Post-Convention Wrap Up

The Arc’s National Convention 2010 was a huge success thanks to all of the self-advocates, families, chapters, members, staff and professionals who took the time to come to Orlando, FL and celebrate 60 years with us.

Convention Evaluation

If you went to convention, we encourage you to take the time to provide feedback on the event. Take the survey here.


Photo Gallery:
For tons of photos, please check out our Flickr photo gallery.

Sprout Film Festival:
If you arrived on Wednesday for the Preconference from The Arc and NCE, we hope you enjoyed the Sprout Film Festival, “Making the Invisible Visible.” The audience was treated to a collection of short films created by or starring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Look for a Sprout Film Festival coming to a city near you in 2011 or check out for more information.

Sessions and Presentations:

Many sessions were standing room only this year. Some of the most popular were Living Safe in Your Community and Sharing Inspiration: Three of Life’s Success stories. You can see the entire program book here. We have Power Point presentations from some of the sessions and they are available here.

A Gleeful Convention:
At the opening plenary we introduced you to actors Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki from the hit TV show Glee. Emmy award-winning actor Jane Lynch offered congratulations via video as we awarded these two amazing women with the Inclusion and Image Award for their positive portrayals of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lauren and Robin spent hours signing autographs in the Exhibit Hall, graciously talked to fans and had their pictures taken, then they joined in the festivities dancing with the crowd at the Fabulous Florida Sunset Party.

The Arc’s New Brand:
We revealed the future of The Arc with a sneak peek at The Arc’s new brand identity and logo. Many chapters have already signed on to be early adopters when we launch the new brand publicly in March 2011. If you would like to know more about the branding initiative or if your chapter would like to sign the licensing agreement and get started at the same time as the national launch, contact Trudy Jacobson at

The Arc of Florida:
The Arc of Florida held their annual convention in conjunction with ours to make it a very special event. Approximately 250 self-advocates from Florida came in for the day on Thursday and kept things going well into the night at the Fabulous Florida Sunset Party. The Dance Fairies didn’t have any problem getting people out on the floor where a DJ was spinning some great tunes. In honor of The Arc’s 60th anniversary celebration, The Arc of Florida served towering “cakes” made of individual cupcakes.

Award Winners:
Throughout Convention, we honored accomplished people who have had an impact on the intellectual and developmental disability community through their work.

  • Inclusion and Image Award: Lauren Potter and Robin Trocki, Glee
  • Research Matters! Award: K. Charlie Lakin, Ph.D.
  • Advocacy Matters! Award in honor of Lorraine Sheehan: Margaret Lee Thompson, Coordinator, King County Parent Coalition for Developmental Disabilities.
  • Presidents Award: Marty Ford, Acting Director, Disability Policy Collaboration

Lasting Legacy: An Evening to Celebrate the Career of Paul Marchand
At the Closing Banquet we honored Paul Marchand for 38 years of service to The Arc. Paul will retire in January after 38 years of playing an instrumental role in most of our national disability policy including the right to a free public education, supported employment and the Americans with Disabilities Act. A special surprise guest, mayor-elect of Washington, D.C. and former Executive Director of the D.C. chapter of The Arc Vincent Gray popped in to wish Paul well. The evening was filled with humorous stories and sentimental praise for Paul and all he has done for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When it was his turn at the microphone, Paul surprised everyone by presenting a gift to immediate past president of The Arc Lynne Cleveland and Peter Burns, CEO of The Arc. A framed copy of recently-passed Rosa’s Law and the pen used by President Obama to sign it will hang in The Arc’s national office in Washington D.C. thanks to Paul.

Special Guests:
We were honored to hear from Sharon Lewis, the Commissioner for the U.S. Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Melody Musgrove, the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs for the U.S. Department of Education and Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for the Administration on Aging. These three prominent members of the federal departments overseeing a large portion of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities shared information on our government’s plans for the future and reassured us that they are very interested in listening to our concerns as we move forward with the implementation of new policy.

Autism Now Overview:
This year’s Convention saw the launch of Autism NOW!, a national autism resource and information center to be funded by a $1.87 million grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities.  Ann Cameron Caldwell and Tonia Ferguson from The Arc laid out the plans for a four-year initiative which will provide new resources and opportunities for people with ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Meeting the New Board Members
We got down to business at this year’s Convention by electing a new board and new president for The Arc, Mohan Mehra. Several of our past presidents joined us to help pass the torch from Lynne Cleveland to Mr. Mehra and we invited attendees to a Saturday afternoon reception to meet the new board members.

A Taste of the Rockies:
The Chapters of The Arc in Colorado cordially invited us to join them in Denver in 2011 for the next national convention. We’ll be “achieving new heights” a little earlier next year, so go ahead and make your plans to attend September 14-16, 2011.

Thanks again to our sponsors:
Mutual of America, MetLife, Hammer Travel, Essential Learning, Blackbaud, 501 (C) Agencies Trust, The HSC Foundation, Diversified Nonprofit Services, Orion Security, Social Solutions and AGS.