The Arc Bridges the Gaps for People with Disabilities

Photo: From left Robert Wilson, Janet Parker-Executive Director The Arc Caddo-Bossier, Clint Snell.  Seated:  Mattie Wilson.

Since 1954 The Arc Caddo-Bossier has led the state in the implementation of innovative and effective programs that meet the ever-growing needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  The Arc Caddo-Bossier Foundation’s Society is a group of people who know the value of The Arc’s programs and are helping ensure the future of these essential services in our community.

As Secretary of The Arc Caddo-Bossier Foundation, I attended the organization’s annual Appreciation Dinner on April 9, 2013. This is always an enjoyable event that I look forward to each year.   The evening is devoted to celebrating the people, companies and organizations that support the work of The Arc Caddo-Bossier Foundation.

What makes this dinner so special is that it gives all of us who support The Arc a chance to connect with each other, in a pressure free environment.  We have the opportunity to hear a first hand account from a beneficiary every year about how The Arc has made individuals’ lives better and how they, and we, have been enriched by the organization’s work with disabled people in our area.

The work The Arc does has a tremendous positive and practical impact on the quality of life of so many individuals, families and friends.

A few of the many ways they support those with developmental and intellectual disabilities include:

  •  Respite care
  •  Advocacy
  •  Employment services
  • Children ‘s services
  • Community living
  • Recreation and leisure 

This year, Mattie Wilson shared her story with us.  While each person’s situation is unique to that person and family, the constant is that The Arc was instrumental in enhancing their quality of life.

I encourage you to click on this link to read Mattie and Robert Wilson’s story.

Check out the story here.

Mattie and Robert Wilson’s Story as told the evening of April 9, 2013 at The Arc Caddo-Bossier Foundation Appreciation Dinner

In 1978, The Arc Caddo-Bossier developed the first respite service in Louisiana.  Today The Arc continues to offer both in-home and out-of-home respite services for families in our community who care for a child or adult with developmental disabilities at home.  Mattie Wilson discovered The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s services through a friend.

While living in Dallas, Mattie Wilson was traveling back to her hometown of Shreveport in the back seat of a vehicle with her children, and they were involved in a horrible accident.  Robert was a toddler, and her daughter was only 3 ½ years old.  Mattie does not remember much from that day, but she later learned the miracle of what happened next when her young daughter placed Robert by their mother and walked to get help.  She walked three miles before she was discovered by women passing by on the interstate.  They picked up the young girl who took them back to the scene of the accident which could not be seen from the road.  Mattie was in Baylor Hospital in a coma for two months.  After much hard work and therapy, Mattie developed the ability to use a wheelchair for mobility.

Two years later Mattie decided to move back to Shreveport.  As a single mother she would be near her family and long-time friends like JoAnn Gines who was a member of The Arc Caddo-Bossier Board of Directors.  JoAnn suggested that she contact The Arc for help, so Mattie called to find out what services were offered.

Robert who has developmental disabilities was 11 years old the first time he stayed in the Guest Home, The Arc Caddo-Bossier’s home for respite services.  All of The Arc employees are certified and trained, and after Mattie met with them, she felt that it would be a safe and enjoyable environment for Robert, and she was right.  Robert will soon be 30 years old, and he still visits the Guest Home.

The respite services at The Arc Caddo-Bossier have given Mattie the opportunity to continue to do things in her life that she would have not been able to do without their support and care for Robert.  She knows that when she leaves him at the Guest Home that Robert is in a safe place where people enjoy being with him and know how to care for him.  And Robert enjoys his time there.

“The Respite Services at The Arc Caddo-Bossier have allowed me to live independently and not give up on life.  I am able to go and still do things I want to do in life, but know that my child is being well cared for.  I am at ease – at peace.” – Mattie Wilson, April 2013