Arc of Shelby County announces growth and new Board of Directors

The Arc of Shelby County announced the newly elected 2015 Board of Directors and discussed growth during a Nov. 13 meeting. (Contributed)

The Arc of Shelby County announced the newly elected 2015 Board of Directors and discussed growth during a Nov. 13 meeting. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—The Arc of Shelby County announced continued growth and a newly elected Board of Directors during the organization’s annual meeting hosted at the Heardmont Senior Community Center on Nov. 13.

The Arc of Shelby County Board of Directors President Bruce Koppenhoefer announced the 2015 Board of Directors. Arnold Singer was chosen as president, Matt Greer was elected as vice-president, Laura Clark will fill the position of treasurer and Kathleen Adams will serve as secretary.

According to its mission statement, the Pelham-based Arc of Shelby County provides “programs and services that empower individuals with developmental disabilities and delays and their families” through all stages of life.

Several program coordinators discussed progress and accomplishments from the past year along with plans and goals for the future.

“The children’s program has grown leaps and bounds,” Early Intervention Program Coordinator Jeannine Lyons said, noting the program currently serves 157 children each month. “Children’s services has just really taken off.”

Through grant funding, the Arc of Shelby County plans to add an Autism diagnostic clinic to the services offered by the Early Intervention program in January 2015, Lyons said.

Heather Bell-Lawing, employment specialist coordinator, echoed Lyons’ remarks about growth, noting the Employment Services program works with approximately 130 individuals, compared to 27 five years ago. Bell-Lawing also praised the success of Project SEARCH, a transitional program to assist special needs adults in job placement following high school.

“(We have) 12 interns participating in the program at Shelby Baptist Medical Center,” Bell-Lawing said. “We’re super proud of that program. We’ve had great success with placing individuals after they complete that program.”

Community Living Specialist Arricka Gilliard highlighted additions to the program, such as the social React Group and a planned Parent Resource Series, that will allow the Arc of Shelby County to “make sure families have what they need in the community.”

“I think the expansion of all of the programs better serves Shelby County,” Arc of Shelby County Executive Director Karen Stokes said. “We’re really to the point where we feel that we’re providing the services that we need to be.”

Over the past year, the Arc of Shelby County has received recognition for the quality of its services. The Employment Services received international accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Services and the Early Intervention program “received a very high accreditation as well,” Stokes said.

“Quality is really our focus now, because that’s what we think people deserve,” Stokes said.