Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Awful Gifts from Nice People: 10 Ways to say "Thank You"

We asked our clients how they handle thanking someone very nice for a gift that is pretty awful.

Here are their suggestions:
Pat: It's beautiful. But I don't think it will fit me.
Jason: Thank you for surprising me!
Donald: It's nice. I'd like to give it back to you, please.
Connie: I have other gifts to open so I'll try it on later.
Melvin: This is a nice present.
Sharon: Your gift is precious to me.
Vernae: I've never seen anything like this before!
John: I don't want to try it on, but thanks.
Vadim: Thank you. Maybe you can give this to someone else?
Beth: Everything is nice. Everything is a gift.

Happy Holidays from all of us at The Arc of San Francisco!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our recent holiday celebration was a blast, beginning with a pizza party for 200, moving on to the client Talent Show and then out on to the dance floor. (Didn't know Santa could move like that.)

The party was the culmination of a busy week for staff, volunteers and wish list donors who really stepped up this year to support our clients needing not only a little cheer, but also some basic clothing and household items.

Thank you to everyone who made a tough year a little warmer and brighter for the people with developmental disabilities we are proud to serve.

Check out these photos.

Meredith Manning
Community Outreach

Thursday, December 3, 2009

International Day of People with Disabilities

Today, the United Nations and people all over the world are celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Events, forums, performances and advocacy activities will be taking place all day at the UN in New York and across the globe to promote awareness of disabilities issues and advances. From landmine victims in Bosnia-Herzegovenia to students with autism here in San Francisco, we all have much in common.
One of the key messages from the UN this year is "Difference is Natural."
I think this short video with stories of young people thousands of miles away says alot about the world of disability today.
Even though President Obama signed the UN Proclamation on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009, we still have a long way to go before we have full inclusion for people with disabilities into all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Our agency is only a small part of the UN's effort to change the world, but we are waging equality for our clients every day in our community--as Arc job coaches, health advocates and skills instructors. With the passion and dedication of our staff, and the determination and will of our clients, we are all helping to make possible the UN's goal of dignity and justice for all the world's citizens.
Tim Hornbecker
CEO, The Arc of San Francisco

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stuffed and Grateful

There's nothing like an intimate dinner for 200.

On Tuesday, I shared in all the fun and frenzy of serving a healthy Thanksgiving dinner to our clients. We pulled our round tables from storage, square tables from our conference rooms and assorted chairs from everywhere else, and managed to get everyone seated and served with no complaints.

In fact, clients told me the food this year was better than ever. "I'm stuffed!" said Clinton, giving kudos to the menu of roast pork, roast beef, stuffing, veggies and pumpkin pie.

I can't say enough about the Rotary Club of San Francisco who organized this event, purchased the food and prepared it all in our small kitchen.

Past President Eric Schmautz from Wells Fargo said he was fortunate to have over 40 Rotary volunteers to help him this year--The Arc is a popular destination!

Current President Scott Plakun of The Plakun Group told me how much it meant for his team to lend a hand in celebrating this traditional holiday.

For many clients, this will be their only special meal of the year and it means a great deal to be able to sit down with peers and be served in a dignified setting with a wonderful plate of well-prepared food.

As we all look forward to sharing Thanksgiving with family and friends, I am especially grateful to our volunteers and our dedicated staff at The Arc who made this day possible.


Tim Hornbecker, CEO

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meeting Your Goals

Hi, I'm Tatyana, and today I want to talk about meeting your goals.
A goal is something you want to acheive. It's really fun to meet your goals. They can help you learn new things and make you feel good. Some examples of goals are being more responsible, being like an adult, saving money, treating people well, and helping others.

Here are some tips to help you meet your goals:

  • As your staff for help
  • Go over your goals before you go to bed
  • Show up to program
  • Do what your IPP says
Having goals helps you to be more independent and happy.
Good luck meeting your goals!

*Individual Program Plan

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Disability Month Disappointment

I've been informed unofficially that the Employment, Life Skills and Performing Arts classes that are part of the City College curricula for people with disabilities may no longer be taught at The Arc.

This is disturbing news because many people with developmental disabilties find these classes invaluable, but they cannot access them if they are only available at a remote location like the City College campus out on Phelan Avenue.

During October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, our staff and clients are very aware of the challenges people with Down syndrome, autism and other disabilities face as they try and break into the workforce.
City College has a 25-year relationship with The Arc. Their progressive and inclusive approach to education has honed the skills of many people with disabilities over the years--Job Club students like Tom who practiced his interview skills in class and then landed a job at Boudin's Bakery. Or like Nancy, a class graduate who is now a taxpaying 10-year veteran employee at Trader Joe's.
When I first heard about the changes being considered, I wrote to the CCSF Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) Chair Paul Johnson, Dean Larry Klein, Chancellor Don Griffin and President Milton Marks.
I am somewhat relieved that a quick decision was made to continue these classes at least through the Spring term.
But what happens after that?
I'm very concerned that eliminating classes taught at The Arc will deprive students with the least access to the adult education they need to compete in today's job market.
Are students with developmental disabilities any less valuable than other students? Aren't the classes that help these individuals succeed just as important as other CCSF career development courses?
During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as we celebrate the work and achievements of people with disabilities across the United States, I thank CCSF instructors and administrators for providing the innovative classes that are critical to achieve a fully inclusive workplace.
I encourage CCSF's leadership not to eliminate the vital education people with developmental disabilities must have if they are to reach their fullest potential in the workplace and in life.
Tim Hornbecker is the Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Connie's Job Savvy Fashion Tips

Hi, I'm Connie and here are tips for dressing right on the job which is really important if you want to keep it:

Don't over-accessorize Don't include too much "bling" in your outfit. Not only will your boss be turned off, you might lose your job. If you're trying to get a job, you might not get hired.

Don't wear loud jewelry No tacky jewelry except for a watch if you're working or interviewing.

Dress for your interview It's better to over-dress than under-dress here. Don't wear a t-shirt or shorts!

Know the dress code Find out about your dress code so that you know what to wear to work. If there's a strict dress code, then you should follow it--like wearing a suit. Of course, there may be casual Fridays when you can wear anything within limits. Casual clothes are ok for these days like nice t-shirts and jeans, but not a swimsuit, wetsuit, beach cover-up, etc. Wear anything like that and you'll probably lose your job!

I'd like to hear your tips for dressing on the job, so write to me at BlogTalk. (I like stories about fashion disasters, too--have you seen any lately?)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hurt by Budget Cuts?

Have the California budget cuts hurt you, a person you care for or a family member with disabilities?
Many people have lost their Medi-Cal benefits covering their dental, podiatry, mental health or chiropractic needs. Others who are under a Level 4 on the Scale of Need by Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) no longer have In Home Support Services (IHSS) to do their shopping, meal preparation and cleaning. Transportation services have been cut, respite hours have been drastically reduced, and our clients over 50 must now be offered a new Senior Service at a 1-to-8 staff-to-client ratio at $35 per day, versus the prior 1-to-3 staff ratio at $72 per day.
$334 million has been cut from our DDS budget, which means many of you have lost services. Please let us know so we can advocate to the Governor and Legislators about how your lives have been impacted. Your voice matters.
From Tim Hornbecker

Timothy Hornbecker is Chief Executive Officer, The Arc of San Francisco

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cruise on the Bay

On the Bay, SF--8/22/09

The weather cleared just in time for a ship full of Arc Angels to sail the San Francisco Bay in support of The Arc on Saturday. We wanted to show our appreciation for all our Arc Angels do in helping to get The Arc through these difficult financial times, literally keeping our heads above water.

Over 50 people including Arc Angels, clients, family and friends sailed from Sausalito to the Golden Gate Bridge and back enjoying the views (including dolphins!) and hors d'oeuvres (all homemade by guest chef Eric Schmautz with the San Francisco Rotary).

Our vessel was a 75-foot custom built yacht--a special donation from two anonymous contributors especially with the Arc Angels in mind.

Even though times are very difficult, former Board President Greg Murphy urged everyone who could to renew and increase their annual pledges to The Arc so we can sustain our services and continue to provide the best quality of support for our clients.

Special thanks to Pat Napoliello for making this event happen and to Laura Repke for organizing all the details.
And thank you again to all our Arc Angels who braved the seas in support of our mission!
Tim Hornbecker
Tim is Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of San Francisco
Photo: Anne Slater, a client of The Arc, with Dick Essey, Arc Angel.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making Friends

Hi, I’m Leonette.  I’m going to give you some advice on getting along with friends.

How to meet friends
First introduce yourself to the person you may like. Then you can spend time together. You can do things like go out for coffee, or talk to them on the phone. My roommate Judy and I have been friends for a long time. We met at the Special Olympics; you can meet lots of people there.

Here’s what’s important in a friend
Friends are trustworthy, dependable and thoughtful. They don’t get jealous. A friend is someone you can look up to. It’s important to understand each other.

Friends are helpful
It’s nice to have friends because you can depend on them; like they’ll wait for you. I help my friends if they are in a bad mood or they’re upset. I’ll ask them what’s wrong and try to get them to talk about it. It’s important to listen to your friends. You can help solve problems together; that’s what Judy and I try and do.

Leo is a member of The Arc of San Francisco's Client Advisory Committee.
Photo: Leo (left) with friend Judy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eunice Shriver: Mourning a Champion

As every kid knows, you learn best when you're having fun. No one understood this better than Eunice Shriver who founded the Special Olympics in 1962 as a summer camp in her back yard. She had just been appointed to the first Presidential Committee on Intellectual Disabilities.

Looking back, it seems so obvious. Shriver created a program that enables athletes with disabilities to compete in a supportive and challenging environment. She gave participants an opportunity to achieve their personal best with their families and friends cheering them on. Equally importantly, Shriver gave the wider world an opportunity to see this often-misunderstood community at its best. 

As the leader of an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities--and a former tennis and basketball Special Olympics coach--I know firsthand how important the games can be in the lives of people with disabilities. At The Arc of San Francisco, we always know it's Special Olympics award season when our bowlers and basketball players make the rounds of our offices wearing their medals and beaming with pride. 

Shriver worked with The Arc of the US and California throughout the last 6 years to thwart budget cuts affecting our clients. I had the opportunity to discuss employment with her, and she emphasized that the largest barrier is people's attitude toward people with disabilities, not the disability! Although we will deeply miss this visionary leader, I am comforted knowing that the powerful idea she championed--that people with disabilities have "earned the right to play on any playing field,"--will continue to shape our ideas about abilities, disabilities and each other all over the world. 
--Tim Hornbecker
(Tim Hornbecker is Chief Executive Officer of The Arc of San Francisco.)
PHOTO: Patti gets last minute bowling tips from her coach Reggie.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Connie's 5 Tips for Staying Healthy

Hi, I'm Connie. I don't always follow my own advice, but here are some tips for trying to stay healthy:
1) Don't stay up too late watching TV. It makes you tired the next day.
2) Try to eat less fried food. French fries are ok once in a while, but don't get the large.
3) Eat more fruit and vegetables. I eat fruit at night--it's a good snack.
4) Get some exercise. I play soccer but you can take a walk and that's good.
5) Be creative. I write poetry and short stories--what do you like to do?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Healthy & Not So Healthy

Hi this is Noki from the No-Key Store, my cafe at The Arc. Last night I made a menu by hand for my cafe. I want people to see what they can buy. Some things are healthy like my fruit and vegetable salad. Other things are not so healthy but they are good! (Like cookies!) I really like to draw and design things my own way. I could have made a menu on the computer but I don't think it would be very good.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Should We Sell?

Hi everybody. John here. Today I took a class here at The Arc on how to start your own business. We are working on our business plans...I'm working on it with my friend Briana and our instructor Pam. We want to have a cafe where we can sell coffee and tea. People also like muffins and bagels. Bananas, too. I am asking people here what else they think we should sell at my cafe. Do you have ideas? We need to keep it simple.