In grand style before an audience of cheering families and friends, 94 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities proudly accepted their college diplomas Wednesday evening from Arc University. Arc University, formed in 2012, is the vision of the management team at Arc Thrift Stores of Colorado. Through a $100,000.00 grant from The Daniel’s Fund, Arc developed “Arc U” to provide an education in life skills for team members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The 94 graduates received a variety of degrees including Certificates of Participation and Doctorate Degrees.
Arc University is a 12-month program, which consists of monthly sessions covering various topics from financial literacy, music appreciation, pet care, transportation mobility and food preparation. The program is managed much like a university including lecturers, course work, study guides and exams. “The Arc University program allows individuals in the developmental disability community to achieve what so many of us take for granted,” stated Lloyd Lewis President/CEO, Arc Thrift Stores. “They achieve a sense of independence and accomplishment. With the skills learned, they increase their self esteem allowing them to effectively and actively participate in the Colorado community.”
At age 60, class Valedictorian, Dennis Schwed, addressed his graduating class with the following advice, “Do the best you can with what you have and enjoy life to the fullest.”
Radio talk show host Angie Austin delivered the commencement speech. Former First Lady of Colorado and Arc Thrift Stores Community Relations Director Frances Owens, along with Penfield Tate, Faye Tate, Cleo Parker Robinson, Tamra Ward,Stephen Burg, Lynne Valencia and Patti Dennis were also in attendance.