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Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm

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The Arc of Monmouth: A One Stop Shop for Disability Services

The Arc of Monmouth is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “improve the lives of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. This is accomplished through advocacy services and supports, cooperation with community partners and community education.  The Arc of Monmouth also works to prevent the causes and effects of intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Director of Development at The Arc, Brett Colby, is in charge of all fundraising efforts put forth by the organization.

“There is a little bit of everything to do here. I get to work with a large staff, work with people with disabilities and I’m also in the community dealing with and interacting with the press, businesses and the community at large,” said Colby.

The major goal of The Arc financially is to increase fundraising. Colby said that the organizations government funding has not seen an increase in recent years while the cost of living has. Despite the difficulty of fundraising, however, Colby has a positive outlook on his job.

“It’s a very rewarding place, the fact that we can offer every service that someone would need in one place is exciting,” said Colby. “They don’t have to shop around.”

The Arc is not only in the constant process of fundraising for people with disabilities and their families, but they are also recovering from the damage to one of their sites during Hurricane Sandy. With their insurance unable to cover $100,000 worth of the damage, The Arc suffered a great financial loss in the storm.

The Arc of Monmouth offers health services, education services, employment opportunity and housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc also provides recreational activities. The organization supports over 1,400 people in the community.

The Achievement Zone is the name of the educational service at The Arc for post high school graduates with disabilities.

Student Emilia Bohniak, 22, is in her second year at The Arc. She attends class at The Arc two days a week and takes college courses through a program at Brookdale Community College called Keep Achieving (Kach).

The three year program allows young adults with disabilities to take college level courses and be guided by a mentor. The last year of the program focuses on finding employment opportunities for the students by placing them in volunteer sites.  Bohniak is in her first year at Brookdale. She said math is her favorite because she gets to learn about working with money.

Candace Layton, instructor for The Achievement Zone, said that students at The Arc learn work experience as well.

For example, students travel to other Arc locations selling bagels and snacks around the offices. “It’s called the wandering wagon. We do that for a lot of different reasons: of course the money issue, socialization, communication for those who maybe have a hard time communicating,” said Layton. “And it’s nice to get out and see the other programs.”

Layton said that they also have a peer mentorship program for people with disabilities over the age of 25. These people assist her in daily activities while learning leadership skills.

One of Bohniak’s favorite parts of being in the Achievement Zone is when they have a visitor who teaches them how to decorate cakes. Bohniak would like to work as a chef in a restaurant when she finishes her education.

The class is also participating in the production of a film on a grant for students with disabilities. The film will premier this January at a location to be announced.

Jessica Deigert, public relations major who is volunteering at The Arc of Monmouth said that she is excited to assist people with disabilities.

“I wanted to work for The Arc of Monmouth, because I feel inspired by those with disabilities. They always remind me that nothing can stop you from doing anything. Having a place that can help not only those with disabilities, but their family too, is really amazing. I love being able to help out,” said Deigert.

The employees are the reason Danielle Branco, public relations major wanted to volunteer at The Arc.

“I wanted to work with the Arc because what the workers do there is inspiring. Through providing services to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities get a great education and attain jobs, the Arc is essentially improving lives,”said Branco.

Colby said that the busy atmosphere of the office is what makes his job interesting. Having something to do all the time and learning new things is the most enjoyable part of the job for him. Most recently, Colby has been getting into the graphic design aspect of marketing.

Associate Executive Director, Kathy Mullery, has been working for The Arc for 30 years. Serving people with disabilities has always been a cause that she believed in. However, after working at the nonprofit for 14 years, she had a son who was born with a disability.

“Most people choose to work because they had a child and developed a passion for the work, but I had the passion for the work and then I had my child,” said Mullery.

Mullery hopes to continue to be able to support new and old families at The Arc. By providing these services, The Arc strives to empower people with disabilities and provide them a place in society.

Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu