Arc expands with $2.5M Building for Change campaign
By Anthony Welch
The Arc Pikes Peak Region continues to grow as it’s in the midst of a $2.5 million Building for Change campaign to construct an inclusive campus not only for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but the community as well, according to Executive Director Wilfred Romero.
The first phase is complete as the Arc upgraded its administrative office and facility located at 10 and 12 N. Meade Ave. The Arc has been located at that address for 35-plus years, Romero added.
“It wasn’t truly accessible. We wanted to get the facility accessible,” he said. “We wanted to make the facility a more desirable place to be. Being right across the street from Memorial Park, it’s an entryway to downtown. We say we’re the ‘Arc’ to downtown.”
Currently serving more than 2,000 individuals, the campus renovations also will include classrooms, a library, a computer room, a working kitchen with home appliances and updated, expanded office space for The Arc. The inclusive campus will be an open, accessible community hub, available for use by partner organizations and businesses.
A state-of-the-art conference room has been added. It can accommodate 70 individuals with tables and chairs or 150 people with just chairs, according to Romero.
The Arc also is making efforts to address the needs of the aging caregiver through training and education opportunities, Romero said. Training will touch on the following: Guardianship, the aging caregiver, recognizing caregiver burnout, siblings and their role, addressing isolation and a variety of social opportunities.
“As the population ages we are seeing more individuals over 50 raising adults and children with disabilities without a future plan in place,” Romero said.
The second phase will being this summer, Romero mentioned. That construction will include a personal development center. The goal is to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn necessary skills for living independently and thriving in their communities.
“The Inclusive Campus will have the space for community organizations to provide classes to help individuals improve their lives,” Romero said. “We envision a class schedule to include demonstrations and hands-on training for safe, healthy cooking and nutrition, personal budgeting, resume writing, job coaching, proactive personal health and other life skill workshops.”
With the new computer lab, the Arc hopes to hone in on helping individuals navigate websites in order to find employment and become more successful, according to Romero.
“Access for technology is sometimes limited,” he added.
A new multipurpose room will include an outdoor deck and be available for art and other activities, Romero said. That includes community organizations.
Romero encourages the community to tour the new facility and learn about how they can get involved with the Arc.
“If volunteers wanted to truly use the facility to its fullest, the door is open for people and their talents. Plus, they get to learn the abilities of the people we serve,” he said.
The Arc Pikes Peak Region provides services free of charge. The organization receives no state or federal funding. More than 85 percent of its funding comes from Arc thrift store profits, Romero said. Volunteers and donations are always welcome.
For more on the campaign, visit www.thearcppr.org/building-for-change/.