One of the most unfortunate trends modern filmmaking is the casting of big name celebrities who have little understanding of developmental disabilities to portray individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Their portrayals often come across as nothing more than promotion of stereotypes and caricatures.
In the 1970's, Sprout Films was created to address this. Their catalog of films made by, for and about people with disabilities is unmatched. Their touring film festival has reached thousands of people in many countries. Their mission "to make the invisible visible" is achieved through a wide variety of films on a huge variety of topics.
The Washington state stop for the 2015 Film Festival tour will be at Hoquiam's 7th Street Theater on May 16th. The event is being sponsored by People First of Grays Harbor and The Arc of Grays Harbor. We're tremendously excited, we'll keep you posted as plans come together.
We've been working on this for almost a year, but in keeping with Aesop's wise advice to avoid counting unhatched eggs, I haven't really mentioned it.
The Arc of Grays Harbor has purchased the building in which we previously leased office space. It is a huge win for harborites with disabilities, and I thank Debbie Harper with Rural Development at the USDA, Alexandra Fastle at Senator Murray's office, Jim Daly at the Grays Harbor Community foundation and The Arc of Grays Harbor Board of Directors.
Our building is 4100 square feet of very nice and flexible space, in a good location with good access to transportation. The financing package guarantees our viability indefinitely, preserves our cash reserves and enables us to concentrate our energies and resources on programs for the people we serve.
In the next fiscal year, ownership of the building will save us a lot of money and will give us an additional 800sf of space. More importantly, it allows us to expand the services we can offer to the community.
We are kicking around several ideas to utilize the new space, but we know that it'll be geared toward providing social and employment training opportunities.
On a personal note, I had a medical procedure on Thursday that gave me a weekend of leisure to daydream about the future and how we can help people.
Adam loves to make fused glass jewelry. His work is beautiful, and when he shows it at events, he sells out quickly. What he lacks is a retail display venue for it.
Mary is starting a business selling vinyl signs and crafts. The market for her products is robust, but getting visibility is a constant challenge.
Alan loves to tinker. His friends and neighbors know that he's a go-to resource to repair their computers and appliances. He'd be highly employable to an employer who could work around his disabilities.
Ruth loves people, and would thrive in a low-key retail environment, perhaps at a thrift store.
Susan's special education work has led her to a career as an Applied Behavior Analysis therapist, and working with an established organization to outreach to clients would give her fledgling business a head start.
Now that we have this space, we could help bring any or all of these dreams to reality.
What does the harbor need more of? Let me know your thoughts.
First, a little history.
Our history as an advocacy organization goes back to the 1930's. In the 1970's The Arc (then known as The Arc of Twin Harbors) created and spun off Timberland Opportunities (a sheltered workshop) Kimberly Group Home (residential housing) and Harbor Alternative Living Association (supported living). Today we are an agency of Grays Harbor County providing information and referral services (Start with The Arc!) and are an agency of The Arc of Washington providing Parent to Parent support and coordination.