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White House to Host The Arc as part of the Community Leaders Briefing Series

WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, February 10th, the White House Office of Public Engagement will host 150 of The Arc’s leaders, members, advocates, and staff from across the country as part of the White House Community Leaders Briefing Series. The Arc is one of the largest national community-based organizations advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

The White House Community Leaders Briefing Series, a weekly program that began in the summer of 2011, is a unique opportunity for grassroots leaders to start a two-way dialogue with the White House about issues that are affecting their communities and to ensure that they are well-informed about government policies and programs and how they can use or maximize these resources.

“The Arc, as one of the largest organizations working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, brings a wealth of experience and insight to discuss today’s most important concerns facing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, said Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Jon Carson. “We’re looking forward to having them here at the White House to deepen our partnership, and to discuss the issues we care about most.”

To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live from 8:00 to 11:00 AM ET on Friday, February 10.

The following individuals will be participants at the Community Leaders Briefing tomorrow:

Matthew Grafton, Alabama
Matthew was born in Mobile, Alabama and currently resides in Jackson, where he is active in his community. He graduated from Jackson High School in 2005 and now has his own apartment with 24-hour live in staff who help him with household chores and other daily tasks. His support services are paid for by Medicaid and are what makes it possible for Matthew to live at home.

Matthew remains active with his local chapter of The Arc where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors, Human Rights Committee, and Quality Empowerment Committee. He has also been participating in “meet and greets” throughout Alabama, where he speaks publicly about his services and what they mean to him. During these events, Matthew has spoken to hundreds of people, including elected officials, about the importance of his services and how without them he would have to give up his independence.

Bruce Hulick and Joe Hulick, Pennsylvania
Bruce Hulick is the executive director of The Arc of Philadelphia, and his son Joe Hulick, 29, will join him in Washington. Joe has down syndrome and until recently, he worked at three different retail jobs. In these tough economic times, Joe was laid off from two of those jobs.

Bruce served in the Marine Corps and the Hulick family moved around a lot when Joe was growing up. The Hulicks usually lived off base and Joe went to public school. That meant having to start over each time to try to get the education services Joe needed. The Hulicks also started chapters of The Arc in places where they didn’t exist at the time, in South Carolina and in Orange County, California, so that there would be a network for families.

Van Winkle family, Ohio
Mary, Mark and Sarah Van Winkle are from Tallmadge, Ohio and are members of The Arc of Summit and Portage Counties. The Van Winkles moved from Pennsylvania in 2001, where Mark was the board president of a local chapter of The Arc. Currently, Mark is the board president of The Arc of Summit and Portage Counties. His daughter, Sarah, also serves on the board.

Sarah Van Winkle is 29 years old and has Noonan syndrome. She also is legally blind.

Sarah and her family started looking for employment for her when she was still in high school. She has worked at McDonald’s for the past 7 years, under 6 different managers, who all have been impressed with Sarah’s skills.

Sarah lives in an apartment complex and is supported three hours a day by an aide – paid for by Medicaid – who helps her with her shopping and cleaning. Sarah does her own laundry and cooking.

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