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Northeast Arc Trains Workers on New Ice Cream Machine

Breaking Grounds, the Main Street coffee shop that’s already distinguished itself from its competitors, has added Treadwell’s soft serve ice cream to the menu.

On a recent weekday, Brett Gray served a dish of sweet, creamy vanilla in a cup to a customer who wanted it topped with M&Ms, sprinkles and pieces of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

The 22-year-old Veterans Memorial High School graduate is one of the cafe workers learning new skills.

The frosty treat couldn’t come at a better time. July’s heat wave set a record in Boston and soared past its previous monthly high from July 1983, according to weather.com. Boston racked up a dozen days of 90-degree-plus high temperatures last month, and the overnight lows were also oppressive.

The idea to serve ice cream came from Steven Rosenthal, a Marblehead resident and founder of West Shore LLC, a Boston real estate private equity company. Two years ago, he donated $1 million to Northeast Arc, the nonprofit owner of the cafe. The Danvers agency’s mission is to assist people with disabilities.

“I wanted to do something different, innovative, even disruptive, in a positive sense,” he said at the time. “The idea was to find a way to literally change lives one at a time.”

Gray, an Arc client, underwent more than three months of training in the coffee shop where he learned to make coffee, sandwiches and espresso drinks. Last month, he was taught to serve ice cream and clean the $8,000 machine.

“This job has meant I can learn all kinds of different things,” he said. “I’ve learned how to make yogurt, oatmeal, chicken salad, and last week I was trained to work the espresso machine. At first, it was kind of hard, then it got easier.”

City Councilor-at-Large Thomas Gould, owner of Treadwell’s ice cream and an Arc booster, conducted the training.

Read the entire article on the Daily Item web site:


Northeast Arc’s Breaking Grounds Cafe Offering Ice Cream

With the addition of a new, soft-serve ice cream machine, Breaking Grounds Cafe is again breaking ground.

It’s now the first locally owned shop selling ice cream in downtown Peabody.

The cafe, which opened in 2016, is not an ordinary coffee shop. It is run by Northeast Arc, the Danvers-based human service agency, as a way to train people with disabilities to work in the food service industry. At Breaking Grounds, they work alongside people who do not have disabilities, typically for about three months before moving on to other jobs.

So far, Breaking Grounds has trained about 30 people who have gone on to jobs at Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, Flatbread Pizza and Starbucks. A former Breaking Grounds employee works at the Yard House Restaurant in Lynnfield, another at the Daily Harvest Cafe in Danvers.

Recently, Breaking Grounds added a soft-serve ice cream machine, along with a variety of toppings, becoming one of the few places on Main Street where you can grab an ice cream.

“There is none,” said Councilor-at-large Tom Gould said of the other ice cream options downtown. “Breaking Grounds is what it’s all about. It really is helping the members of the community.”

Gould, who owns Treadwell’s ice cream, about a mile away, helped them find the soft-serve machine. The cafe is serving Treadwell’s ice cream, served in Treadwell’s cups.

Jo Ann Simons, CEO of Northeast Arc, said adding ice cream to the menu means giving their clients new, marketable skills.

“Cleaning a soft-serve machine is a skill that is transferable to other ice cream shops; being able to measure appropriately ice cream sizes, add toppings,” she said. “So our folks are going to be able to get jobs not only in coffee shops, but now in ice cream shops.”

The idea, she said, came from Steve Rosenthal of Marblehead, the founder of a real estate investment firm who donated $1 million to Northeast Arc in 2017…

Read the entire Salem News article here:


Northeast Arc’s Jo Ann Simons applauds bills to increase job training and health care opportunities for those with disabilities

For U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, there is a personal reason why he has championed two bipartisan bills to increase job training and health care opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Moulton is co-sponsoring legislation for those with disabilities in light of his late uncle, Andrew M. Meader, who lived much of his life in Longmeadow, to the south of Springfield, and who was born with Down syndrome on June 24, 1964.

Moulton’s grandparents already had six kids, including Moulton’s mother, Lynn, of Marblehead, when Meader was born, but they brought him home instead of having him institutionalized, which was the recommendation of doctors in those days, Moulton said.

“But my grandparents brought him home, introduced him to his six brothers and sisters, one of whom was my mom, and he became an integral part of our family,” said Moulton, who grew up in Marblehead.

While it was not always easy for his grandparents, Moulton said his uncle went on to live a productive life.

“Far from being a burden on our family’s lives, he brightened our lives every day,” Moulton said.

Moulton wound up talking about his uncle and one of the bills he is sponsoring, called the HEADs Up Act, at the start of his presidential bid during the Politics and Eggs Breakfast in Bedford, N.H., on April 24.

Read the entire Salem News article here:


A Father’s Two Worlds Intersect on the Autism Spectrum

My work in the field of applied behavior analysis, special education and psychology started over 15 years ago when I graduated from Northeastern University and started working as an assistant at a school for those with traumatic brain injury.

As I further defined my career choices by continuing my education in these areas, I always wanted to make a difference and help people. My work at the Northeast Arc has allowed me to continue my efforts in helping to change lives every day.

When pursuing my education and starting my career, I never thought it would end up being invaluable in how I raise a child.

Having a child wasn’t high on my list of priorities at that point, so I usually would brush off talk from my friends that I would be a great dad to a child with special needs. I would see those around me with family members or kids with autism, but I never really entertained the thought of it happening to me.

Read entire column in the Eagle Tribune:


Northeast Arc & Salem News Partner for Autism Essay Contest

When the Northeast Arc decided they wanted to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month by hosting an essay contest for teenagers who have siblings with Autism, we turned to the Salem News to see if they would help to promote it.  They immediately said yes and not only promoted the contest but ran the winning essays in the paper.

Here’s the first place essay titled, “My Sunshine” by Ashley McKean, 17, of Melrose, Massachusetts;

When my dad died three years ago, it was like the world had stopped spinning. All I could think about, all day and all night, was how are my mom and brother going to be okay? Aside from the worry over what this was doing to my brother, who was my dad’s best friend, came along with the excruciating worry of something happening to one of them also. Through the worry, I remembered something, though. After my dad’s accident, I was in hysterics. I went to my brother and hugged him so tight, I refused to let go. I just screamed and cried, and through all this, my brother, who is extremely sensitive to stress, to loud noises, who cannot even speak, put his arms around me and hugged me back. My brother who everyone deemed could not feel emotion, could not understand love or happiness or sadness, or anything really, proved them wrong. In the midst of the hardest moment of my life, I wasn’t the one trying to help my brother, he was the one who was there to help me. The boy the world claimed would never know the difference between good and bad, love and hate, or anything at all really. Every day he just proves the world wrong with his unconditional love that comes so naturally from his heart. So when I worry about losing my sunshine, my brother, I remember that he is stronger than anyone thinks, he is more than what you think.

Read the Salem News article with all of the winning essays here:


Salem News Announces Northeast Arc Essay Contest For National Autism Awareness Month

An essay contest sponsored by Northeast Arc is shining a light on the brothers and sisters of kids growing up with autism.

In the contest, siblings ages 14 to 20 are encouraged to write about their perspectives and their experiences.

“We wanted to give the siblings a voice, and not just making everything bright and cheery,” said Susan Gilroy, director of the Autism Support Center at Northeast Arc. “But we wanted to hear what their struggles were, what their successes are and what they’ve learned along the way with their siblings.”

A developmental disorder, autism affects the way a person communicates and interacts with others. It can range in severity, but Gilroy explained that people with autism typically face social challenges in their daily lives.

For a sibling of someone with autism, that can mean embarrassment at school, or struggles or feelings of neglect at home.

“Siblings are often lost in the daily life of the family when the family is coping with an autism diagnosis,” said Gilroy. “We just want to be sensitive to them.”

Brothers and sisters play important roles in the lives of people with autism.

Read the entire story on the Salem News web site:


Peabody Man To Run Boston Marathon To Support Northeast Arc

Mike Gould has a unique reason for putting himself through the 26.2-mile ordeal of the Boston Marathon: to see if he can someday push others.

“My main goal is to push someone in a wheelchair for the whole race,” he said. “I figure if I’m going to do that, I may as well see whether I can run it myself.”

Gould, 33, will run to benefit the Northeast Arc, an organization out of Danvers that strives to make life better for those with disabilities.

He got the inspiration to push a wheelchair-bound person through both Team Hoyt — the famous father-son duo that do the Marathon annually — and Craig Welton, Arc’s chief development officer.

“He runs while pushing someone in a wheelchair,” said Gould, whose family owns Treadwell’s Ice Cream in Peabody.

Gould found out that Northeast Arc had some marathon bibs available. The only thing he had to do to get one of the official numbers to run was to raise $7,500 for the charity — a figure he has already exceeded by more than $2,500.

Read the entire article on the Daily Item web site:


Northeast Arc CEO Supports Special Olympics in Boston Globe Article

I read “Joe Kennedy on proposed cuts to Special Olympics: ‘This will never happen. Full stop.’ ” (BostonGlobe.com, March 27) with both deep concern that the secretary of education would even consider eliminating federal funding for the Special Olympics and great appreciation for US Representative Kennedy’s swift and committed reaction.

The Special Olympics is not just an athletic program for people with disabilities. It is an organization that changes lives. When Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics, she changed the world. I know she changed my life before I even had the privilege to meet her.

My oldest child, Jonathan, was born with Down syndrome and four heart defects. The first time I saw him, after he was whisked away to nearby Boston Children’s Hospital, he was hooked up to more machines than I had ever seen. I stroked his tiny leg and whispered into his ear, “You may never be in the Olympics, but maybe you will be in the Special Olympics.”

Read the entire letter to the editor on the Boston Globe web site:


Amesbury Resident to Run Boston Marathon for Northeast Arc

Shawn Ducrow, of Amesbury, will run in the 2019 Boston Marathon to raise money for the Northeast Arc.

Ducrow, a biomed technician at Fresenius Medical Care, commented on his mission. “As a health care provider, I work with vulnerable populations: medically compromised, impoverished, people with developmental disabilities,” Ducrow said. “Often times, they don’t know what their choices are because they are underrepresented or uninformed. It is important to me to make sure my patients are educated and informed, to be a voice in their own treatments. Inclusion to me means having a voice, being a self-advocate in their care.”

Ducrow’s wife, Jessica, works for the Northeast Arc. “I am proud to be a part of the first Northeast Arc marathon team and to represent an agency that is such a great resource and part of the community,” he said.

While this is Ducrow’s first Boston Marathon, he has run the Bay State Marathon in Lowell twice. He joined the Winner’s Circle Running club to help train and also created an “informal” network for his wife and some of their friends.

See the article on the Newburyport Current web site: