Author: Jessica Murphy

Three children holding papers that have colorful collages on them and say "Autism Acceptance Month."

Stepping Stones Students Celebrate Earth Day and Autism Awareness Month

The children in the Stepping Stones School’s transition kindergarten class marked Earth Day and Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month with an assortment of educational activities. To celebrate Earth Day, the students used blue and green Jell-O for a tong activity, played in “dirt” made of cocoa powder, flour, and oil to dig and plant pretend flowers, and explored Earth Day-themed sensory bins. They also planted beans and are excited to watch them grow. The class also enjoyed the beautiful fresh air that the springtime brings, with outdoor adventures that included visiting blooming trees and flowers, playing outdoor sports, and flying kites [...]

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A group of five adults sitting on a train ride, looking back at the camera and waving/smiling.

Animals, Arcades, and Art for Recreation Group

The Arc of Essex County’s Community Inclusion and Recreation participants visited the Turtle Back Zoo, Dave & Buster’s, and Studio Arc during a fun-filled April. On April 16, a group of 18 visited the Turtle Back Zoo, exploring the animal exhibits, feeding the giraffes, getting hands-on with sea life in the touch tank, and riding the train together In preparation for Mother’s Day, participants gathered at Studio Arc on April 23 to make a gift bag that featured handmade soaps, bath bombs, lip balms, and essential oils. And on April 30, the group traveled to Dave & Buster’s at the Willowbrook Mall to [...]

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Dark background with red and gold sparkles. Text: "A Million Dreams: The Arc of Essex County's 75th Anniversary Gala."

The Arc of Essex County Celebrates 75 Years with “A Million Dreams” Gala on June 15

In celebration of The Arc of Essex County’s 75th anniversary, the agency is holding “A Million Dreams” gala on Thursday, June 15, 2023 at The Grove in Cedar Grove, NJ. This milestone event will feature cirque entertainment, fine dining, open bar, live music, and celebration. The Arc of Essex County will recognize the following honorees during the gala: Legacy of Philanthropy: PSEG Legacy of Leadership: Board Presidents, The Arc of Essex County Legacy of Advocacy: Tom Baffuto, The Arc of New Jersey Executive Director Tickets to the event cost $225 per person, or $400 per couple, with a RSVP deadline of June 1. There are [...]

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Five adults standing together. The man in the center is holding a bright green kite.

Day Programs Enjoy the Spring Season

With Easter egg hunts, spring crafts, and kite flying, the participants in The Arc of Essex County’s Day Programs have been fully embracing the spring season. At West Caldwell Hub, the group hand-crafted and painted Easter baskets for collecting eggs. Bridges dyed eggs and made other Easter-themed crafts together. At SYA, Easter eggs were scattered across the outdoor area, making for a very exciting egg hunt for participants. SYA also took advantage of the blustery spring days to do some kitemaking and kite flying. As part of the ongoing global curriculum, the Opportunity Zone participants are continuing to learn about other countries, [...]

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Children climbing on playground equipment.

Crafty Fun and Playground Games at Parents’ Night Out

A group of eight children gathered for the latest Parents’ Night Out event on April 21 at Stepping Stones School. The participants had a lively time making Mother’s Day ornaments and completing other spring art projects, as well as playing on the playground. The group also enjoyed a pizza dinner together. Parents’ Night Out events provide children with an entertaining few hours while Arc parents can enjoy an evening to themselves, knowing their children are safely enjoying activities with their peers. The evening cost families $20 per child, with the program costs partially offset by generous donations to The Arc of [...]

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Five photos from The Arc of Essex County's 25th Annual Building Tomorrows event. Top Left: a family of four standing under umbrellas. Bottom left: A man painting on a canvas. Center: A group of runners standing behind a banner that says "START." Top right: a woman giving the peace sign as she runs. Bottom right: Three men standing together, the man in the center with an art apron and holding paint containers. The men on either side are wearing t-shirts from the event.

25th Annual Building Tomorrows Raises More than $60,000

Runners, walkers, Fun Fest attendees, and volunteers showed up with smiles, despite the rainy weather, for The Arc of Essex County’s 25th Annual Building Tomorrows 5K Run, Family Walk, and Fun Fest on Saturday, April 29 at the South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange. The overall 5K winners were John Gafney of Rutherford, N.J. with a time of 17:01 and Kayla Lubonski of Cranford, N.J. with a time of 24:12. The men’s second and third place finishers were Fahim Chowdhury (Bayonne, N.J.) and Tristin DeVincenzo (Hoboken, N.J.), and the women’s second and third place finishers were Karolina Zujewska (South Orange, [...]

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Logo for HUB: Healthy Understanding of our Bodies.

Arc Chapter Launches Health Resource “HUB”

The Arc of Harrisonburg and Rockingham (Virginia) recently launched a new initiative, dubbed Healthy Understanding of Our Bodies, or “HUB,” which they share with the wider Arc community. Sexual Health is a complex and important part of overall health and wellness. It connects with nearly all other areas of health in our lives, including physical health, mental health, emotional health, and relational health. Sexual Health affects how we develop relationships with others, how we think of ourselves, how we care for ourselves, and how we stay safe. Everyone is deserving of inclusive, accessible sexual health education that is free of shame [...]

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Virtual Resources Roundup May 2023. The Arc of Essex County logo. A graphic of four people meeting virtually on a screen.

May Virtual Resources Roundup

The Arc has a variety of resources for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Here, we provide a monthly roundup of the virtual options available to The Arc community throughout the month: § The Arc of Essex County Mystery Movies (Mondays: May 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 3 p.m.)The Arc of Essex County Game Day (Tuesdays: May 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 at 3 p.m.)The Arc of Essex County Book Buddies (Wednesdays: May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 at 3 p.m.) § The Arc of NJ Self-Advocacy Project: Stay Healthy at Home: 5/2/23: Financial Literacy: Learn, Earn, [...]

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The words "RESIDENTIAL CORNER" across images of four different homes and apartments. The Arc of Essex County logo in the bottom left corner.

May 2023 Residential Corner

For individuals seeking a community living placement, The Arc of Essex County has the following May 2023 openings: West Caldwell Group Home (1 Male or Female Vacancy) Single-family style home in a quaint neighborhood 24/7 supervision Care given based on individual needs Group enjoys taking day trips together, pursuing hobbies at home, and enjoying backyard picnics Belmont Group Home (1 Male vacancy) Single-family style home Located in a great Livingston neighborhood. 24/7 supervision Can accommodate residents with additional medical supports and aging needs Meadowbrook Condo (1 Male or Female Vacancy) Unlicensed two-bedroom condo in Maplewood Candidates would be on the Supports Program Close to public transportation Care based on individual needs Orange Community Residence [...]

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Five people holding signs that say "Stand Up" and "Speak Up." Four are standing along a wall, in front of them a woman sits in a wheelchair.

Opportunity Zone Wins Arc of NJ’s Self-Advocacy Contest

In a video that was developed, written, and performed by Opportunity Zone day program participants, The Arc of Essex County won first place with its entry in The Arc of New Jersey’s Developmental Disability Awareness Month video contest. Following the theme “Welcome to Self-Advocacy,” a group of six performers acted out two scenarios where they advocated for themselves. The first scene was a doctor’s office, where the doctor addressed the residential staff member instead of the patient herself. The second scene was at a restaurant, where the waitress asked the residential staff member what the individual wanted to eat instead of [...]

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