked a lack of experience in favor of accentuating the the positive and encouraging development on the job.

2015 Excellence in Employment Award – Omnicare Inc.
For living up to their care values of excellence, integrity, service and compassion. Omnicare has been using services provided The Arc of Howard County for over 16 years.  What distinguishes Omnicare as a workplace is the attention to breaking down jobs into tasks to match the skill levels and abilities of the employees with disabilities, who work alongside their more typical peers, and for including everyone in company events.

2015 Excellence in Community AwardCherise Petty, Howard County Public Schools academic Life Skills Special Educator
For her generosity and commitment.  Cherise has been facilitating a Women’s Relationship Group for young women supported by The Arc since 2006.  Cherise’s goal is to promote open discussions on relationship issues and concerns in a safe and candid environment, where young women can talk about choices that are often uncomfortable for them to talk about with their parents or guardians.  She has done this with warmth and dedication.

2015 Excellence in Community AwardCharles Heron, Friend and Supporter
For his kindness and open-heartedness.  Charlie started out as Robert Bussard’s Case Manager, and it developed into a great friendship that spans 21 years.  Charlie plays an important role in Robert’s life, helping him make budgeting and household decisions as well as organizing Robert’s annual vacation to Ocean City.  Most recently Charlie helped locate the cemetery where Robert’s parents and grandparents are buried, helping fulfill one of Robert’s dreams.

2015 Excellence in Community AwardSocialites Bowling League, with special thanks to Team Captain Robert Parcells.
For embodying the spirit of inclusion.This is a 15-team league that bowls every Tuesday night at Brunswick Columbia Lanes.  One of those teams includes two men with developmental disabilities, both enthusiastic bowlers.  The Socialites Bowling League has embraced these bowlers, encouraging them as they bowl and developing friendships that have brought great pleasure to many people.  The men are included in all league activities.

2015 Excellence in Professional Services Award – Russell Laurenzano, owner of the Knights Inn, Ocean City, MD.
For going above and beyond what we know as “customer service”.  Each summer Robert Bussard stays at the Knights Inn for his vacation. Russell is the man on the other end of Robert’s bus ride to Ocean City. He picks Robert up at the Greyhound Station, drives him to the hotel, manages his budget and daily spending allowance, and reminds Robert to take his medication on schedule. He makes sure Robert is safe until he drives him back to the bus station at the end of the vacation.

2015 Excellence in Professional Services Award – Brunswick Columbia Lanes
For providing services to individuals with disabilities with compassion and dignity.  Housemates Michael Morgan and William Reed were disappointed with they didn’t make it on the Special Olympics bowling team because they love to bowl.  Brunswick Columbia Lanes encouraged them to sign up to play on a team in a community league.  The joined the Gutter Bandits and bowl every Tuesday night.

2015 Excellence in Schools Award – Monica Pringle, Bus Area Manager for the Howard County Public School System’s Department of Pupil Transportation.
For her positive and collaborative approach to serving all students. Education for students with disabilities often goes beyond the doors of the schoolhouse.Monica is noted for her creativity in supporting students seeking learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Here whole-hearted commitment to Project SEARCH and its internship placements was expressed in her statement: “Why would we let transportation stand in the way of a student and a meaningful work experience.  We can work it out.”

2015 Excellence in Public Service Award – Brian Frazee, Director of Public Policy for the Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS).
For his dedication and hard work and the resulting funding and policy victories.  Brian has completed four legislative sessions working to strengthen agencies to better support people with developmental disabilities and their families in their own communities.  Last year, Brian’s passion, intellect, and commitment helped lead the effort to pass ground-breaking legislation that ensured that funding for direct support staff would keep pace with increases in the minimum wage.  During the most recent session, Brian worked tirelessly to ensure that the mandate passed in 2014 remained intact.

2015 Excellence in Public Service Award – Judy Grusso, Executive Director of the Howard County Autism Society.
For her collaborative leadership.  Under Judy’s leadership, the Autism Society has increased its partnerships with like organizations, most notably with The Arc of Howard County, allowing both organizations to more efficiently support and advocate for those with developmental disabilities in Howard County.  We are especially grateful for Judy’s involvement as a volunteer – she participates on both The Arc‘s Education Advisory Committee and The Arc’s Governmental Affairs Committee and is a leader in the Project SEARCH program.

 2015 Volunteer of the Year – Vince Grauso
Vince has been an active volunteer for over a dozen years, starting with a Knights of Columbus effort to build an extraordinary playground for The Arc’s respite care program.  He helped raise the funds, and then led the Knights in installing the equipment.  He went on to serve on the The Arc Board of Directors for eight years. He has served as Chair of the Monitoring and Advisory Committee since 2007, ensuring high quality services.

2015 Employee of the Year – Robert Kress
Bob has a great attitude and commitment to excellence.  He is Team Lead in the Day Program and has been with The Arc since March 2013. In addition to his responsibilities as Team Lead, he also helps out by attending IP meetings, communicating with families, reconciling the Day Program petty cash and assisting with vehicle inspections. His friendliness and willingness to jump in where help is needed makes him a great team player. Always striving for a better department, Bob has also been working with staff to solve problems together as issues arise. Says Bob about his work with the Day Program, “The philosophy of The Arc is something we should hold to. We’re here for the folks. I love them all.”

2015 Legacy Award & President’s Award – Carol Beatty, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities
Carol Beatty has been Howard County’s foremost leader in advancing the human rights and expanding the opportunities of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, she has been a catalyst for changes in government policy and practice with far-reaching consequences for those with developmental disabilities and for other often overlooked constituencies. By respecting the choices of people with developmental disabilities, she helped set a standard for any organizations seeking to empower its constituencies. As a visionary leader, she has directed ground-breaking programs and projects that have led to successful inclusion of people with disabilities in every aspect of community life.

Prior to being appointed by Governor Hogan to be Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities earlier this year, Carol was the Executive Director of The Arc of Howard County from 1993-2015.  She fully embraces The Arc’s mission of achieving full community life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her leadership and action have improved the lives of all Howard Countians.

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Building Community Together

Annual Appreciation Social Celebrates Our Volunteers

Volunteer Collage sm

The Arc of Howard County’s 2015 Volunteer Appreciation Social was held on Wednesday, April 22 to thank the many volunteers who give their time and talent to help us achieve our mission. With the theme of “Building Community Together ” we celebrated the diversity of community roles and activities in which our volunteers participate every day. These roles include leadership, committee work, teaching skills and hobbies, helping with events and just being a friend to the individuals we support. The event included remarks by Acting Executive Director Sue Haynes, Board Vice President Dorothy Plantz, and former Board Member Phil Swanson, who was the 2014 Volunteer of The Year.
Our volunteers help us provide meaningful services and supports and ensure that The Arc remains a viable and sustainable organization now and in the future.
A Few Volunteer Facts:
  • In 2014, volunteers gave over 3,000 hours in service to The Arc of Howard County!
  • Volunteers serve on 21 committees that help to oversee, advise, plan, execute and evaluate our operations and activities, including our fundraising events.
  • Four high school interns spent this past school year assisting and teaching with our Quality Assurance and Employment departments.
  • This was the first year to have interns from Howard County Public School System’s Applied Research Laboratory’s Cyber Academy. Austin Saah and Vernon Lawrence have been teaching computer skills to people in the Pre-Employment classroom and Day Services programs in our brand new computer lab! Adult volunteer Bill Anderson served as their mentor. Best wishes to Austin and Vernon as they graduate this year and attend college in the Fall.

Thank you to all of our Volunteers!

If you have a talent or skill you would like to share or are looking to get involved with The Arc as a volunteer, contact Lisa Kawata, Volunteer Coordinator, at


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Amazon Smile: You Shop. Amazon Gives.

Amazon Smile The Arc













Shop online using your AmazonSmile account and support The Arc of Howard County!

  • Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support The Arc of Howard County by starting your shopping at






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18th Annual Chocolate Ball Photos

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Carol Beatty Appointed Secretary of the Department of Disabilities

Congratulations to Executive Director Carol Beatty on Appointment by Governor Larry Hogan


Congratulations to Executive Director Carol Beatty for her selection by Governor Larry Hogan to be Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities. After 21 years of exemplary leadership, Carol will be leaving The Arc of Howard County to take on this role of increased scope and responsibility.

The Arc of Howard County is extremely proud of Carol and excited for her to take on this new opportunity. Carol will be an excellent ambassador for all people with disabilities, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

During Carol’s 21 year tenure as Executive Director, she built a strong organization. As a result, The Arc of Howard County has in place a strong management team. This team will ensure that The Arc continues to fulfill its role in the community at the level of compassion and excellence that the individuals supported by The Arc and its stakeholders have been accustomed to while the search for Carol’s replacement commences.

Carol will start her new position in early March. An Acting Director for The Arc of Howard County soon will be named and a Search Committee will be formed with the task of finding a new Executive Director.

Carol’s appointment reflects well on herself and on The Arc of Howard County. Everyone in The Arc family wishes her the utmost success in her new role.

Follow the link to read the Washington Post article on Carol’s appointment.

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Ins & Outs of IEPS


Date:  Monday October 27
Time:  6:30-8:30 p.m.
Location:  East Columbia Branch Library
6600 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 20145

Whether this is your first IEP or you are a veteran of the process, sometimes it’s good to get a fresh perspective. Come join Mary Hepple, an Educational Advocate with years of experience working in Howard County, as she discusses the elements of a good IEP. What makes a measurable goal?  How do I know if my child is making progress?  How can I be a more active member of the IEP team?  Come find out! 

Sponsored by the Howard County Public Schools, Family Support and Resource Center. Registration is not required, but much appreciated. Please call 410 313-7161 and leave a message with your name and phone number to register. You will not receive a return phone call.

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Patrick’s Raises $3,600 for The Arc

C&C collage














Patrick’s Hair Design’s first fundraiser, Cuts & Cocktails, to benefit The Arc of Howard County, raised $3,600. The Cuts & Cocktails event was held on Friday, August 22  at Patrick’s Hair Design and included special pricing on select services by Patrick’s stylists. Cocktails were also available for purchase.

We extend a huge thank you to Patrick’s owner, Jodie Gil, who is a former Arc board member, for organizing the event and opening up the salon in support of The Arc. Thank you to all of the stylists for donating their time and talent on behalf of The Arc. Thank you to Thank you to everyone who participated in the pampering and socializing. It was a fun and friendly gathering; everyone departed looking and feeling fabulous! We look forward to making this an annual event!

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