Post-Crescent Article published on the front page on 2/22/16
APPLETON – The last six decades have brought dramatic improvements to the lives of people with developmental disabilities.
In the 1950s, they were frequently isolated. Today, they’re out, about and active in local communities.
It’s cause for celebration, though advocates say there’s still much to accomplish. Stigmas remain, and the work to tell their stories and change perceptions continues.
“They’re doing such great things,” said Sonia Barham, executive director of SOAR Fox Cities.
SOAR Fox Cities, formerly known as The Arc, is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. The organization serves about 1,200 participants.
It was founded at a time when people with developmental disabilities were kept in the home or placed into institutions. Today, just as at the beginning, a major goal is bringing community recognition to what family members knew all along.
“This organization was founded by parents who saw the abilities in their children — not the disabilities — and wanted more opportunities for them,” Barham said.
The organization will celebrate its milestone during the March 3 “SOAR to the Stars” benefit at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel.
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