A Message of Thanks to UNC's Pi Kappa Phi Brothers

We, at The Arc, wish to thank our UNC Pi Kappa Phi brothers for their continued commitment and support to those of all abilities. 


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A Note to our Outstanding HOPE Gardens Volunteers!

A photo of Arc volunteer, Bessy, working away on The Arc's garden plot at HOPE Gardens. Thank you, so very much, to all those who help make our garden possible!

  • Check out our HOPE Gardens blog, here!
  • Contact The Arc's Director of Volunteer Services, Susan Chandler, at Schandler@arcoforange.org to volunteer!
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Now Hiring!

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Volunteer Spotlight with Foster's Market General Manager/Owner, Sera Cuni



 (Above): Foster's Market; GM/Co-owner, Sera Cuti


The Arc of Orange County NC had the pleasure of interviewing the co-owner, and GM, Sera Cuni, of Chapel Hill's powerhouse of local goodies, food, coffee, and small event-hostings: Foster's Market on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, which sits just a few blocks from the town's renowned Franklin Street. 

The Arc's volunteer/social program, Petals with a Purpose, donates flowers to Foster's Market, so we wanted to interview Sera to ask her some questions with regard to her past experiences working with the Arc, in addition to some information about her background, leading up to Foster's.

Here is the interview:

  • Where are you from, originally? I have lived all over - from to Connecticut, Florida, California, Vermont and Massachusetts.  
  • How did you end up in Chapel Hill? I followed my parents down from Connecticut after getting tired of all the snow
  • How did you come to own Foster's Market? I have worked at Foster's for 9.5 years, and about 2 years ago, Sara Foster offered to sell it to me and my partner. It was a no-brainer; we jumped at the opportunity to own a Chapel Hill landmark.
  • How has it changed your life? It hasn't changed my life at all... except, now, I can help the community more.
  • Where, in your eyes, does Foster's Market fit in to our community? We are a place were all walks of life seem to meet and congregate. We plan on doing more community involvement and helping.
  • How long has The Arc been giving flowers to Foster's through its Petals for a Purpose program? We have probably have been reviving the flowers for a year and half. How did this start? Susan Chandler, the Arc's Director of Volunteer Opportunities, told us about it and we were interested.
  • What impact, if any, has Petals with a Purpose flowers had on you, your impression of The Arc, and your customers? People always ask if the flowers are really free; when we tell them yes, it makes people very happy.We have had people use them for Valentine's Day, hospital visits, and just 'cause they will make someone happy.
  • Anything you'd like to stay to the staff/volunteers/participants who work in the Petals with a Purpose program to help bring these flowers to Foster's each week? We really love the flowers every week. We pick our favorites and hope they go to good homes. We really appreciate them and all that everyone does to get them done and out to people
Thanks so much for the interview, Sera! The Arc of Orange loves having the opportunity to work with Foster's Market, too!
Check out the Foster's Market site, online, here!
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CHAPEL HILL: Arc welcomes apartment residents to independent living


The Chapel Hill News' site with this article can be found, here

"CHAPEL HILL — Kerry Hagner stood near the front door to her new home in Meadowmont, welcoming dozens of neighbors and strangers who wanted to see what a community had built.

The Arc of Orange County – now part of the Arc of the Triangle – broke ground on the six-unit apartment building in September. On Friday, local and elected leaders joined Arc staff members and clients to officially open the doors to residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Most of the time, those individuals live with their parents or in group homes. Arc – and the new $1 million-plus building – has three goals, said John Nash, executive director of Arc of North Carolina.

“People are making choices, people are having opportunities to do things that they never would have been able to do before, and there is a means and support here to realize their dreams,” he said. “Thirty years ago, 50 years ago ... things like this were not even possible.”

Hagner, 30, was born with Down syndrome and lived with her parents until early July, when she got the key to her two-bedroom Arc of the Triangle apartment at 150 W. Barbee Chapel Road. Her roommate Symoni Patel, 27, will move in next month.

Her parents helped her move, Hagner said. Her mother Karen wasn’t able to attend Friday’s opening event for medical reasons, but her father Ron took photos to share later.

“They have been gracious throughout this transition, and I love them very much,” Kerry Hagner said. “I hope they visit, but not too often.”

The 2005 graduate of Chapel Hill High School now can walk to Cafe Carolina and Bakery in Meadowmont, where she’s worked for two years, and ride her bike across N.C. 54 to volunteer at the University Child Care Center. She also serves as a Global Messenger for Special Olympics North Carolina, traveling the country to recruit athletes, volunteers and sponsors.

The apartments offer local people with disabilities an opportunity that many others can’t enjoy, Ron Hagner said.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “The time was right for her to be independent.”


Friday’s event also was a first for the Arc of the Triangle, which merged the Arcs of Orange, Durham and Wake counties on July 1. All three agencies, which have served Triangle clients for 50 or 60 years, will be based in Chapel Hill but have local offices, said executive director Robin Baker.

The Arc would like to build other apartments, Baker said, because it’s important for clients to feel like they’re part of a community and for people in the community to know people with disabilities as just regular folks. There’s already a waiting list, officials said.

Residents must have a documented disability and not earn more than $23,000 a year. They pay 30 percent of their income in rent.

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt told the crowd that his uncle, who had severe disabilities, would have benefitted from a similar program, if one had existed.

“What you see here is the work of so many people who share that commitment” to an open and engaging community, he said. “There are few projects that really make that point stronger than this one.”

The two-story apartment building has a common area and four one- and two two-bedroom units, equipped with washers and dryers. A bus stop is just feet away, and Meadowmont shops and other amenities are within walking distance.

Arc relied on local, state and federal funding to build the apartments, including the Orange County HOME program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and The Ireland Family Foundation. The Arc of North Carolina will managed the apartments.

Meadowmont developer Roger Perry donated the roughly half-acre of land and spoke at Friday’s event. Perry later said he’s considering another land donation at East West Partners’ proposed Obey Creek project site on U.S. 15-501, across from Southern Village.

Meadowmont’s Arc residents are his new neighbors, too, he said.

“We’re better people, and our lives are enhanced by them and their presence at Meadowmont,” Perry said. “I just live a couple hundred yards from here, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know my neighbors.”"

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Arc Merger in the News: The Durham News

"Arc: Merger will lift Triangle clients up together"

The following is an article taken from The Durham News source. The link for this article can be found, here.

"CHAPEL HILL — Arc of the Triangle officials say their recent merger is a stepping stone to better things.

The former Arcs of Orange, Durham and Wake counties, which have served clients for roughly 60 years, finalized the merger July 1. The new agency’s administrative offices will be in Chapel Hill, but local offices will remain to serve clients, said executive director Robin Baker.

The nonprofit Arc of the Triangle serves roughly 600 clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, learning difficulties and Asperger syndrome, and advocates for their equal treatment and acceptance. The agency also provides support for families and caregivers, plus programs and activities that are open to all residents.

Several dozen people are on a waiting list for Arc services, including employment help, respite care and one-on-one assistance, said Baker, Orange County’s former executive director.

The possibility of merging came up at a lunch with Wake County’s interim executive director Jennifer Pfaltzgraff, Baker said. Pfaltzgraff is now Arc of the Triangle’s marketing director. A merger committee considered the idea and let members – mostly donors and families – vote on it, he said.

“Both of the other Arcs could have shut their doors if we hadn’t partnered together like this,” Baker said.

Wake County has a good program, he said. Durham – the smallest of the three – was struggling, said Prince Bull, former Arc of Durham president. The group’s executive director retired and was not replaced. They also found it harder to compete with the many specialized groups in Durham for a dwindling pool of funds, Bull said.

Both agencies also took a harder hit than Orange County from several years of administrative and funding changes, Baker said. Losing most of their United Way money – roughly 85 percent in Orange County alone – was especially significant, he said.

“Their priorities at the United Way now are people that are homeless, people that are in crisis and people that are hungry,” he said, “and our folks don’t neatly fit into any of those buckets.”

Many clients live with their parents or in group homes well into their adulthood. Having a larger agency means more clout when seeking funds, officials said.

Grants, donations down

Federal tax returns for the last three years show the agencies have managed to break even. Grants and donations have fallen sharply since 2009, forcing Wake and Durham to use their savings at times to balance the budget.

In 2013, for instance, Orange County reported $2.6 million in revenues and $2.2 million in expenses, according to federal tax records. Wake County had $384,535 in revenues and $403,718 in expenses, records show, and Durham had $77,886 in revenues and $225,059 in expenses.

Baker said Orange County was fortunate to have been a Medicaid service provider for the last nine years. They also have a strong base of university support, with students comprising roughly 40 percent of the staff and serving as summer camp interns. UNC fraternities and sororities raise tens of thousands of dollars each year and participate with clients in activities and programs, he said.

They want to develop similar relationships with students at Meredith College and Duke and N.C. State universities, Baker said.

The cost of personnel is rising, however, to meet managed care companies’ oversight, compliance and reporting requirements.

The Arc of the Triangle plans to to fund existing services in Wake and Durham counties, Baker said, and slowly expand them over time. They’re also seeking new space and a full-time employee for the Durham office, he said.

“It’s not in our strategic plan to just grow across the state,” Baker said. “But by being the Arc of the Triangle, we can share resources, we can become more visible to major donors, like some of the corporations in (Research Triangle Park). We’ll be a greater resource to more people.”"

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Press Release


Chapel Hill, NC- The Arc of the Triangle and The Arc of North Carolina are proud to announce the opening of a new collaborative housing project for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Meadowmont community of Chapel Hill. A ribbon-cutting is planned for Friday, July 18th at 10 a.m.

Several area leaders and elected officials will be attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Congressman David Price, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, representatives from U.S. Senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr’s offices, and members of the local Chamber of Commerce. Also, several residents will be present at the event and providing tours of their apartments.

Robin Baker, Executive Director of The Arc of the Triangle, explained that the apartments will allow many tenants to live on their own for the first time. “While there are a number of group homes in Orange County, there are few places where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can live independently with a little support. The Arc Orange Apartments will help residents be more integrated into the larger community, and that’s really exciting,” said Baker.

These apartments are the result of years of collaboration between several local, state, and federal partners. The Arc received funding through multiple sources, including the Orange County HOME program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and The Ireland Family Foundation. The land was generously donated by East West Partners.

Nicole Kiefer, Assistant Director of Housing Resources at The Arc of NC, explained that the Meadowmont community has proven to be an ideal location for the project. A nearby stop on Chapel Hill’s free bus system allows for easy transportation around town.  Meadowmont Village, a local shopping center walking distance from the apartments, provides easy access to groceries, shopping, and entertainment. Several residents are also employed by Meadowmont Village businesses.

“All these factors make The Arc Orange Apartments a real standout for supportive housing. It’s a wonderful environment,” said Kiefer.

The apartment building itself consists of six separate units and a common room. The exterior is designed to blend in architecturally with the rest of the neighborhood.

For more information on The Arc Orange Apartments ribbon-cutting, contact Ben Akroyd at The Arc of North Carolina at 919-782-4632 or bakroyd@arcnc.org.


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Great News!

PACE Academy will keep its doors open.  Since 2004, PACE Academy has made positive contribution s in the lives of students, their families, and the community at large. Serving students in grades nine through twelve, PACE helps students navigate the demands of high school. Given a unique population with over 50% of students served with IEPs, PACE engages learners through creative and research-based methods. Students emerge and graduate from PACE with increased skills in self-advocacy, self-determination, responsibility, and independence.

Recruitment efforts are in full swing: Enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year is open. Please contact the school at 919-933-7699 or email: jbittner@pace-academy.com


At a glance, PACE Academy means:

                  Small Classes (16:1 ratio)

                  Tuition Free

                  Convenient Location (on NC 54 in Carrboro)

                  Block Schedule

                  Extensive Transition Planning 

                  Community Service

                  North Carolina Standard Course of Study - leading to a High School Diploma 

                  Common Core and Occupational Pathways towards graduation

                  Highly Skilled Staff


PACE will continue to increase the learning opportunities - especially those who are at-risk for academic failure. PACE Academy recognizes all students for the strengths they possess; works alongside students and their families to develop the 21st Century skills required in today 's workplace & encourages students' integration in all aspects of the community.

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