We support more than 4,500 people a year
Since 1950, the St. Louis Arc has been promoting an inclusive world for all people. We’re proud of the impact we’ve made in the lives of so many individuals and families. Our full range of programs, resources, support, networking and advocacy impacts the lives of people across the lifespan and in every area of life.
Learn more about our impact in the new Report to Community 2023.
They call her Itsy, after the Itsy Bitsy Spider. She does hard things every day — sometimes exhausting therapies — but Itsy is determined and smiling. “When Itsy started with therapy, she couldn’t hold her head up or track things with her eyes,” recalls Shamecka, Itsy’s mom. “She needed all this equipment and toys that we were trying to buy.” A therapist suggested Arc’s Capable Kids and Families (CKF) program. CKF has helped the family get access to equipment they can borrow for as long as needed and switch out when it’s time to try something else. “Some of the specialized toys we’ve borrowed, to the naked eye, seem like regular toys,” says Shamecka. “But they’ve helped her so much, with learning cause and effect, or with getting her attention so she can learn.”
Kele says he loves cooking, so making lunch for himself and other participants in the NextED Challenge program this past summer was easy. But other learning activities have proven useful in helping the 19-year-old community college student tackle new challenges. “I learned about using the public bus system, for one thing,” he says. “And managing money and finances, and basically how to not need my parents for everything.” NextED Challenge is a week-long program that offers young adults an opportunity to try some of the independent skill building activities that are part of the St. Louis Arc’s NextED curriculum. “The summer experience is an opportunity to take risks and practice skills in a safe environment,” says Libby Eversgerd, Arc’s Director of Transition Services.
Aging with Empowerment (AWE) participant Retha has a special love of all things Disney. In addition to enjoying Disney movies, she’s visited Disney World and longs to travel there again. “Retha would love to go back to Disney someday, but it wasn’t something she could do right now,” says Stephen Turner, coordinator of AWE North County. “One thing we do in AWE is look for ways to support people’s goals and interests.” Thanks to funding from Charter’s Spectrum Digital Education grant program, the St. Louis Arc offers a variety of technology resources that enable participants to connect with the larger community for learning, leisure, and communications.