TINTON FALLS, NJ - Over 25 towns in Monmouth County have officially recognized March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month through Proclamations and public displays.  Over the last 60 years, The Arc and its network of more than 700 chapters across the country have made tremendous progress in promoting and protecting the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).  It is due greatly to the advocacy efforts of The Arc that President Ronald Reagan officially declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987.

This month, Proclamations have been issued by the townships of Belmar, Brielle, Englishtown, Fair Haven, Freehold, Highlands, Interlaken, Lake Como, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manalapan, Manasquan, Marlboro, Middletown, Neptune, Sea Girt, Spring Lake Heights, Tinton Falls and Wall.   I/DD information and reading lists are currently on public display at the libraries of Belmar, Freehold, Holmdel, Howell, Long Branch, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Ocean, Red Bank and Wall.  The Arc of Monmouth website (www.arcofmonmouth.org) features various resources, as well as a directory of services offered for individuals with I/DD, including health care, education, employment, recreation and individual and family supports.

In this pivotal election year, The Arc of Monmouth is joining national efforts to raise awareness about disability related policy on the campaign trail. In 2008, only 46% of people with I/DD who were eligible to vote actually did so.  Together, chapters of The Arc nationwide are working on the “We’ve Got The Power!” campaign, which aims to improve voting rates in I/DD community for 2012 and educate candidates about the issues that matter most to the I/DD community.

“Individuals with disabilities have the right to vote”, said Executive Director Mary Scott.  “The goal of the campaign is to encourage them not only to vote, but also to speak out about the topics that are important to them.” 

To maintain its advocacy efforts and wide array of programs, The Arc of Monmouth welcomes volunteers and contributions.   The next major fundraising event is a 5K Race and Walk, to be held at Liberty Park II in Tinton Falls on Saturday, May 5.  To get involved, visit www.arcofmonmouth.org/walk, or call (732) 493-1919.

The Arc of Monmouth is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, annually serving more than 1,400 individuals at 20 locations throughout the county.  To learn more, please call (732) 493-1919 or visit www.arcofmonmouth.org.