Highlights from

Our 2016 State Conference

The Arc Minnesota’s 2015 Annual State Conference — “The Power of Community:  Connections That Transform Lives” — was held September. 24, 2016.   The conference provided tools and inspiration for attendees to go forth from the conference to create and experience lives as full members of their community. Attendees gave us positive feedback on the conference.  At the event:

  • Topics were addressed on many aspects of a life of inclusion: housing, employment, education, transition, recreation, friendships, self-advocacy projects, and public policy.
  • The video “Of The Communitykicked off the conference. The video was designed to inspire attendees, create high expectations for a life of inclusion, and demonstrate the crucial role that community connections play in creating that life.
  • Family members, self-advocates, and people working in the field shares their stories and successes.
  • Successful projects and programs around Minnesota were spotlighted.
  • There were opportunities to network during lunch with others who were working on the same issues and concerns.
  • Attendees received one-on-one advice and consultation from people working daily in the field, got answers to their questions, and make additional connections.

Photos from the conference, with descriptions of some of the activities that day, are posted online.

On Friday night, September 23rd, we held our Annual Awards Banquet.  That evening we honored 11 outstanding Minnesotans and Minnesota organizations for their contributions that have protected the rights of Minnesotans with disabilities and promoted their inclusion in our communities.  Photos of our awards recipients are posted online.

Earlier on Friday afternoon, The Arc Minnesota held its Annual Business Meeting, where delegates elected officers to The Arc Minnesota Board of Directors and approved four new position statements for The Arc Minnesota.  Executive Director Don Lavin and Board President Neil Helgeson provided highlights from the past year in their report to the delegates.  Board Treasurer Steve Harding provided a summary of the agency’s finances during that period.

Amy Hewitt is Director of the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration.   Amy has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30 years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families.

Amy directs several federal and state research, evaluation, and demonstration projects in the area of community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.  She currently has research projects that focus on community living, the prevalence of autism, direct support workforce development, person-centered planning/thinking, and positive behavior support.  Amy has authored and co-authored many journal articles, curriculum, technical reports, and books, and she has spoken nationally on issues related to community inclusion.

People with disabilities deserve to be full members of their communities.  There is power in that membership – in the connections that create a life in the community, the opportunities to participate as fully as anyone else, and the ability to share one’s gifts and make one’s voice heard.

We must ensure people with disabilities receive the right supports and make the necessary connections so full membership becomes a reality.   At our Statewide Conference on September 24th, our purpose was to show how to make that possible for children and adults alike – in school, at play, with friends, in employment and housing, and through advocacy at the State Capitol.

Organizational Partners
The Mentor Network/REM Minnesota
Mount Olivet Rolling Acres

Hammer Residences
Lifeworks Services, Inc.

Community Involvement Programs
Dungarvin Minnesota
Habilitative Services, Inc.
Hiawatha Homes, Inc.

Cardinal of Minnesota, Ltd.
MDM Rubicon, Inc.
The Phoenix Residence
Search Beyond Adventures
Thiel Anderson and Kukla, P.L.L.P.

Conference Sponsors

Conference Sponsor
Ally People Solutions
Certainly Creative
Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
Opportunity Services
Rise, Inc.
TSE, Inc.

Scholarship Sponsor
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

In-Kind Donors
Fun and Function
Jerry’s Foods Woodbury
Key Medical Supply
Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota