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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

Friends from Audacy join The Arc in dedicating Pine Hill Group Home and planting Live Oak Tree and Memorial in honor of Arc Benefactor Peter Haller

Pine Hill Group Home

Dedication Group

Representatives of The Arc of Alachua County were joined by our very good friends at corporate partner Audacy at the dedication of The Arc's newest group home, Pine Hill, and the planting of a Live Oak Tree in honor of Peter Haller, long-time benefactor of The Arc.

Arc Board President Cathy Costello, Arc CEO Mark A. Swain and SKY Radio Legend & Bob Rose Golf Scramble Namesake, Bob Rose, shared speaking roles at the event.

Pine Hill represents The Arc's 17th group home for the developmentally disabled in Gainesville and Alachua County.

The ceremony, which occurred on Friday, October 22nd, took place at the new Pine Hill Group Home location, 810 NW 109th Drive in Gainesville. After the dedication and tree planting ceremonies, guests were able to tour the home.

The Arc was excited to show off its newest residential creation for our loved our friends at Audacy, for our Arc board members and for our 'Friends of Arc' in attendance.

Andrea Haller, Arc Client and Sister to Peter, received assistance from The Arc's Director of Programs, Johnny Adams, in unveiling the bronze memorial to her brother.

The powerful and moving words inscribed on Peter Haller's Memorial which lies at the foot of the Live Oak Tree at the new Pine Hill Home are both a testament to Peter's life of sacrifice and The Arc's legacy of service. It reads:

"The Arc of Alachua County dedicates this tree in Loving Memory of Peter Haller - In Recognition of his Support of the Vulnerable, the At Risk and Those in Need"




Weekly COVID Testing & Return of the Day Program to Main Campus Highlight November

As we begin the month of November 2021, The Arc continues to conduct weekly COVID testing of all clients and employees each Monday. This testing will continue in an effort to ensure that The Arc's Day Program remains open and viable. 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 downturn in positive COVID-19 cases locally and at The Arc of Alachua County, and with the training of new leadership and staff to operate the Gone4Ever shredding team in light of the recent passing of Gone4Ever Supervisor Gerald Simmons, The Arc of Alachua County has begun regularly-scheduled shred pickups from our current, contracted G4E customers in Gainesville and Alachua County. All 40+ G4E customers now reside on a pickup calendar and have a specific day each month (or each quarter depending upon the frequency of pickup) upon which that organization's shredding will be picked up by our G4E shredding crew.

However, even though our Gone4Ever shredding crew is now active in the community picking up shredding from our contracted clients, The Arc's G4E shredding program still is not able to pick up shredding from residents or businesses in our community who do not currently have a contract with the Arc.

The Arc of Alachua County is pleased to announce that it is resuming its Wednesday shredding drop off at its main campus, across from Santa Fe College. Alachua County residents may, as of Wednesday, December 1, 2021, drop off their shredding from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at The Arc's main campus at 3303 NW 83rd St. The fee for shredding will be $0.32 per pound. Shredding for our friends in the community will be available only on Wednesdays each week from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Arc will no longer be offering 'Free Shred Wednesdays' on the First Wednesdays of the Month, however.

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.


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 - The Arc of Alachua County's Digital Fingerprinting, Screening & Photo Capture Service - has Resumed Services on a Limited, Appointment-Only Basis



LiveScan provides fingerprinting, screening and photo capture services by appointment only at our main campus, 3303 NW 83rd St. (across from Santa Fe College) every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

LiveScan appointments can be scheduled from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

LiveScan does not accept walk-ins at this time.

LiveScan keeps The Arc's main campus safe for staff and customers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We are only allowing one (1) LiveScan guest to wait in our lobby at a time. Each LiveScan guest will be greeted by The Arc receptionist. Upon entering the lobby, he or she will have his/her temperature taken. The LiveScan guest will then be seated in our front lobby until The Arc's LiveScan staff member escorts him/her into the building and to his/her appointment. LiveScan guests are asked to wear masks while in The Arc's building.

LiveScan fingerprints are done quickly, locally and reasonably, so please call Ferol Johnston at 352-334-4060 ext. 106 to schedule yours.

LiveScan information is easy to find, just click the LEARN MORE button below.

Learn More »

Celebrating Ability... Creating Opportunity


Mission

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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