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Welcome to The Arc Amplified!

Sharing stories of inclusion, advocacy, and empowerment across Snohomish County

A 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.

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

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!

Send an email to:
Whitney Stohr
Parent to Parent Coordinator
whitney@arcsno.org
or call (425) 258-2459 x 106.

  • How to Engage in Advocacy During the 2022 August Congressional Recess

    93. Advocacy During the 2022 August Recess The Arc Amplified

    How to Engage in Advocacy During the 2022 August Congressional Recess

    Each year, our national legislators in Congress recess for the month of August. They take this time away from Congress to return to their home states and, often, use the time to meet with constituents, attend events or participate in Town Hall meetings. This mid-year recess is an opportunity for advocates to engage their legislators and share their views, concerns and perspectives. (Click here to learn more about the annual August Recess.)

    The Arc of the United States recently shared a document with ideas and methods for engaging with elected legislators. Here are some ideas.

    Check the website of your members of Congress to see what options they have to connect with constituents this month. You may find in-person or virtual options. [Click here to identify your members of Congress.]

    Connect on Twitter! Snap a picture, post it on social media with a sentence or two about what you are advocating for, and tag your members of Congress. You can find a list of Congressional Twitter handles here: https://tinyurl.com/4fk8r6ae.

    Join town hall meetings hosted by your representatives and senators, encourage advocates to join, and ask questions about issues that are important to the disability community. You can find upcoming town hall meetings at townhallproject.com.

    Say thank you. Have your members of Congress recently supported legislation that is important to you? Thank them! Write an email, send a letter, or snap a picture to share on social media, tagging them in your thank you message.

    Connect with The Arc to join an in-person or virtual meeting with your legislators. Introduce yourself and talk about issues that are important to you and your family. [The Arc of Snohomish County can help connect you. Email us!]

    Draft an email to share your story and important issues with your legislators. You can also share your story and tag your legislators on social media.

    Learn more about policy issues of Federal importance on The Arc U.S. website at thearc.org/policy-advocacy.

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    Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager at The Arc of Snohomish County. She is passionate about advocating for medically complex children and children with disabilities and their families. She is especially interested in caregiving policy and advocacy. She is a mom and medical caregiver herself, who is energized by working closely with other parent and family caregivers. She lives with her spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

     
  • Local Disability Rights Advocates Attend New Arc Leadership Workshop

    Recap Arc Leadership Advocacy Workshop The Arc Amplified 2

    Local Disability Rights Advocates Attend New Arc Leadership Workshop on July 23rd

     

    The Arc of Snohomish County welcomed a dozen local disability rights advocates at a leadership training event on Saturday, July 23rd, 2022. Event trainees included parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities, adult self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and leaders working professionally in the field.

    The Leadership & Advocacy Workshop launched a new biannual training program that The Arc hopes will further support and engage new and emerging voices leading the disability rights movement in Snohomish County and across the state.

    The workshop was developed and facilitated by Rachel Kube, The Arc’s Advocacy & Communications Coordinator, with support from other Arc staff members, who contributed presentations on leadership, advocacy, coalition-building, goal-setting and effective communication.

    During the event, trainees discussed what it means to be a leader, leadership qualities and skills, and different types of leadership styles. They learned about legislative advocacy and the policymaking process, how to engage in legislative advocacy, and what it means to advocate at the local, county and state levels. Trainees talked about disability policies and issues that are important to them and in which they hope to engage further as leaders and advocates.

    Leadership Workshop Word Cloud

    [Pictured: A word cloud created together by trainees listing the strengths and qualities they value in leadership.]

    The biggest take-away lessons from the July 23rd training:

    We are all leaders! Every single one of us has what it takes to lead, to advocate, to engage and to speak out on issues and policies that matter.

     

    There are different ways to lead! We can be a leader within our families, our neighborhood or our faith community. We can engage in local leadership, in our city or county, by joining workgroups or sitting on local boards or commissions. We can be a parent leader at our child’s school or PTA group. We can support a nonprofit organization, either as a board member, a donor, or an event volunteer or fundraiser. There are countless ways to serve and countless ways to lead.

     

    Are you interested in leadership?

    Are you interested in learning more about advocacy?

    If so, contact The Arc of Snohomish County, by email, at Whitney@arcsno.org, or by phone, at (425) 258-2459 x102, to share your leadership and advocacy interests and discuss possible opportunities to get involved.

    Our self-paced, virtual Arc Leadership Training curriculum is available to those interested in learning more about the history of the disability rights movement, current policies and areas in which advocates can get involved to create positive change. Contact Rachel@arcsno.org to learn more.

    We also offer training opportunities for self-advocates. Virtual workshops for self-advocates are scheduled for Thursday, August 4th, 2022, 1-3 PM, and Thursday, August 11th, 2022, 6-8 PM. Contact jessie@arcsno.org for more information. Adult self-advocates can also contact Leigh Spruce at leigh@arcsno.org to discuss their leadership goals.

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    https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitneystohr/">Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager 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 spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

     
  • READ-ALOUD: The Lucky Blue Angel

    91. Read Aloud The Lucky Blue Angel The Arc Amplified

    READ-ALOUD: The Lucky Blue Angel

     

    Lucky McGuire is a spirited Navy jet with big dreams. Lucky loves to fly and be with his friends. Lucky dreams of becoming a Blue Angel, but does not know where his next adventure will take him. Will it be flying in the skies with his buddies, or will he be sent to the dreaded aircraft storage yard in the desert?

    Find out what is in store for Lucky as he chases his dreams!

     

     

    (Click here to read more)

    Join Whitney Stohr, Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager at The Arc of Snohomish County, as she reads: The Lucky Blue Angel, written by author Robert Flynn and illustrated by Kevin Coffey (published 2011 by Mascot Books, Inc.).

    Then, next month, from Friday, August 5th, through Sunday, August 7th, 2022, turn your eyes to the skies in Seattle for a real-life appearance of Blue Angel jets as they razzle and dazzle at the Seafair Air Show. It is quite the performance!

    Originally founded in 1950, the annual nonprofit festival Seafair has brought exciting events and family fun to the Seattle area. With events spanning a total of ten weeks throughout the summer, over two million people participate in Seafair activities each year. The festival currently supports seven Signature events, including Seafair Summer 4th, Milk Carton Derby, Seafair Triathlon & Kids Triathlon, the Torchlight Parade, Fleet Week and the Seafair Weekend Festival. Additionally, the festival promotes over 25 related community events. Visit seafair.org for more information.

     
  • Advocacy Spotlight: Laura Akers

    Advocacy Spotlight Laura Akers The Arc Amplified

    Advocacy Spotlight: Laura Akers

    Laura Akers is a self-advocate from Everett who manages multiple jobs while advocating for herself and others.

    “I keep busy. I have three jobs. I’ve been working at Lumen Field since 2015, Angel of the Winds Arena since 2018, and just started at Climate Pledge Arena in October 2021. I work at guest services, as a ticket-taker, or as an usher, depending on the day. I’m able to make my own schedule, so I’m able choose when and where I work. It takes a lot of planning, though. I have to ride the light rail and multiple buses to get to work, so I have to make sure I have plenty of time to get there.”

    Laura was able to find these employment opportunities on her own and used her job coach to help her apply to each one.

    “I found the Lumen Field job online and my job coach helped me with the application. I heard about the Angel of the Winds job through word of mouth, and Climate Pledge was also online. My job coach helped me with all the applications, but I arrange everything myself now.”

    Laura’s work experience has helped with her own self-advocacy, helping her advocate for herself, and in doing so, helping her advocate for others.

    “I advocate for myself and others with accessibility. I need a chair for certain things and making sure I have that is advocacy. Now, I advocate for accessibility for others. I advocate to make sure medical equipment is accessible and make sure everyone can participate.”

    Beyond her personal advocacy, Laura is also actively involved in local groups for self-advocates, including People First of Snohomish County and The Arc’s Women’s Group.

    “I have a lot of ideas that I’m always suggesting. I have lot of staycation ideas.”

    In March of 2022, Laura began serving on the Citizens Accessibility Advisory Committee for Sound Transit.

    “It was really important to me to get on that board. They really wanted somebody with disabilities to speak about accessibility for the light rail expansion. They don’t think about location a lot, and I can tell them a location won’t work because of traffic. Like, they wanted a stop on Casino Road [in Everett], and I told them that is a very dangerous place to cross and, hopefully, they’ll be moving it.”

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    Originally published in The Arc of Snohomish County: Leadership Collective Newsletter, Issue 2 - 2022. Written by Jake Murray, Parent/Family Coalition Coordinator.

     
  • Self-Advocacy Report: A Focus on Accessible Transportation

    Self Advocacy Report Accessible Transportation July 2022 The Arc Amplified

    Self-Advocacy Report: A Focus on Accessible Transportation

    On May 25th, 2022, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) hosted an online listening session to discuss transportation issues around the country and what plans are being put forward to address them. The ultimate goal of the DOT is to find where the most services are needed and address those issues in alignment with President Biden’s goal to promote and ensure equity.

    One of the goals discussed was to grant more funding to smaller, underserved communities to support small businesses, bringing them to various communities, as well as creating ways for people to get to them. This will give everyone who is underserved in their communities a chance to participate equally. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg stated: “Everyone is deserving [of equity] in their lives,” and that equal access, particularly to transit, helps change lives.

    Secretary Buttigieg continued to discuss how the original intent of public transportation was to be equal and how it needs to work to provide equal access to everyone for connection to work, medical care, and life, in general.

    Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg spoke specifically about supporting [the Americans with Disabilities Act] and that $22 billion would allow for more accessibility with emphasis on building safer streets. This would include easier sidewalk access, accessible transit stations, and better access to Amtrak and other rail solutions.

    Due to a higher cost of living in a lot of areas, more people are moving from metropolitan regions to more rural locations. Discussions have focused on increasing paratransit access to rural areas to help with the influx of more people to these communities. Secretary Buttigieg has discussed increasing funding by up to 44% for rural paratransit expansion. This would greatly help rural areas by creating more inclusion and providing affordable transportation options to more people in more areas.

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    Originally published in The Arc of Snohomish County: Leadership Collective Newsletter, Issue 2 - 2022.

    Leigh Spruce is a Self-Advocacy Coordinator at The Arc of Snohomish County. In this role, she supports engagement activities and leadership and advocacy training for adults with disabilities in Snohomish County and across the Puget Sound region. She serves on numerous community boards and committees and is an engaged activist for disability rights. Contact Leigh Spruce at leigh@arcsno.org.

     
  • Leadership Collective Newsletter — Spring 2022

    88. Leadership Newsletter 2022 2 Published The Arc Amplified 1

    JUST RELEASED: Leadership Collective Newsletter — Spring 2022

     

    The Arc of Snohomish County published the Spring 2022 e-newsletter — recently re-branded as the “LEADERSHIP COLLECTIVE” quarterly publication — on July 5th.

    The Leadership Collective shares stories of leadership and advocacy, as well as upcoming events and educational opportunities for parents and family caregivers, self-advocates, professionals and disability rights activists and allies. The publication focuses on disability visibility, advocacy, leadership and knowledge.

    This most recent edition is Issue 2 of the 2022 newsletter series. It features an “Advocacy Spotlight” article on Laura Akers, a local self-advocate and Arc Trained Leader. The newsletter also includes information about a variety of upcoming leadership and advocacy training opportunities.

    View the complete newsletter at http://tiny.cc/2022leadershipNewsletter2.

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    Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager 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 spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

     
  • Disability Pride Month 2022

    87. Disability History Month 2022 The Arc Amplified

    Disability Pride Month 2022

    In July, we recognize Disability Pride Month. This is the month when we celebrate disability and the disability community as a beautiful and integral part of our state and nation.

    Disability Pride began as a day of celebration in 1990 — the same year the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by then President George H. W. Bush. The first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston that year, and the celebration has since expanded nationwide and transformed into a month-long event. Today, cities across the country celebrate Disability Pride Month with parades, festivals, educational opportunities and other events.

    As with all demographic groups, it is important to remember that the disability community is not a monolith. People with disabilities may hold dramatically different viewpoints and perspectives on topics, including the purpose, meaning and value of recognizing Disability Pride Month.

    Shared below are various perspectives about Disability Pride Month from individuals with disabilities.

    “The reason behind the month is a chance to share the joy and pride that disabled people can bring to their local and global communities. The disabled community is a vibrant part of society and makes up 15% of the population, and we are proud of that.” (Caroline Casey, writing for Forbes.com: “Disability Pride Month July — July 4, 2022)

    AmeriDisability describes Disability Pride as ‘accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity’ and connects it to the larger movement for disability justice.” (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

    “Disability Pride, much like LGBTQ+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming our visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces.”  —Laken Brooks, University of Florida graduate student, writer and digital storyteller. (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

    “I think that there is an importance in Disability Pride due to the consistent shame around the topic of disability in the first place. Choosing to be forthright about having a disability is considered ‘brave’ because there is a very tangible fear of being treated either differently interpersonally, or blocked professionally.”  —Taneasha White, Black queer writer and activist with chronic pain, based in Richmond, VA. (Krystal Jagoo, writing for verywellmind.com: “Understanding Disability Pride Month” ­— July 23, 2021)

    “We should also see this as a moment to understand some people may not feel comfortable disclosing [their disability or showing pride in their disability]. We must respect that we are all on our own personal journeys and at various stages. If having this month can allow others to feel seen and have the confidence to be open with their disability, that is good enough.” (Caroline Casey, writing for Forbes.com: “Disability Pride Month July” — July 4, 2022)

    “For me this month is not only about celebrating disabilities but remembering there’s going to be days where you won’t always love your disability, and that’s OK too.”  —Rebecca Cokley, three-time Presidential appointee, activist and author. (Gabriela Miranda, writing for USAToday.com: “A Chance to ‘Amplify One Another’: What is Disability Pride Month?” — July 4, 2021)

    However you choose to recognize Disability Pride Month, I hope this month of July is one of self-expression, self-confidence and self-love.

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    Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager 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 spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

     
  • New Disability Documentary: “Together They Were Stronger”

    Together They Were Stronger The Arc Amplified

    New Disability Documentary: “Together They Were Stronger”

    On May 25th, 2022, at the University of Washington Haring Center for Inclusive Education, more than 300 participants joined together for the debut showing of the new documentary short-film Together They Were Stronger.

    “Together They Were Stronger, produced by Thriving Communities, documents the story of how four Seattle women mounted a civil rights campaign to establish the first-ever disability rights law in the United States, [House Bill/HB 90].” (Read more: tinyurl.com/3tvjsxk5.)

     

    Together They Were StrongerWashington Governor Dan Evans signed what became known as the Education for All Act in 1971. This law guaranteed for students with disabilities in Washington State the right to receive an education in state public schools. This law would eventually provide the framework for the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is now the legal foundation for special education and early intervention/birth-to-three services across the U.S.

     (Pictured: Gov. Dan Evans with Northwest Center founders Janet Taggart [left], Cecile Lindquist, Evelyn Chapman and Katie Dolan, alongside University of Washington law students Bill Dussault and George Edensword-Breck. Photo from Washington State Archives.)

     Following the premiere showing of the film on May 25th, a panel discussion and Q&A was held that featured panelists:

    Watch the event recording and discussion panel online at youtu.be/fZeNth7l8UA.

    Access the full event packet and additional information at tinyurl.com/269zz2nx.

    Did you miss the debut showing? No problem! View it online at vimeo.com/714609859.

     

    Check it out!! This film captures exactly what parent/caregiver leadership and advocacy can look like and how it can change our communities, our state and every state.

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    Whitney Stohr is the Leadership & Independent Living Program Manager 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 spouse and their four-year-old son Malachi in Lynnwood. Connect with her on Instagram @rollin.w.spinabifida. Contact: whitney@arcsno.org.

     
  • Arc Staff 4th of July

    86. Ask THE ARC Staff 4th of July The Arc Amplified

    Ask THE ARC Staff 4th Alaina Whitney

    Ask THE ARC Staff 4th Jennifer Luz

    Ask THE ARC Staff 4th Jenny

    Ask THE ARC Staff 4th Leigh Courtney

    Ask THE ARC Staff 4th Nicki

    Ask THE ARC Staff Jenna

    Ask THE ARC Staff Jessie

    Ask THE ARC Staff Tara

     
  • A Community Story: “Amazing Mamas,” Friendship and Fun

    85. A Community Story Jill Ford The Arc Amplified

    A Community Story: “Amazing Mamas,” Friendship and Fun

    A STORY BY JILL FORD, ARC LEADER & SNOHOMISH COUNTY MOM:

     Jill Ford Amazing Mamas

    Jill Ford is a Snohomish County mom of a child with a disability and a leader in her community.

    Recently, Jill joined other mom friends for a weekend camping get-away. This group of moms met years ago through their connection to The Arc as parents and loved ones of people with disabilities. Each of these moms are trained Arc leaders and engaged members of their communities.

    Here is the story Jill shared:

    I had sooooo much fun last weekend camping with friends. It’s our 5th annual “Amazing Mamas” camping trip.

    We all have a child with special needs or are very involved with loved ones with special needs. There really is nothing like the comfort of finding people who just get it, jump into help without asking, and aren’t afraid. Our glow stick parade through the campground was the best.

    If you are a special needs family and are feeling isolated and lonely (which, if you are a special needs family, you probably feel this way) seek out your local Arc chapter.

    Jill Ford Camping 1

     

    My daughter attends Sibshops, and I have attended Mother’s Network meetings with The Arc of Snohomish County. It’s between those groups that I befriended other moms who “get it.” Both my daughter and I have made friends for life!

    Jill Ford Camping 3

     

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The Arc of Snohomish County is currently working remotely: 

Monday - Friday from 10am - 3pm

127 E. Intercity Ave. Suite C
Everett, WA 98208

(425) 258-2459