It Was A Dark And Stormy Gear Up Florida!

Gear Up Florida

Forty stalwart bikers, representing over 30 colleges and universities in America and internationally, as well as Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, braved stormy weather, torrential downpours, and rolling thunder, to visit The Arc on May 24, 2017, for the annual Gainesville stop of the Gear Up Florida/Ability Experience bike tour of Florida.

More than 350 Arc clients, staff and friends cheered the bikers as they arrived in their three support vans at 11 am on May 24th with big hearts, broad smiles and generous spirits. Each year, Gear Up Florida pulls together over 40 members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity to bike 850 miles from Miami to Tallahassee to raise money and awareness for developmental disabilities. Among 14 stops along the arduous 850-mile trek, bikers have stopped at their favorite rest stop - Gainesville and The Arc of Alachua County - for nearly 15 years to enjoy a BBQ lunch, a DJ-led dance, photo ops with local media (we had 6 local media outlets there last month), and an autograph session with Arc clients. The event ends with a group photo in front of The Arc sign on NW 83rd St (but due to the rain we had to improvise and shoot the group photo in the Orange Lake Room). John & Sheila Spence, the generous underwriters of this event every year, manage to get the bikers to Gainesville Health & Fitness Center for swimming, sauna, massage, and relaxation in the afternoon. The Spence's end the bikers' visit with a huge dinner at their gorgeous Newberry Home that evening where they get a chance to prep for their ride the next day to Tally, and watch themselves on local TV news.

The Arc thanks the bikers, John & Sheila Spence, Chelsea Ball of Ability Experience, Michael Davis (Mr. October DJ), Terra LeFleur (Dos Mamas Catering), and, of course, the clients and staff of The Arc of Alachua County. We all agree with Tim Schlachter, Florida Project Manager and University of Toledo student, who stated: "It's given me perspective just to see the struggles that a lot of people go through". The Arc does not let anything stop it from persevering -- we rock!

2017 Bob Rose Golf Scramble Thanks Its Sponsors For Another Sold Out Tournament!

The Bob Rose Golf Scramble

The Arc of Alachua County thanks its many sponsors, donors, vendors, friends, and community partners who made the 2017 Bob Rose Golf Scramble a huge success! Because of the generosity of all of the 'Friends of Arc' listed below, The Arc was able to raise more money (North of $50,000!) this year for folks with intellectual and developmental disabilities than in any previous year.

We congratulate the winning foursome of Patrick Jenkins, Chris Bell, Stephen Tanner, and Sean McNeill, who negotiated the beautiful Haile layout in a Bob Rose Golf Scramble record-breaking score of 52. We also thank Gainesville Harley-Davidson (in its 24th year of service to Gainesville & North Central Florida) for once again offering up a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle for anyone who could sink a hole-in-one on No. 8 (alas, no one could).

Of course, we would be remiss if we did not thank SKY Radio 97.3 FM & Bob Rose for once again lending their name and presenting sponsorship to the event, along with our other major sponsors: InfoTech, Integro Benefits, Florida Farm Bureau, Willis Towers Watson, and James Moore - Certified Public Accountants. A special thanks to our first time sponsors as well: SunLife Financial, Zinnia Wealth Management, Wing House of Gainesville, and Oak Hammock at the University of Florida. We hope you all will join us next year at Haile for the Bob Rose Golf Scramble (I think it'll be on Friday, April 20, 2018). On behalf of The Arc of Alachua County, its clients, staff, board members, and its mission -- 'THANKS!'

Please thank these businesses and individuals for their support of The Arc & the 2017 Bob Rose Golf Scramble:

Arc of Alachua County Introduces New Executive Director, Mark Swain

The Arc of Alachua County is pleased to welcome aboard its new Executive Director, Mr. Mark Swain. Mark joins The Arc from The Arc of Sunrise in Leesburg, Florida where he was President & CEO since July 2008.

The Arc Executive Direct, Mark Swain

Mark received his undergraduate training at Eastern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology, with a Minor in Economics. He continued his education in the Behavior Analysis Doctoral Program at the University of Nevada-Reno where he is currently all-but-dissertation. Mark has a keen interest in organizational psychology and in organizational improvement, a task he describes as “…unending.” Mark Swain has also served as an instructor of undergraduate and graduate courses at two different universities, was elected to the Executive Council for The Association for Behavioral Analysis International, has published numerous scholarly papers on behavioral analysis, presented multiple trainings and lectures at national conferences, and has recently completed state-wide trainings for The Arc of Florida. Mark clearly lives what he often states: “I love The Arc!”

Mark has held many professional positions including college instructor, Director of Trinity West, State of Nevada MH/DS, consultant to agencies working with people with intellectual and developmental (I/DD disabilities), and President & CEO of The Arc Sunrise of Central Florida. Mark has placed his entire professional focus on ‘service’ to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As he stated when accepting the Arc of Alachua County Executive Director position: “We owe it to the people we serve to make the biggest impact we can. We have one job – to serve others.”

The entire Arc of Alachua County Family extends a hearty welcome to its new leader! We are so glad you are here!

The Arc of Alachua County in Words & Music:

‘Celebrating Ability – Creating Opportunity’

The Arc Singers

You may not know it yet, but The Arc of Alachua County has its own audio brand, or jingle. The Arc jingle debuted at Arc Gala III and was sung by none other than our own Arc Drama Troupe under the direction of Arc staffers Travis Couillette and Karen Madden.

Emphasizing The Arc’s creed of ‘Celebrating Ability & Creating Opportunity,’ our more theatrically-inclined clients brought audience members to their feet at the Gala with the jingle that truly epitomizes our desire to see all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities become fully integrated into our community.

We hope that our jingle ‘rings true’ with the folks in the community and becomes associated with our mission, our clients, and our brand. Together, all of us are helping to ‘Celebrate Ability & Create Opportunity’ for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Celebrating Ability... Creating Opportunity


The Arc of Alachua County is a community based organization committed to providing a continuum of exemplary services, supports, and advocacy to assure that people with developmental disabilities can enjoy respect and dignity and be full participants in the community.

Who Is The Arc?

The Arc of Alachua County is a community based organization committed to providing a continuum of exemplary services, supports, and advocacy to assure that people with developmental disabilities can enjoy respect and dignity and be full participants in the community.

Who Is The Arc

The Arc has a rich history spanning 60 years and marked by accomplishment. We continue to carry out the mission and vision of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their parents and siblings.

Over the last 60 years, The Arc has grown and adapted to the changes that people with disabilities face across their life span. Through the decades, The Arc has seen several name changes, advocated for the passage of state and federal legislation on behalf of people with disabilities and established a broad network of state and local chapters that range from small voluntary groups to large, professional organizations.

Although much has changed for those that we serve, we always try to raise awareness, supporters, and always help improve the lives of the intellectually and developmentally disabled.

We Recycle!

Did you know that The Arc recycles. We recycle almost anything you can think to recycle. We recycle paper, glass, aluminum and even electronics and "e-Waste".

Due to the overwhelming demand for free Gone4Ever shredding services on Wednesdays, The Arc will limit free shred Wednesday to the FIRST WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH and limit each household to one banker’s box, or roughly 27 lbs. of paper, per free shred Wednesday, per month. Free Shred Day is open to all area residents to bring in the documents they would like securely destroyed for FREE. Businesses only pay $0.19 per pound as well.

Paper Shredding in Gainesville - We may recycle it, but for you it is securely Gone 4 Ever!

Take A Look At Us

I am sure it is no surprise to you, but people always want to know what we have been up to around The Arc and at our events. Our followers on facebook get to see quite a few or our pictures, but the rest of you are left in the dark.

Well even though everyone should be our fans on facebook, we still decided to put up a gallery of images to show some of the highlights from the major events we have had this year.

Every year we hold several events we consider picture worthy. But dont worry, you will probably see some other, "non event" pictures sneak in as well. If you have a good picture you would like to share, stop by The Arc and let us scan it and share it as well.

We hope to keep the new gallery up to date throughout the year, so check back and enjoy.

See Photo Gallery »

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