The Rapidian

The Arc of Kent County launches The Assurance Plan for individuals with disabilities

The Assurance Plan is a comprehensive plan of lifetime advocacy to support individuals with disabilities in their futures and provides a sense of security for their guardians in the present
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About NPO Showcase

NPO Showcase highlights nonprofit and government organizations and the work that they're doing in our community. The program is a feature of GRTV, a service of the Community Media Center, with producer and host Julie Way. You can catch it on GRTV on Saturdays at 8 AM and 6 PM and can view past episodes on the Grand Rapids Community Media Center website. If your nonprofit would like to be interviewed on NPO Showcase, please contact Julie Way.

Individuals with disabilities and their families face challenges every day. But what if the individual’s caregiver is no longer around, or available to help ensure that the crucial supports and services are still in place?

That’s the thinking behind The Arc of Kent County’s new program, The Assurance Plan. “I have a daughter with a disability. She’s 30, and when I’m no longer available to do all the things I do, I want someone to visit her and make sure she’s still participating in the community, living where she wants…someone to call her family members who aren’t in the area to give updates on her quality of life,” says Tammy Finn, Executive Director of The Arc of Kent County.

The Assurance Plan is a lifetime advocacy program that will provide activities, financial oversight, make visits and attend planning meetings, and ensure the wishes of the individual and families remain in place. The Assurance Plan is a replication of a program that’s been around for 30 years on the southeast side of Michigan, and Finn is ready to make sure this resource is available in West Michigan. “I’m very excited to bring this to Kent County so that families can be assured that their loved ones will still have the quality of life we’ve worked so hard to maintain.”

Along with the new Plan, The Arc also provides advocacy, resources, and information across the lifespan. There is a parent mentor to help families understand the special education system and helps facilitate meetings at school. They help adults navigate the community mental health system and access and maintain needed services. There is the Community Participation Initiative, which helps adults connect with activities in the community such as volunteering or recreation so that they can be as independent as possible. And they advocate at the state and federal level to ensure that the voices of the families and individuals with disabilities are heard and their needs are met.

“We have some great staff in our office, and a lot of them have siblings or children with disabilities themselves, so we really live and know what this is all about. We live it every day,” says Finn. “That’s very unique about our services.”

Above all, The Arc aims to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an opportunity to participate in the community just like anyone else.

“Disability or no disability, we all want the same things. A good life, connection with family and friends, meaningful activities…and giving back to the community,” says Finn.

Meet Finn and learn more about The Assurance Plan in GRTV’s NPO Showcase interview above, or catch it airing on GRTV and LiveWire over the next two weeks. You can also find more details and learn how to become a member on their website.

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