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Welcome!

Welcome Post Cover The Arc Amplified

Welcome to The Arc Amplified!

The Arc Amplified is a new online publication and source for sharing stories of inclusion and belonging,
bold activism and local change-makers in action. The mission of this platform is to amplify diverse voices
and “good news” stories from within the disability community in Snohomish County and across the
region.



Do you have a story of inclusion you want to share?
Are you leading local advocacy efforts?
Has your family or loved one benefited from activities or programs in Snohomish County that are
designed to advance community inclusion?

We want to know! Email Whitney Stohr, Parent to Parent Coordinator, at whitney@arcsno.org or call
425-258-2459 x 106.

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The Arc Amplified is an online publication of The Arc of Snohomish County.
Learn more about our mission and values at arcsno.org.

39. Resolutions for the Busy Caregiver Easy Fitness

New Year Resolutions for the Busy Parent-Caregiver:

Easy, Everyday Strategies for Physical Fitness

Aw, yes, the often dreaded, sometimes cringe-worthy, “I will finally get into shape this year” New Year’s Resolution.

We all know it well. We may have made that resolution for ourselves at some point throughout the years.

I have.

In fact, I make some version of that resolution every year.

My inner dialogue is constantly reviewing that long list of tasks I really need to accomplish in order to take better care of my personal health and wellbeing. It’s long and, admittedly, checking-off tasks on that list is slow work because… well, I am a caregiver.

You may be too.

And, if you are a caregiver, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

And yet, we still make those health resolutions…

AND, we absolutely SHOULD make those health resolutions. KEEP MAKING THOSE RESOLUTIONS!

Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of your own health. Being a caregiver cannot be an excuse to ignore your own health needs. (That is a personal mantra I repeat to myself every day.)

Will we get into such amazing shape this year that we decide to register for next year’s marathon circuit? Let’s be honest. The answer to that question is a solid “Probably not,” bordering on “No way! Not in a million years.”

(If you do: Seriously – I will be your biggest fan-girl! Please send pictures!)

BUT, can you incorporate a few new activities into your daily routine that promote activity, movement and personal wellbeing? Absolutely! That is an entirely achievable resolution.

Here are some ideas for the busy parent-caregiver:

1.  Play Music During Household Chores: Housework is constant! As parents and caregivers, we have already integrated household chores into our daily routines. So, make the decision to maximize your time and energy by turning housework into up-beat movement. Turn up the tunes and dance your way through chores. Shake it while you wash the dishes. Salsa while folding laundry. Give your best two-step with a broom as your partner. (Try THIS playlist of “Housework Hits!”)

2.  Stretch During Cartoons: A cartoon or movie break for the kids is also a slow-down opportunity for parents and caregivers. Cartoon time is a time for caregivers to. Get. Work. Done! Take advantage of those daily cartoons for a 5-minute stretch break. Take deep, slow breaths and focus on each stretch. (Try these!) The simple practice of daily stretching is fantastic for both mind and body.

3.  Plan a Daily 2-Song Dance Break: Include the kids! Set a “dance party” alarm on your phone and turn the songs up when you hear the tone. Get your groove thing on and have fun. Even in short intervals, dancing offers many health benefits. It is also fun and can be re-energizing for caregivers in need of a mid-afternoon boost. Start with a dance party that lasts for two songs. Commit to a daily “dance it out” time. (Try THIS “Family Dance Party” playlist, or THIS playlist for all my fellow Millennial parents out there.)

4.  Take a Brisk, 20-Minute Walk: If you have a schedule that allows for a consistent break in caregiving duties, getting into the habit of walking is a great way to improve your physical health, clear your mind and reset your energy for the day. Start slow, but commit yourself to getting outdoors every day.

5.  Get Pumped with a 10-Minute Power Sesh: Find yourself a pair of light hand-weights — maybe 8 or 10 pounds — and carve out a 10-minute time in your day when you can focus on simple repetitions. (Click here for a list of easy exercises.) Maybe this is 10 minutes every day before you shower, or before you make lunch for the kids, or right after you drop them off at school… Whatever works best for your schedule, block off those 10 minutes for yourself.

Perhaps some of these ideas will resonate with you. Others may not. Maybe you have a few simple strategies of your own that have sat on your “Personal Health To-Do List” for months and months. Whatever strategies you choose — Make 2022 the year that your daily, caregiving routine also prioritizes your personal care needs.

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Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her four-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

Community Sharing Keogh Kids The Arc Amplified

Community Sharing:

The Keogh Kids Enjoy The Arc Amplified!! Book Read-Aloud: “Can I Join Your Club?”

Thank you to the Keogh family of Lynnwood for sharing this photo of their kids Luca and Caia watching our recently posted READ-ALOUD of the book: “Can I Join Your Club?”

WATCH IT HERE!

THE ARC AMPLIFIED would love to share your story! Do you have a story of inclusion you want to share? Are you leading local advocacy efforts? Has your family or loved one benefited from activities or programs in Snohomish County that are designed to advance community inclusion?

Please share your story! We want to know!

Email Whitney Stohr, Parent to Parent Coordinator, at whitney@arcsno.org, or call 425-258-2459 x106.

Learning About Housing Resources The Arc Amplified

Housing Considerations and Helpful Resources for People with Disabilities

In this post, we seek to highlight some helpful resources for individuals with disabilities, their care-partners and families, who want to better understand housing policies and the options available to people with disabilities. The resources below may be especially helpful for those who are new to the world of disability and housing and/or the vast array of issues (e.g. finances, caregiving) that can impact available housing options and financial support.

The Arc of Snohomish County

Housing Resourcesarcsno.org/resources/housing

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

Community Residential Services for Adults 

Information: Community First Choice (CFC) & Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS)  

Community Homes

A nonprofit organization that provides, promotes and sustains exceptional community-based housing for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Informational Webinars: Housing Readiness Workshops 

Washington State Father’s Network

A nonprofit organization connecting and supporting the fathers and male caregivers of children with disabilities and complex medical needs.

On March 1st, 2022, the Father’s Network will host a webinar/workshop on the topic “Planning for Housing: Accessing Benefits, Roommate Matching, and Shared Living Development Services.” Register to attend this workshop, and others, at fathersnetwork.org/training-workshops.

Open Doors for Multicultural Families

A nonprofit organization providing culturally and linguistically relevant information, services and programming for diverse families of persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Access information, or connect with Open Doors staff, at multiculturalfamilies.org.

Caregiver Resolutions Advocacy The Arc Amplified

New Year Resolutions for the Busy Parent-Caregiver:

Grow Your Advocacy Chops!

A sentiment often shared by parents of children with disabilities is their wish to get more involved in advocacy efforts. It is obvious they possess unique experiences and an understanding of social and political issues that impact their kids and their families. Parents and caregivers have important stories to share and wonderful ideas to improve policies to better serve their kids and communities.

It is abundantly clear that parents of kids with disabilities are ready to step up as community change-makers. They possess the knowledge, the experience, the skills, the passion and the pragmatism.

What they do not often possess is time.

Parents are busy. All parents are busy. It is often part of the gig of becoming a parent.

But, parents of kids with disabilities are off-the-charts busy. We all know this.

Parents of kids with disabilities do all the regular parenting stuff…

And then, second-shift parenting begins, during which parents transform into a caregiver, a nurse, a teacher, a therapist, a pharmacist, a personal assistant, and more…

And all of this is in addition to whatever type of outside employment parents may hold, and whatever parenting or caregiving is required for their other children or family members.

THE RESULT: Many parents of kids with disabilities want to get involved in advocacy, but they do not see how that can be done.

THE ANSWER: Incrementally.

Small steps, my friends.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when considering how to become involved in advocacy. There are so many policies that need attention. There are so many issues that need dedicated champions to push for change. That is obvious. However, it is impossible for one person to advocate, with any degree of commitment, on *all* the issues. And, that, too, is okay.

Your involvement in advocacy, at any level, on whatever issue, or issues, are most important to you, is absolutely worth it. Your presence makes change happen.

So, for those parents and caregivers who want to step up their advocacy game in 2022, here is a RESOLUTION for you:

Commit to 20 minutes of dedicated advocacy once per week.

Put it on your calendar and treat it as an appointment that you must keep.

That is it. Start there — with that first incremental step — and see where your year takes you….

Use that 20 minutes to read — without distraction — books and articles about what it means to be an advocate, or how to engage in the advocacy process.

Use that 20 minutes to write — without distraction — about your personal advocacy goals. Advocacy can occur at all levels of government. Do you want to advocate for increased accessibility at local playgrounds? Do you want to advocate in the local school district for increased inclusion of kids with disabilities in general education? Is there a state law that really needs to change? Is there a national advocacy group that you dream of joining? Whatever it is, write those goals down on paper, and tape that piece of paper to your bathroom mirror. Look at it every morning when you are brushing your teeth. Think about those goals in the shower. Keep thinking about them.

Use that 20 minutes each week to study issues that are important to you.

Use that 20 minutes to reach out to other family caregivers who are also working on those same issues.

Use that 20 minutes to learn about your state legislative district and those who serve your community. Then, send them an email sharing the story of your family and the issues that are important to you.

Each week, take your next incremental step forward into advocacy during that 20-minute appointment with yourself.

Change occurs over time. Change happens slowly — often, more slowly than we would like. But, change happens when people get involved. And, even 20 minutes of your time can be part of driving that change.

And who knows? Maybe your 20 minutes will incrementally turn into 30 minutes, and then an hour each week…

And then, soon, you will look back and realize just how much change was brought about by that first 20-minute, incremental step.

There is no better time than the present to take a first step.

**********

Whitney Stohr is a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent/family caregivers. She lives with her three-year-old son Malachi and husband Jason in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

Read Aloud Can I join Your Club The Arc Amplified

READ-ALOUD: Can I Join Your Club?

Duck wants to join a club. But he can’t ROAR like Lion or TRUMPET like Elephant. What’s a duck to do?

Duck starts his own club – and everyone is welcome! Because when it comes to making friends, being yourself is all that counts!

Do you want to join a club where everyone’s welcome?

 

Join Whitney Stohr a Parent to Parent Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County, as she reads: Can I Join Your Club?, written by John Kelly and illustrated by Steph Laberis (published 2017 by Little Tiger Press Ltd., UK, and Kane Miller Publishing, USA).

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