The Arc of Monroe, a nonprofit organization supporting people with disabilities in Monroe County, recently received $15,000 in grants from the trustee management board of NYSARC Trust Services.
A portion of the grant goes toward recreation programs like the Arc of Monroe’s James M. Papero enrichment program at Rochester Institute of Technology.
For 26 years, the Arc of Monroe has provided a weeklong inclusive experience for adults with developmental disabilities in partnership with RIT. The five-day, overnight summer program includes classes taught by RIT faculty and student volunteers, staff from the Arc of Monroe and members of the community. The program is named in memory of its late founder, James Papero, who was a professor at RIT, former Arc of Monroe board member and lifelong champion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Thirty-five people supported by the Arc of Monroe participated in classes taught by instructors in areas such as nutrition, creative problem solving, pet safety, personal budgeting, family trees, healthy mind and body, personal safety and canvas art. The program provides participants with the opportunity to experience hands-on recreational and educational classes in a college setting. Scholars interact with college students and faculty members, and get a taste of college life that includes eating in the cafeteria, staying overnight in the dorms and attending classes.
“The enrichment program offered the scholars the opportunity to expand their knowledge and experience base beyond what many thought was possible,” said Linda Riggs, senior director of programs and services. “The excitement of attending classes, eating in the dining hall and developing a unique camaraderie carried throughout the week, from Monday morning’s cautious anticipation right up to the completion ceremony on Friday. Every scholar was able to share what they had learned, and the impact on their lives was clearly visible as they shared stories with their families and housemates.”
A graduation ceremony at RIT celebrated the participants’ achievements.