February 27,  2015

Let’s start the conversation about people with disabilities and justice in SC


Have you known someone with an intellectual or developmental disability to fall in between the cracks of the criminal justice system​​? The Arc of the Midlands has a program through The Arc — National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability — to build the capacity of the criminal justice system to respond to gaps in existing services for people with disabilities, focusing on I/DD who are hidden or have little access to advocacy, supports and services.

Mark your calendars for May 4 at the Marriott in downtown Columbia as The Arc of the Midlands brings the South Carolina Pathways to Justice Conference to law enforcement, victim service providers and legal professionals. We are also looking to connect with School Resource Officers and would love to have their presence at the conference. Discussion topics will include identification, communication and techniques for assessing potential crisis situations involving people with I/DD.

Registration opens March 6 so stay tuned for details regarding how and where to register. For more information or ways to get involved contact Melinda at melinda@arcmidlands.org.

FASD tool kits are available to providers, pregnancy centers in SC 


​The Arc of the Midlands has free tool kits and posters to deliver to providers and pregnancy centers across the state. The tool kit was developed to help health care professionals spread a consistent message to all women of child-bearing age: no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. If you know of a healthcare provider, please contact natalie@arcmidlands.org and let us know.

Meet Nichole!

Nichole Smith joins The Arc of the Midlands as a program manager and is excited to make a difference in South Carolina. Nichole is a native of Rocky Mount, N.C. and the sister of seven siblings. Nichole’s world changed when it was discovered that her oldest brother had Epilepsy at the age of five and developmentally delayed. Nichole was employed by The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region for 14 years in Aberdeen, Md. and was nominated for Employee of the Year. Working with children and adults with I/DD I is her passion. She is also a local editor, author, & poet. Contact her at nichole@arcmidlands.org.

Soda City Fun!

Mixed Greens and Walk with Ease teamed up Feb. 21 for a little Soda Cityscavenger fun. Everyone bundled up and braved the cold for this downtown Columbia farmer’s market featuring an array of local vendors. For information about any of these programs, contact Melinda or Natalie. Check out these pictures!


Save the Dates!

Disability Advocacy Day returns to the SC Statehouse March 4. Visit www.scdisabilityadvocacy.org for the schedule and more information.

Learn about the ins and outs of nonprofits in the Community Leadership Academy from 1:30-4:30 p.m. March 3-April 7 at Able SC’s Midlands Office located at 136 Stonemark Lane, Ste. 100, Columbia, SC 29210. For more information or to register e-mail dtempio@able-sc.org or call 800-681-6805 or TTY 803-779-0949.

Plant Yourself at Soda City from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. March 14 or anytime in between. The Mixed Greens team will be somewhere on the 1500 Block of Main Street in downtown Columbia hanging out with local vendors, farmers and other small businesses. For more information, contact Natalie at Natalie@arcmidilands.org or talk or text to 803-479-8773.

Don’t forget to move your clocks forward March 8 for Daylight Savings Time.

Let technology be your friend at the SC Assistive Technology Expo. Dream, believe and achieve. All are invited to the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center from 9 am-4 pm March 26. The location is: 1066 Sunset Boulevard, West Columbia, SC 29169. For more information, click here.

Lexington’s police department is hosting a special needs community event from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. March 28 at Virginia Hilton Park, 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington. You’ll get a chance to meet and greet the local public safety officers and the police department is revamping and revitalizing the special needs park. For more information, contact the Community Action Team at 803-358-1504 or cmortenson@lexsc.com.

Wings for Autism is flying in to Columbia April 18. This airport rehearsal program allows kids and adults on the autism spectrum to get a feel for flying to ease any anxiety they may have. We are thrilled to partner with Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Delta, The Arc of SC, PRO-Parents of SC, SC Autism Society and Early Autism Project. Registration is ongoing forparticipants and volunteers but hurry up because seats are filling up FAST!

Have family-friendly fun at Abundant Life Therapy’s Kid Biking for Kids Bike Race. Bring your bikes and don’t forget your helmet as kids from 3-13 years are invited to participate in a 1-mile fun loop at Lake Carolina’s Village Green, 212 Eascott Place, Columbia, SC 29229. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. April 18 and proceeds benefit the Abundant Life Equipment Lending Library. For more information, call 803-720-5240 or e-mailabundantlifetherapy@gmail.com.

The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD) will launch their event in Columbia May 4 at the Marriott in downtown Columbia. If you are in the law enforcement field or a first responder, please contact Melinda Moore at melinda@arcmidlands.org. We also want to connect with families and people with I/DD.

Other Arc Midlands sponsored programs: 

Mixed Greens is an awesome community gardens and projects group with fun and inclusive activities to be scheduled throughout the year. Farmer’s markets, community gardens, Little Green Wagon and Adopt-a-Pot make up the programs in Mixed Greens. Learn gardening and sustainability skills while making new friendships!
Walk with Ease – is about getting people in the community together to promote and increase physical activity and build new friendships. The program includes people with and without developmental and intellectual disabilities that walk with one another. It’s a great way for people to meet friends and stay active!  We offer structured 18 week programs onsite (schools and residential settings) and weekly Saturday walks.
Wings for Autism: The Arc of the Midlands in collaboration with The Arc of South Carolina, Pro Parents, Early Autism Project and SC Autism society are implementing a Wings for Autism program in Columbia, SC in spring 2015 and in Augusta, GA in spring 2016. Wings for Autism® is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and aviation professionals. 
NCCJD Chapter Champions for Justice:  Through this program, The Arc of the Midlands will help build the capacity of the criminal justice system to effectively identify, serve and protect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), many of whom have “mild” disabilities that often go unnoticed among criminal justice professionals without appropriate training.  Follow NCCJD on Facebook!
Project Search is a business-led collaboration that enables young adults with disabilities to gain and maintain employment through training and career exploration!  The Arc of the Midlands in partnership with the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department and Lexington-Richland School District 5 has been awarded a grant through the South Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council to develop a Project Search site in the area.

Art and Autism

Are you a parent of a child between the ages of eight and 12? Has you child been diagnosed with autism and has interest in the arts? TheColumbia Museum of Art has an exciting program this April and May. The program is a doctoral research study through USC’s School of Library and Information Sciences consisting of six free visits to the art museum. Your child will learn, have fun and interact with others while contributing to important research on autism. 
In addition to becoming an artist, your child receives a guided gallery tour, actively learns and engages in art, attends group activities, is involved in hands on art making activities with diverse themes. The environment is safe and welcoming for your child and if your child participates in all six sessions, he or she is eligible for a chance to receive a gift card.
For more information, contact Liya Deng at USC by emailing dengle@email.sc.edu or calling 478-538-3265.

Happy Friday!


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The Arc of the Midlands 218-B East Main Street, Lexington, South Carolina 29072
Phone: 803-693-5746  |  Contact Us