The Arc of Essex County Family and Home... A Story from the 13/14 Annual Report

May 26th, 2015

In 1948, a group of innovative parents, religious leaders, and dedicated volunteers gathered to
create services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.  This group founded what would become The Arc of Essex County and they elected Lee Marino their first
president.  Lee, a father of three girls, including Annie, would serve as president during the foundational years from 1948-1950.

Lee’s daughter Annie has a lot of spunk.  She loves animals, listening to Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and can remember even the finest of details.  She tells it like it is and remains close with her sisters today.  The Arc has been a part of her and her family’s lives since 1948, and since 1980 The Arc of Essex County is where Annie calls home.
In December 1980, after 20 years living at home with her parents and 19 years living at the North Jersey Training School, Annie moved into The Arc of Essex County’s Orange group home.    

Annie’s mother Eileen Marino recalled in a 1982 article for The Guardian her feelings on the move.  “When I was informed that Ann would be going to the Group Home, I was delighted.  Since Ann had spent so much time at her home, I was able to tell her that, in many ways, the Orange residence would be like living in her old home.”

Aside from a small hiccup with Annie’s glasses not making the initial move with her, she took to living in the group home quickly.  By lunch time on move-in day, Annie was helping dry the dishes.  “I can’t begin to describe how much she has learned through the patience, love, and skill of the staff at the Orange home,” recounted Eileen in October 1982.  “Ann loves the staff and the residents and knows that is her home.”

Annie would later move from the Orange group home to a quieter group residence in Nutley where she lives today.  She also participates in The Arc of Essex County’s Avenues day program - a program inspired by her for seniors and those with limited mobility who enjoy a slower paced program focusing on activities that retain physical and cognitive abilities.

Since its foundation, The Arc of Essex County strives to provide supports and services for individuals with I/DD and continues to innovate as our original consumers enter new phases of their lives.  The Arc has enjoyed being a part of Annie’s life and will continue to provide the best services and accommodations to our consumers as we move forward.

To read the full 2013-2014 Annual Report, click here.

Annie (bottom left) with her Orange group home housemates.