A Message From Our President
Reflections on 2021 and Hope for 2022
As the New Year rapidly approaches, I want to pause to reflect on the past year, and look forward with great hope for the coming year.
While the pandemic continues to pose challenges to us all, I am truly grateful for the efforts of the St. Louis Arc staff to ensure the health and safety of not only themselves, but their colleagues, and the individuals and families they support. I know many staff members have gone above and beyond to provide high quality supports in the safest ways possible. I continue to be in awe of the creative and innovative ways our staff have found to deliver supports throughout the pandemic.
As we look back on 2021, we have much to celebrate:
- All Arc residents and staff members who chose to be vaccinated have received the vaccine, and most have received their booster shots. Thank you to the Arc Vaccine Committee for their continued diligence.
- The St. Louis Arc achieved a four-year, Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation with Distinction from the Council on Quality and Leadership. We are one of only a handful of agencies worldwide to achieve this level of accreditation – thank you to Stephanie Scott, Lindsey Moore, and the QE Committee for leading the charge.
- Arc residents have been able to return to many of their pre-pandemic activities, seeing family and friends, returning to work, traveling, and going to community events, utilizing recommended safety protocols.
- Many of the services that had been virtual are now back to in-person, when safe, including Capable Kids and Families, Normandy Outreach, Community Engagement, Leisure, Staff Training, Launch, and more.
- We have successfully secured appropriate COVID Relief Funding to stabilize our workforce, and have been able to pass that funding onto our staff members.
- We hired a new Director of Children’s Services, Dana Walker, to help oversee our Capable Kids and Families, Parents Learning Together, and Normandy Outreach programs, as well as grow our supports to children and young families.
- The Arc has seen expansion in many areas including Capable Kids and Families, Family Support, Connect, and Launch.
- We have had many technological advances behind the scenes to improve remote efforts and internal communications, to create a more comprehensive case management system, and to upgrade the technology at all of our residential homes.
- Supported Employment continued to support people in obtaining jobs in a variety of settings.
- The Arc’s internal Task Force READI (Race, Equity, Access, Diversity, and Inclusion) has elevated our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and continues to help us grow as an agency.
- We have and continue to fill many of the vacancies in residential – it is always nice to welcome new residents!
- We have held two very successful Golf Tournaments, and despite having to cancel all other fundraisers, continue to raise money through grants and our annual gift campaign to support all our services.
The above list is just a few of the highlights of our many, many accomplishments. I could not be more proud of everyone who has helped us achieve these goals and the many others I have failed to mention.
I look forward to 2022 with great anticipation of many new exciting goals, including:
- The opening of the Nutrition Center at Dautel Circle to provide healthy meals and snacks to all residents and reduce the pressure on staff.
- The opening of the new South Hub in Maplewood which will house Community Engagement, Connect, Aging With Empowerment, and a new behavioral support program called LIFT.
- Continuing to offer new residents homes to meet their needs.
- A new strategic plan to be completed by June 30, 2022 to guide us through the next four years.
- Launching the new Assistive Technology program through Next in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, and St. Charles County.
- Moving Parents Learning Together and Metro Community Engagement into the Delmar Divine, and offering space for Leisure and Next to expand their presence in St. Louis City.
- All of this on top of the amazing things our staff does every day!
I continue to feel blessed and proud to work with such an outstanding group of colleagues, individuals, families, volunteers, community partners, funders, and donors. Thank you for your commitment to the Arc, our mission, and to providing services of the highest quality to the individuals and families we support.
I wish you and your loved ones a very healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year.
Mark A. Keeley
President and CEO, St. Louis Arc