Over the summer I was asked to take photos for The Arc of Evansville that helped portray the programs and services available for individuals with disabilities. What I thought would be a simple photography project turned out to be a life-changing experience. I grew up in the area, so I knew that The Arc of Evansville hosts The Really Big Show and that they help individuals with disabilities. I had no idea about the extent of the programs and services they offer and what they mean to the individuals involved!
I got to see an individual expressing their emotions freely during a Music Therapy session. I got to experience the liveliness of the Day Services program, where individuals were participating in different activities in every room. There was something for everyone to do! I met so many individuals working at Arc Industries and in Arc Enclaves who were proud to show off their work. It was inspiring to see that there are local businesses that support these work opportunities. I got to see Behavior Supports Services in action and how it offers opportunities to practice learned social skills. Seeing that these individuals have places where they can be with their peers and community members, feel comfortable to be themselves, and feel valued was incredible.
While visiting these programs, I learned about some of the obstacles and challenges these individuals have faced. I met a man in his early twenties who described how his childhood was filled with surgeries. He refused to let that set him back. He told me about how he started in The Arc’s Teen Summer Camp, got involved with volunteering through Connections For Life, and then moved on to the Community Job Link program. This program helped him find a job and continued working with him to achieve his goal of working independently! The Arc of Evansville supported him through every stage of his journey and helped him reach his goal!
The Arc of Evansville provides so many different opportunities that offer individuals with disabilities dignity and promote independence. My experience with The Arc of Evansville made me feel motivated to take action and support these individuals in our community. The amount of determination and perseverance that these individuals have is unlike anything else! Capturing moments where these individuals were experiencing joy was truly an honor. This experience is something that will always stay with me.
I urge you to get behind these individuals! By supporting the programs of The Arc of Evansville, you are creating opportunities for these individuals to live in a way that we all take for granted.