Growing from childhood into adulthood can be a wondrous time of discovering new freedoms and learning more about the wider world. For families of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, these transition years can also be a swirl of promise and worry. Parents and caregivers want to ensure their loved ones experience the delights of coming of age, while also making sure they are safe and secure in this new stage of life. Trying to navigate these changes—and simply understanding the options available—often feels overwhelming.

At The Arc of Essex County, we recognize that what was already a challenging time for families has become even more difficult during the limbo of the last few years. Our goal, as always, is to help provide the support our families need to navigate all stages of life. With that in mind, we are focusing on ages 16 to 21, and expanding our efforts to support families during the childhood-to-adulthood transition years.

Our increased efforts will be multi-pronged and target the distinct needs at different stages during these years. This initiative will include:

  • A scholarship fund to help families defray the cost of obtaining legal guardianship, among other expenses during these transformative years.
  • A free educational series to guide families through the school-to-adult-life process. (Recognizing the needs of caregivers, complimentary respite care will be available during the workshops.)
  • Day Program sampling, so young people can explore our programs and determine where their needs are best met. 

As these children step into adulthood, will you help support our families by donating to our annual appeal today? 

The teenage years are understandably full of ups and downs, both for children as they mature and for parents and caregivers as their roles shift in the lives of their loved ones. Here at The Arc we can’t smooth out all the bumps in the road—nor would we want to, as coming-of-age hurdles help create interesting, resilient, and thriving adults. But we can try to resolve some of the pain points for families as they manage complex decision-making layered on top of an already tumultuous time.

Help us build the bridge for our families on this journey by donating today. Your gift will make a difference in the lives of those we serve, and help us make sure children are supported as they make the exciting transition into adulthood.