Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Client Advisory Committee: Helping Hands Get Things Done

CAC members vote on everyday Arc SF policies
The Arc San Francisco has a mission to serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by promoting self-determination, dignity, and opportunities for our clients’ voices to be heard. Nowhere else have I seen this better exemplified than during the weekly Client Advisory Committee (CAC) meetings.

Every Friday, two staff members and a dozen or so clients come together to create a positive change in the community. In many ways, this committee is like any other: They sit around a long table, use Robert's Rules of Order, and follow an agenda of topics that each member contributed to. What astounded me, however, was the drive and insatiable urge these clients had to change the world.

The first meeting I ever attended sported a wide variety of topics and issues. The agenda touched on everything from local Arc policy to city, state, and even nation-wide politics. They voted to choose the destination of the next Arc field trip, and five minutes later began organizing a rally and letter signing event to advocate for affordable housing, and funding for organizations like The Arc SF.

“I really like the CAC,” said Mimi, a recent addition to the group. “We get to discuss things that are very important: how the city runs and the government, and issues like how to clean our environment and help the homeless. We get our own voice and opinions out, and we can actually make a real difference.”

Mimi could not have been more right. Not only have these clients made noticeable impacts on their communities, but they continue to develop their own leadership and communication skills. These clients are ready to face and better the world, and together they are unstoppable!
by Valerie Cripe, The Arc SF intern from Westmont College

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