Arc hosts picnic, unveils new tech center
Coaching center teaches life skills
The Arc Southern Maryland gathered for a picnic resembling a big annual family reunion Sept. 27 to bring together staff and consumers from all three Southern Maryland counties for the 26th year running. The following day, it showcased its newest feature: the Technology Coaching Center.
Held at Hallowing Point Park in Prince Frederick, The Arc staff and consumers enjoyed a picnic with karaoke, games, inflatables and, most of all, one another’s company. The Arc Southern Maryland creates opportunities for independence and success for people with different abilities in inclusive communities.
“It’s really good because you can see what’s going on and you can see people doing better,” said Terry Long, executive director, of the picnic. Long added that The Arc has grown to be so large now that having the annual picnic is a great way to connect with people.
Ron Mould, director of community supports, said he’s able to sit down and socialize with Arc consumers and find out more about their lives, including new jobs and housing situations.
Each year, the United Way partners with The Arc and volunteers help run the picnic. Usually, the event happens during United Way of Calvert County’s Day of Caring, but the weather wasn’t conducive this year and it was rescheduled. Still, employees from county government, Southern Maryland Electric Coop- erative and others were able to get a day off to volunteer for the picnic.
Sabrina Harbin works for Calvert County government and has volunteered at the picnic for two years now. Before working with the county, she was a fill-in receptionist at The Arc. Even though she didn’t work there very much, she’s impressed Arc consumers still remember her at the picnic.
“It’s a fun day in the sun,” she said of the picnic.
Tech center provides learning experiences
In partnership with Comcast, The Arc now has a technology center that provides training for its consumers on a variety of life skills. As a result of a $10,000 grant from Comcast this year, The Arc purchased eight computers and other equipment to equip its consumers with money management, résumés and other skills.
“It’s woven into the fab- ric of what we do,” said Brad Palazzo, director of external affairs for the beltway region of Comcast, regarding the Comcast grant. On a national level, Comcast partners with The Arc.
Michelle Hackett, public relations and marketing coordinator, said the center is used to teach Arc consumers how to use ATMs, write resumes, make a budget and track their spending, create their own blogs, search for jobs and handle money in a cash register, as well as typing skills, check writing and more.
“The grant from Comcast is what really brought this lab to life,” Hackett said. The lab, located in Prince Frederick, has extended to be a tri-county program and is one of the first Technology Coaching Centers in the country.
On Thursday, The Arc gathered with Comcast representatives to show how the center is being used. Consumers shared their blogs, résumés and more to the representatives.
“I think it’s amazing all the work you’ve done … you’ve taken it to the next level,” Palazzo said.
“Money skills is a big struggle we’ve seen,” said Tia Holland, vocational support professionalist, as Tia Mason assisted Katie Wood with a money skills program that was teaching her how to make a withdrawal from a savings account at an ATM.
“This has been such a big asset to The Arc,” Holland said.
Representatives from Comcast met with staff and consumers at The Arc Southern Maryland to learn how a $10,000 grant enabled The Arc to create a technology center to teach life skills.
Katie Large uses a typing skills program at The Arc’s Technology Coaching Center.