The Arc of Anchorage is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving children and adults who experience developmental disabilities or mental health issues so they can lead rich, full, satisfying lives of dignity and purpose.
The Arc of Anchorage is a chapter of The Arc of the United States, a grassroots organization with more than 140,000 members who are affiliated with nearly one thousand state and local chapters across the country.
The Arc of Anchorage was founded in 1957 by a small group of parents at the very beginning of a nationwide shift in how our society thinks about people with disabilities. This group of parents came together to fight for the rights of their children with disabilities. Rights like:
- The right to live at home, instead of in an institution hundreds or thousands of miles away
- The right to go to school, at a time when “free public education” did not include a person with Down syndrome or cerebral palsy or someone who was blind or deaf
- The right to be treated like other people, to be a part of the community, to be respected, to have friends, to decide what they want their life to be and to work toward those goals just like anyone else.
Today, we are busy making sure the victories won by The Arc’s founders are not hollow. For instance, we provide services that help ensure:
- The right to work is accompanied by an opportunity to learn work skills so people can get and keep a job.
- The right not to be institutionalized does not leave a person homeless or lounging in front of a TV all day with nothing to do and nowhere to go.
- People who experience disabilities have the same opportunities as any American citizen to exercise the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We look forward to the day when The Arc is no longer necessary, when the idea that people with disabilities are really “just people” has been so thoroughly incorporated into the fabric of our society that the notion of paid care providers seems old-fashioned and out-of-date.
But until that time, we have a promise to keep – a promise we made more than five decades ago. A promise to be here, ready to help, whenever a family comes knocking at our door, looking for hope and a helping hand. And to continue to be here for as long as their loved ones need us.