The Arc of New Mexico, established by families in 1955, promotes and protects the human rights of individuals with disabilities and their families. This purpose of this article is to highlight examples of how The Arc works everyday on behalf on individuals and family members:
Public Policy: During the 2016 New Mexico Legislative Session The Arc successfully worked with state legislators and other disability advocacy groups to establish tax-free savings accounts for persons with disabilities. The accounts will allow individuals to accumulate savings of up to $100,000 while still remaining eligible for public benefits such as SSI (which currently has a resource limit of just $2,000), and use those savings for disability-related purposes such as home modifications, education, transportation and job training.
Financial: Tim is an individual who needs assistance paying bills with his Social Security check. He was having problems with his previous Rep Payee not paying his bills and who felt that the agency “did not care about him as a person.” Tim was behind on his house taxes owing several years’ worth totaling thousands of dollars. Tim switched to The Arc of New Mexico Rep Payee program in December 2014 and was placed on a budget. He now feels that he has better control of his money. Tim has not only caught up his taxes on his home, he has saved money, gone on a weeklong trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and bought a new washer and dryer. Tim say’s “The Arc of New Mexico Rep Payee program is WONDERFUL!”
Leadership Training and Mentorship: Alice, Sergio and Vanessa are individuals with disabilities who served as mentors to special education students from the Gadsden School district in southern Dona Ana County. The students met once per week with the mentors to learn about issues, learn how to advocate for themselves and to practice public speaking skills. In May the students attended a one-day disability leadership conference at the Dona Ana Community College East Mesa Campus in Las Cruces. For most of the students it was their first visit to a postsecondary setting, for the mentors it was another opportunity to stand and speak in front of an audience. At the end of the program the students were recognized with a certificate.
Advocacy: The Arc responds to requests for information, assistance and support from individuals and families throughout the state. Earlier this year we received a request for information and support from a mom in a Silver City. After receiving our response she sent an email saying, “Thank you so much! You are the only person who has returned an email, call, or letter. We are deeply grateful.”
In everything that we do The Arc believes all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are 1) Defined by their own strengths, abilities and inherent value, not by their disability, 2) entitled to equality, safety, and security accorded to other members of society, and is equal before the law, and 3) belong in the community and have fundamental moral, civil and constitutional rights to be fully included and actively participate in all aspects of society. To learn more about The Arc or to become a member (membership is free) visit www.arcnm.org.
The Arc of New Mexico relies and depends on support from individuals, families and organizations to carry out our Mission. Please consider making a gift, click on here.