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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Arc of Ozarks serves local community

Friday, May 18, 2012

Services offered by Arc of the Ozarks were described by Julie Guillebeau, chief advancement officer, to the Monett Kiwanis Club at a recent club meeting.

Guillebeau said Arc of the Ozarks helps people with developmental disabilities live and work in the community.

"Given the opportunity, " Gillebeau said, "disabled clients are highly motivated and seldom miss work."

Arc employees help disabled clients function in jobs and to socialize. Arc serves approximately 800 people in 21 southwest Missouri counties, 200 of which live in Barry and Lawrence counties. There are 50,000 people with developmental disabilities in Missouri, Guillebeau said.

Approximately 1,000 people work for Arc to provide round-the-clock services. Arc oversees 16 group homes and 139 individualized supported living arrangements.

Services also include day programs, employment supports, therapeutic recreation, education, training and psychological services. This month Arc is opening its first home for the medically frail.

The day camp program, Guillebeau said, offers parents with an opportunity for respite while family members with disabilities have learning opportunities and learn social skills. Field trips, activities and guest speakers combine to provide a full experience.

Arc's goal is to help disabled clients develop the skills to work, secure a job, earn a paycheck, have a place to live, and learn to cook, clean and maintain one's home.

"We try to change the message of 'No, you can't do that,' to 'Do,'" Guillebeau said.

Each client has unique needs and requires a different approach, Guillebeau said. One hundred clients have dual diagnoses of physical and behavioral problems in addition to developmental disabilities. Most of the Arc's clients are over age 18. Younger subjects still live with their parents.

The latest innovation introduced by Arc is doing away with eight-member group homes. Guillebeau said the trend is having no more than four people living together. Since clients are living longer, one facility will accommodate six residents, with two swing beds for a registered nurse and an LPN.

Arc is also able to help clients starting a new home for themselves by warehouse shopping. Clients can tap into discounts available through the Arc's account.

Arc operates on state and federal funding. One third of the public support comes from donations and a little over half from grants. Ninety-three percent of spending goes to services for the clients, Guillebeau said.

Money raised in Monett stays in the community placed in a special fund managed by the Monett Community Foundation.

Guillebeau was introduced by Frank Washburn, program chairman. Kiwanis President Eric Kean presided at the meeting.

In club news, members will conduct a Peanut Day fundraising effort on Friday May 18. Proceeds go to charities for children supported by Kiwanis International.

Washburn announced plans for the club to conduct a plastic duck race fundraiser during Monett's second annual Strawberry Festival.

Last week club members toured Miracle Recreation Equipment in Monett and skipped lunch, donating their food money to charity work.

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