2021 Combined Federal Campaign: Richard’s Story

Donate to the 2021 Combined Federal Campaign!
Directory Code: 65144

Sixty years ago, in 1961, The Arc of Howard County was founded, established as a grassroots effort by families of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who believed there must be a better way. Sixty years ago, people with IDD were either “hidden away”, marginalized or institutionalized. For people with disabilities, their rights were nonexistent with little thought given to what their personal choice would be.

This is what it was like for one young man born with disabilities, over 60 years ago…Richard Lowry was born June 3, 1951. Feeling that she couldn’t care for her young son with disabilities, shortly after his birth Richard’s mother placed him in the care of Catholic Charities.

At the age of 2, Richard was placed in his first foster care family, but returned to Catholic Charities due to his foster parent’s inability to cope with the responsibility of caring for Richard’s medical “problems.” At the age of 6, Richard was again placed into a foster family, with a loving mother and father and two more children, giving Richard brothers to live and play with. Richard had a rich and full life, until tragedy struck. Richard’s foster Mom became ill and soon passed away. As Richard tells it, his father worked shift work and now felt that he could not “adequately care” for his foster son. It was the year 1960 and Richard was sent away to live at Benedictine School in Ridgely, MD. Being very bright with a love of learning, Richard enjoyed his time at school. Even though living at Benedictine meant being away from his foster family and sleeping in an open area with over 30 other young men, Richard states that he, “was very happy there and wanted to stay”. Unfortunately, after living at school for several years, Richard began having seizures and some behavioral issues and the school felt they could no longer keep him there. It was in the spring of 1966 that Richard saw his birth mother for the first time, in court, the day she signed the papers to commit him to Rosewood Asylum; he was only 14 years old.

Rosewood was established in 1888 as the Asylum and Training School for the Feeble-Minded. The original idea for Rosewood is that it would be a training center to “care for and educate all idiotic, imbecile and feeble-minded persons,” who would attend to learn a skill and leave the program at age 17. By 1961, the facility was renamed the Rosewood State Hospital and the people who were sent to Rosewood were sent without their consent and were placed there for life. Also by this time any training was
little or non-existent and the facility served as little more than a “warehouse” for people with disabilities. There were many rumors of abuse and neglect. Richard did not want to talk much about his time at Rosewood. He did say that he witnessed abuse and did not
like it there. Richard was one of the first people released in the year 1984, and the facility was permanently closed in June of 2009.

Richard began receiving services from The Arc of Howard County at the age of 32. Richard loved the freedom of making his own choices. Richard went from “eating a hamburger everyday” at Rosewood, to learning to choose and cook his own meals. He found a full-time job, he attended events in the community with friends and was one of the first people with a disability in Howard County to co-purchase his own home with
his roommate. Richard has received many awards for his advocacy to advance the rights of people with disabilities and currently serves on the Board of The Arc of Howard County.

Today at age 69, Richard receives residential supports from The Arc of Howard County and lives in the community with roommates and Arc staff, enjoying all that life has to offer. He has achieved a full and meaningful life – this is our mission!
Thank you for your continued support of The Arc of Howard County!

To donate to help Richard and many people like him, visit the Combined Federal Campaign CFC https://cfcgiving.opm.gov/welcome and enter Directory Code: 65144

Donate to the 2021 Combined Federal Campaign!
Directory Code: 65144


Letter to Arc Families from Executive Director, Cindy Parr: New COVID Policy and Procedures for The Arc of Howard County, 1/3/22

Mon, Jan 3, 2022 at 4:22 PM

Covid Communications to Families - Jan. 3 2022

2021 Legislative Town Hall: A Conversation About Employment Needs in the Disability Community


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)

National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Map of the United States

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM celebrates the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 12.6 percent. The Arc of Howard County has a program designed to help improve employment for people with disabilities. Our workforce development program helps people with intellectual & developmental disabilities reach their career goals.

The theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

NDEAM is held each October to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy. Browse our website for ideas and resources for employers, community organizations, state and local governments, advocacy groups and schools to participate in celebrating NDEAM through events and activities centered around the theme of “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.”


Congratulations to the 2021 Celebration of Excellence Award Winners!

Image shows the winners of the 2021 Celebration of Excellence Award

2021 Celebration of Excellence and 60th Year Celebration

The Arc of Howard County’s 2021 Celebration of Excellence was held virtually on May 12, 2021. Congratulations to all of our award winners for making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities!

  • Self-Advocate of the Year: Jeffrey Jones, Carlotta Martin, and Janice Martin
  • Excellence in Employment: Robert Walker, Natalie Dohner, and Vytex Windows
  • Excellence in Professional Services: ALFA Specialty Pharmacy
  • Excellence in Community: FEED HOWARD COUNTY
  • Excellence in Public Service: Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Eric Ebersole
  • Volunteer of the Year: Matt Hart and Sarah Wheedleton
  • The Amanda & Jill Dean Direct Support Professional Award: Annie Caldwell
  • President’s Award: Richard Dean
  • Employee of the Year: All of Arc of Howard County DSPs
  • COVID-19 Heroes of the Year: Deborah Wagner and Naomi Lyvers

Virtual Learning Campus: Partnership Between Humanim and The Arc of Howard County

Virtual Learning Campus-Partnership Between Humanim and The Arc of Howard County

Today we spotlight the Virtual Learning Campus – a program partnership between

Humanim and The Arc of Howard County focused on providing meaningful learning opportunities, engaging experiences, and social supports on a virtual platform for I/DD community members who are isolated at home.
Participants are given a safe outlet for self expression, as well as a variety of learning opportunities including classes, creative workshops, social events, and more. Past classes have included virtual cooking classes with City Seeds, Music Therapy, Movies, Games, Yoga, Dance Parties, DIY crafts with AR Workshop Annapolis, and virtual animal encounters with the Maryland Zoo.
Through this partnership, Humanim and The Arc have been able to increase the scope of services to meet the diverse interests and needs of individuals isolated at home, while creating greater access to virtual learning opportunities for the I/DD community.
The Virtual Learning Campus is available to all Humanim and Arc of Howard County clients.
Through this partnership, Humanim and The Arc have been able to increase the scope of services to meet the diverse interests and needs of individuals isolated at home, while creating greater access to virtual learning opportunities for the I/DD community. The Virtual Learning Campus is available to all Humanim and Arc of Howard County clients. View Virtual Learning Campus class calendar on the Humanim website.

I Can Do The Work Video Premiere #ICanDoTheWork #NDEAM

Project SEARCH of Howard County premiered the video, “I Can Do The Work” in October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. On October 23, 2019, the video was shown to an audience of honored guests, business leaders, and Project Search graduates and their families. The video, created using a grant from Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council and produced by Pam Long Photography, featured several Project SEARCH graduates at their job sites, including Howard County Government Central Fleet and Brookfield Christian School. You can watch the video on YouTube.

Project SEARCH of Howard County is a one-year internship for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and is in its 6th year in Howard County. All Project SEARCH of Howard County interns complete three, ten-week internships within different Howard County Government departments and now also within the Howard County Public School System. 
Natalie Dohner, Project SEARCH of Howard County Manager, asks Caroline (featured in the video) about her experience as a Project SEARCH of Howard County Class of 2018 Graduate.
A total of 60 interns have completed the Project SEARCH of Howard program since 2015. The employment rate after completing Project SEARCH is 65%. Project SEARCH Interns have been hired by several local businesses, including within the Howard County Government, Howard County Public School System, Verbal Beginnings, Thrive Center, PetSmart, Play N’ Learn, Einstein Bagels, Wegmans, Columbia Association, and more.

Natalie Dohner, Project SEARCH of Howard County Manager, asks Jim (featured in the video) about his experience as a Project SEARCH of Howard County Class of 2018 Graduate.

Project SEARCH Howard, which runs from September through June, helps interns work towards competitive employment. The interns are totally immersed in workplace settings, to facilitate the teaching and learning process through acquisition of job-related and marketable skills. Project Search of Howard County is a partnership between The Arc of Howard CountyHoward County GovernmentHoward County Public School SystemHoward County Autism Society, and Maryland DORS.


Community of Practice for Supporting Families Webinar Series

Maryland Department of Health logo

Join the Maryland Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) and the Maryland Community of Practice for Supporting Families for its Supporting Families Webinar Series on Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at noon.

This webinar series is facilitated by Mary Anne Kane-Breschi, both the parent of a young woman with multiple disabilities and the Director of Family Supports for the DDA. Utilizing the principles and tools of Charting the LifeCourse (CtLC) framework, Mary Anne, along with special guests and subject matter experts:

  • Mel Smith, Self-Advocate
  • Tracy Wright, People On The Go
  • Babette Smith, Parent and Owner of Intentional Support, LCC, and Support Broker
  • Gail Godwin, Executive Director of Shared Support Maryland, Inc.
  • Thelma Green, Project Action!
  • Samantha Davis
  • Joan Rumenap, Accessible Resources for Independence (ARI)
  • Amanda Frey

Families and individuals with disabilities will learn about person centered planning, what it is, its purpose, and their role in its development.

Click here to register.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) Celebration

Maryland Department of Health logo

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). 2020 marks the 75th observance of NDEAM, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This year’s NDEAM theme is: Increasing Access and Opportunity.

This year’s celebration will take place on: Friday, October 9, 2020, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Click here to register for this virtual event.


Coronavirus: Information & Updates October 1, 2020