Ron Kurtz boosts community development in Spokane by making sure people with developmental disabilities aren’t ignored.
Kurtz is associate director of The ARC of Spokane, a nonprofit human service organization founded by parents to promote services for their family members with developmental disabilities.
Kurtz knows individuals with disabilities like cerebral palsy or mental retardation have a wealth of leadership and energy to contribute to building a better society.
“Diversity is important to the community,” Kurtz says. “People with developmental disabilities force us to listen to a different voice.”
An example of one community contribution made by ARC clients is their participation in service projects like Habitat for Humanity.
Since 1950, The Arc of Spokane has helped people with developmental disabilities find employment. “When we place people in jobs in the community, one of the most common testimonies we hear from employers is that there is a new sense of commitment in the workplace,” Kurtz says.
“Attitudes change. People are friendlier. They’re encouraged by the person who has overcome their disability.”
Through The Arc membership, clients and their families access jobtraining, counseling, housing and financial management services and people who can help them work with government agencies. The Arc of Spokane also runs People’s Place, a recreational and drop-in learning center for people with developmental disabilities.
Volunteer and internship opportunities with The Arc offer a chance to provide friendship and companionship to their clients. Volunteers also support the plethora of services the organization offers.
Call The Arc of Spokane if you have a community project and need additional people power.
“We need people to give individuals with developmental disabilities a chance,” Kurtz says. Or, to take advantage of the services at The Arc of Spokane, call 328-6326.
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