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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:

North Shore Cancer WALK Participant is Flocking for a Cure

A dozen plastic pink flamingos are making their way onto selected front lawns across the city, accompanied by a sign saying, “You got flocked.”

Flamingo Flocking is a national movement created to raise money to fight for breast cancer. Peabody resident Liz Mover is using it as a fun way to spread awareness of the North Shore Cancer Walk in Salem.

“It’s been an awesome way to get the community aware of the walk,” said Mover. It allows people to give a small donation to the cause and “send the flock to the next house.”

On Sunday, June 23, Mover and her 10-member team will participate in the 29th annual North Shore Cancer Walk under their group name “Team Breasties,” supporting a cause that has changed her life.

In February 2018, Mover was diagnosed with breast cancer. After feeling a lump and experiencing pain in her arm,  she went to the Mass General/North Shore Outpatient Center in Danvers, where she received a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy that same day.

Read the entire Salem news article here:

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:

Bill Cummings Speaks at Northeast Arc’s Black Box Theater

Businessman, real estate developer, philanthropist and one-time “juice man” Bill Cummings explained how he started small and made it big during a talk on Tuesday at Northeast Arc’s Black Box Theater.

About 100 people, including students from several North Shore schools, turned out to hear the conversation between Cummings, who is nearly 82 and lives in Winchester, and radio talk show host Kim Carrigan of Swampscott.

Later, he spent time greeting young people and signing his self-published autobiography, “Starting Small and Making it Big, An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist.”

“I thought it was great to hear how he got to where he is now,” said Danvers High junior Colby Thomson, who was impressed by how Cummings “changed his business strategy from making profits to giving back to the community.”

“No matter what happens in life,” Danvers High senior Skye Healy said, “you can always be successful.”

Cummings is the founder of Cummings Properties.

Read the entire article on the Salem News web site: