Arc USA CEO Peter Berns Reminds Us Of The Power Of The Arc Movement And The Need For Its Continued Strength

Peter Berns

Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc of the USA, provided passionate remarks on the powerful impact the Arc Movement has had on American History and in promoting the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at The Arc of Alachua County's Annual Meeting & Recognition Event on Tuesday, October 12th at Hawkstone Country Club.

He also noted that this same Arc power will be needed in advocating for disabled people today, and in the future, if we are to prevent the erosion of these precious rights and freedoms for which we have so ferociously fought. Peter was the Keynote Speaker as The Arc celebrated its 55th year of missionary work in bringing exemplary services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The evening also marked the inaugural presentation of the 'Gerald Simmons Helping Spirit Award' presented posthumously to the recently departed Arc employee Gerald Simmons by Arc CEO Mark A. Swain to Gerald's daughters, Ashante Lewis and Myra Simmons. This award will henceforth be presented to an Arc employee at subsequent annual meetings who best demonstrates those on-the-job qualities formerly embodied by Gerald on a daily basis: caring, warmth, joy and helpfulness.

The Arc also announced a number of very special individual award winners for 2020-2021 including:

The event could not have happened without the support of our generous sponsors who made this fabulous evening possible:

  • Signe Erickson & The Emil Erickson Living Trust
  • Florida Food Service & The Islam Family
  • Tom & Joan Rothrock
  • Roy H. & Nancy J. McCormick
  • Assured Partners
  • Sharon Parker (in honor of her son, Eric Parker)
  • Naomi Williams
  • Ben & Bonnie Doerr
  • Todd & Jessica Baker
  • The Chini Family
  • Jim & Mary Freeman
  • David & Patricia Elchert
  • Renasant Bank
Annual Meeting

COVID-19 Alert from the Arc of Alachua County - Friday, September 3, 2021

Arc of Alachua County Plans to Resume COVID Testing & Reopen Day Program in Mid-September

The surge of positive COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant in our community beginning six weeks ago forced The Arc to close its Day Program on July 23rd. Since then, the Leadership of The Arc of Alachua County has been busy making plans for the reopening of its Day Program.

In order for the reopening of its Day Program to be successful and sustainable, The Arc has decided to resume COVID testing of all clients and employees. Beginning on Monday, October 4, 2021, this testing will occur on a weekly basis until such time as this community surge in Covid-19 cases passes.

The plan is to reopen The Arc's Day Program to residential clients on Monday, September 20th, with a limited number of group homes attending Day Program activities on particular days of the week, in a staggered fashion. This is The Arc's plan today. However, this is a fluid plan; one that can be altered as needed should there be a change in the nature or severity of the COVID-19 pandemic on our employees or clients.

We thank all Arc employees, clients, and families for your patience and cooperation as the Leadership Team continues to provide the best possible guidance during the pandemic.

A message from Arc President/CEO Mark A. Swain on the Pandemic

During this COVID-19 Pandemic, The Arc of Alachua County has as its top priority maintaining the health and safety of our clients, employees, families and friends. I know that it can be challenging and frustrating reconciling adherence to the proper mitigation strategies with communication with your loved ones. Please know that The Arc is working overtime keeping all members of our family safe and well during this difficult time. I pledge to you that we will get through this pandemic together as long as we stay united, and treat each other with dignity and respect.

The Arc of Florida announces appointment of Alan Abramowitz as Chief Executive Officer

The Arc of Florida is pleased to announce the appointment of Alan F. Abramowitz, Esq., as its Chief Executive Officer.

Abramowitz currently serves as the Executive Director of the Florida Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office representing more than 35,000 children per year and managing a network of more than 10,000 court appointed volunteers who represent children in child welfare cases. Abramowitz has served in this capacity for more than 10 years under Governors DeSantis, Scott and Crist. Prior to this, he held leadership positions at the Florida Departments of Children and Families and Juvenile Justice. In addition, Abramowitz served as a JAG officer in the Army Reserves and the National Guard, and was a Peace Corp volunteer.

According to Senator Aaron Bean, President Pro Tempore of the Florida Senate and Chair of the Health and Human ServicesAppropriations Subcommittee, “Alan is an excellent choice to be the new CEO of The Arc of Florida. He has the respect of people throughout government, including the Legislature. He also has the leadership skills and experience to lead The Arc in its mission. Most important is that he has the heart for the critical advocacy and service the organization provides for vulnerable Floridians.”

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Alan’s experience, skills, leadership qualities, passion, and commitment to excellence as our new CEO. He has the full support and confidence of The Arc’s Board as well as our many community stakeholders. We look forward to working with him as we face unprecedented challenges and seek new opportunities to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”  ~ Mark A. Swain, Board Chair of The Arc of Florida and long-time advocate for people with disabilities

Jim DeBeaugrine, former Executive Director of the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities and current interim CEO of the Arc of Florida said, “I believe The Arc of Florida hit a home run when it recruited Alan as CEO. I look forward to handing over the reins to him and to supporting him and the organization moving forward. As a family member whose life has been directly touched by The Arc, I am extremely happy that the organization will be in such good hands moving forward.”

Abramowitz added that he is “excited to join The Arc of Florida as its new CEO to support community-based organizations that advocate for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am committed to ensuring that every person and family we serve has access to information, advocacy, and opportunities to support full participation in the community. Inclusion, opportunity, and support are the foundation for each person to reach their full potential. I look forward to traveling around the state and listening to and learning from our community partners.”

Abramowitz holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Florida State University and a Masters of Public Administration degree from the University of Central Florida. He will begin in his new position on June 1.

The Arc of Florida for almost 70 years has been Florida’s preeminent grass roots advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. With 28 chapters across the state and private partners that are committed to the same mission, The Arc of Florida advocates to ensure that people with disabilities enjoy full inclusion in their communities and access to supports and services that make community living possible. In addition to its advocacy work, the organization manages a network of more than 300 dental providers who have made access to dental care possible for thousands of Floridians who would otherwise go unserved.

The Arc on The Air

Hear our latest radio spot featuring CEO/President Mark Swain.

Gone4ever Shredding

ATTENTION: Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases locally and the presence of the contagious Delta variant of COVID, the Leadership of The Arc of Alachua County has suspended all activities at our main campus across from Santa Fe College and its Day Program, including its Gone4Ever Shredding Program, until further notice. This action requires suspension of all shredding drop offs at our main campus on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. However, The Arc will be resuming a full schedule of shredding pickups from our current, contracted Gone4Ever (G4) customers beginning the week of Monday, August 30, 2021.

This service will only occur with customers with a current G4E contract with The Arc of Alachua County. Current G4E customers are asked to contact Dr. Mark A. Johnson at mjohnson@arcalachua.org or 352-246-3516 to schedule a pickup or to have our shred crew chief contact you to schedule a pickup. As always, The Arc's primary responsibility must remain to protect the health and safety of our clients and employees.

Should any of our current G4E clients or any of our shredding customers require further clarification, please contact Dr. Mark A. Johnson at: mjohnson@arcalachua.org or 352-246-3516.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Bright Sunshine, Cool Temps & Sizzling Golf Highlights 23rd Annual Bob Rose Golf Scramble

Friends of The Arc of Alachua County left thoughts of the COVID-19 pandemic far behind as 90 golfers, 30 sponsors, and more than 30 volunteers converged on Hawkstone (formerly Haile Plantation) Golf & Country Club on Friday, April 2nd for The 23rd Annual Bob Rose Golf Scramble benefitting The Arc of Alachua County and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Arc of Alachua County’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Bob Rose Golf Scramble proved to be quite the 'tonic' for golfers looking to hit the links and forget about COVID. The winning team of T.J. Brown, Matt Moore, Yacine Greg, and Daniel Hill shot a blistering round of 53. Radio celebrity Bob Rose once again lent his name to this year's event, and our premier sponsors, SKY Radio 97.3 FM and Infotech led our 30 sponsors and vendors in supporting The Arc's biggest fundraiser of the year (see the sponsor banner below to see the names of our other generous benefactors).

Just a couple of points worth mentioning: no one shot a Hole-In-One at the tricky par 3 hole No. 8 (so no one went home with a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle), and the winning bid on the 'Wheelbarrow of Heaven' (chock full of top shelf liquor and bottles of award-winning wines) was $900 (won by Arc board member Stephen Tanner). Arc Board President Cathy Costello and Arc President/CEO Mark A. Swain spoke at the end of the evening's festivities, as did Arc client Adele Elchert who thanked our golfers while celebrating her birthday.

Gear Up Florida Wheels Into Gainesville & Spins The Arc Into A Frenzy

The annual Gear Up Florida/Ability Experience Friendship Visit & Bike Rally at The Arc of Alachua County took place on Wednesday, May 26th.

The event was a smash and featured Santa Fe College police escort, Rep. Chuck Clemons, Arc Board President Cathy Costello, Arc President/CEO Mark A. Swain, and the 25 passionate, caring bikers of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, who represented colleges and universities throughout the US.

Arc clients love this event, as do our employees. The bikers enjoyed food from Dos Mamas, music and dancing from Mr. October DJ, relaxing swim and gym time at the gorgeous Gainesville Health & Fitness Center, and enjoyed dinner and sleep time at Trinity United Methodist Church.

The Arc especially thanks Gear Up Florida's Josh Ingram and Andrew Matznick, and its long-time community partners who make the Gear Up Florida/Ability Experience Friendship Visit such a fantastic event each and every year. See you in 2022!

LiveScan Is LIVE Again!

The Arc of Alachua County's digital fingerprinting, screening and photo capture service known as LiveScan is resuming services on a limited, appointment-only basis. Beginning on Wednesday, August 26th - and continuing each and every Wednesday following that date - The Arc's LiveScan service will resume our fingerprinting and screening services at The Arc's main campus (3303 NW 83rd St., across from Santa Fe College)..

To keep The Arc's main campus safe for LiveScan staff and customers amidst COVID-19, we are accepting appointments for this service on Wednesdays only. We do not allow walk-ins at this time.

We ask that LiveScan customers remain in their cars until their appointment time. At your appointment time, The Arc receptionist will then greet you at the front entrance, take your temperature, and escort you into the building. Guests that arrive with customers must remain in the vehicle and will not be allowed into the building. All customers must wear a mask to enter the building.

So if you need fingerprinting done quickly, locally, and reasonably, please call The Arc at 352-334-4060 ext. 106 to schedule an appointment.

For more information about The Arc's LiveScan service, click on the LEARN MORE button below.

Learn More »

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.

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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