Our organization began with an ad in The Daily News announcing a gathering for area parents of children with mental retardation. The first parent meeting was held in 1957 at the YWCA in Batavia. This was the first time many of these parents had the opportunity speak candidly about family issues that were so entwined in their everyday lives. The support and encouragement to speak up and provide social and educational experiences similar to other children in the community became the passion of their mission.
This coalition of parents and friends of children with disabilities, determined to change society’s traditional disregard for the needs of their children joined a state association of parents. Genesee ARC, a chapter of NYSARC Inc., was founded by twelve dedicated parents and friends committed to improving the lives of children with developmental disabilities.
Since our founding members’ grassroots effort, programs and services for people with disabilities have grown at a dramatic rate. Consider the value of having the opportunities that we need in order to achieve our goals. Things that many people take for granted, such as having a job, an education, choices for recreation and being able to live on their own, are things for which those with disabilities often have to work very hard.
The mission of Genesee ARC is to help all individuals with disabilities achieve their fullest potential in whatever their dreams or aspirations may be for the future. We have been providing programs and services for people with disabilities and their families for 50 years in the Western New York area. Our programs, such as residential, employment, service coordination, family support and habilitation services have made an important impact in the lives of over 450 children and adults with disabilities this year alone.
“Genesee ARC exists to support people with disabilities in partnership with their families and the community. We embrace the individuals and nurture their social, spiritual, physical and emotional growth.” Our mission statement represents our organizational commitment to the provision of quality services for individuals with and without disabilities along with support from our community partners.
Our State Association
Genesee ARC is a Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., (www.nysarc.org) the largest not-for-profit agency in the nation serving people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. NYSARC stretches from Lake Erie, across the Finger Lakes, into the Adirondacks to the very end of Montauk Point. Its combined operating budget is over $1 billion. It has a presence in 61 of New York State's 62 counties. Through 55 chapters, we serve more than 61,000 individuals and their families daily in a range of community-based residential, day and educational programs.
NYSARC, Inc. not only provides services, but as a parent and family-led organization, is a powerful advocate. Local advocates work to provide services in our State's communities while NYSARC's State Office, located in suburban Albany, advocates with NYSARC, Inc. not only provides services, but as a parent and family-led organization, is a powerful advocate. Local advocates work to provide services in our State's communities while NYSARC's State Office, located in suburban Albany, advocates with the State Legislature, the Governor, key State agencies and with advocates in Washington for laws, rules and regulations to promote equal rights, dignity and full citizenship for the individuals we serve.
Self- Advocacy Group – Friends for the Future
We believe that no one knows better what it is like to have a disability than a person with a disability. We promote speaking up and acting on behalf of our own rights. The Friends for the Future Self- Advocacy group has a voice and an advocacy role at Genesee ARC.
The many activities include planning and attending social events, educating staff and volunteers at orientation and training days, promoting people first language and recommending ways the agency can be more accessible. The mission of Friends for the Future is to encourage personal responsibility and work to change negative images of people with disabilities.