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

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.”

Changemaker Challenge: And the Winner Is? #ChangemakerHC

Interested in ideas that spark social change to make Howard County better? Attend the Changemaker Challenge on November 11! Hosted by the Horizon Foundation and United Way of Central Maryland, the Changemaker Challenge is an event focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing issues. Register here.

The Horizon Foundation and the United Way of Central Maryland will announce the winners of the 2019 Changemaker Challenge on November 11. The Arc of Howard County is one of 9 FINALISTS!

From a field of 56 applicants, The Arc of Howard County was chosen as a Finalist. The Arc and the other eight finalists, who all submitted big ideas for social change, will share their ideas for a chance to win up to $25,000! Liz Burrage and Bryan Sorrentino of The Arc of Howard County, and Colette Jackson, a parent of an individual supported by The Arc of Howard County, submitted a proposal for installing changing tables for adults in various locations in Howard County.