Current Projects

Mental Health First Aid —
a Necessary Tool for Every Human Service Agency

Each year, more than one in five Americans experiences a mental illness or substance use disorder. Yet as a society, we remain largely ignorant about the signs and symptoms, and don’t know how to help a person in need. Our lack of awareness often prevents people who need treatment from getting appropriate care. This is especially true in agencies that serve people with IDD.  There is a 60% rate of burnout for people in this field within 5 years of employment—and this is the figure for people who love their work and are devoted to serving people with IDD.

Staff at The Arc NLC are called upon daily to assist people who in addition to a host of behavior and medical issues may be having a mental health crisis of their own. Their direct supervisors and team leaders need to understand and be able to address the mental health issues that accompany this very high-stress position.

This year, thanks to a Safety Grant from the Workers Compensation Trust, Laurie Herring, Chief Operations Officer at The Arc NLC, will be certified to offer Mental Health First Aid training several times per year to Program Managers, Directors, and Program Leads, to ensure that all agency staff will be able to identify and interact appropriately with colleagues who are in crisis and connect the person with help.


Help Your Local Farmer (That’s Us!)
Get Community Supported Agriculture off the Ground

Building on the success of The Arc NLC’s Farm Stand and Aquaponics program, we are trying to establish a 1.5 acre CSA project nearby. We’re currently trying to raise money to re-activate a well on the property in order to irrigate the garden.

This involves replacing the pump and the electrical hookup. The CSA program will allow us to hire and train more people with IDD, and provide at least 30 shares of 8 weeks of produce per season to area families who sign up. We’ve received generous donations from Peoples United Community Foundation and the Ledyard Rotary and will be able to fence the area and start a cover crop as we wait for additional funds to complete the well project.  Help this important local farming initiative come to life—donate to our CSA project now!  

Area Youth Meet Challenges, Find Peer Support and Friendship,
in the SPARCS Program

The SPARCS (Student Peer Advocates Raising Community Support) program was developed in 2016 and helps young people (ages 16-24) with IDD and their families navigate the often difficult
and confusing transition from school to adulthood.  After-school sessions focus on community safety, job skills, money budgeting, setting goals, all within a peer-to-peer setting that’s enjoyable and comfortable for students. It’s one of our most popular programs, and this year we have more students enrolled than ever!

SPARCS is part of Community Life & Advocacy, which relies solely on individual and foundation donations and United way funding for all its programming.  Please help us continue to offer this great opportunity to young people in southeastern Connecticut.