Arc Broward: Changing Perspectives. Changing Lives.

Arc Broward Mission Statement: “Arc Broward’s mission is to transform the community by providing opportunities for people with disabilities and other life challenges to realize their full potential.”

Arc Broward’s purpose as a non-profit organization is to work with multiple Broward County communities side-by-side to give people with disabilities or other life challenges achieve their personal full potential. The result? Lives change! Clients play, learn, work, and have complete and rewarding lives.

One of their most important goals is to spread the People First movement. The aim is to promote people-first language and change the perspective about people with disabilities and eliminate the subconscious dehumanization when speaking about them. People with disabilities are first and foremost people. They have their own abilities, needs, and interests. Approximately one in five Americans have a disability. They constitute the largest minority group in the United States and enrich communities with their contributions to our society.

Arc Broward incorporated in 1957 and is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. In celebration of this milestone the organization executed a rebranding, adopting a new logo and their new tagline “Changing Perspectives. Changing Lives.” Their over 400 employees are extremely passionate about the new tagline because essentially, it’s the core of what they do. Children and adult clients alike receive the same chance to contribute to our society as everyone else.

Two of the main principals of Arc Broward are Dennis Haas, Executive Director and Jessica Rodrigues, Director of Development. Dennis left a prestigious position with a private law firm and joined the Arc Broward Board of Directors in 1983. In 1996, he became the President/CEO. Jessica has worked with Arc Broward for almost 6 years. Both say they serve their clients with pride and it is extremely rewarding because the programs help participants take their challenges and refocus their lives. In general, clients are happy people and very appreciative.

Dennis and Jessica agreed: “Arc Broward is very proud of their three ‘mission-based’ enterprises that provide financial support and job training for participants. They are Arc Culinary, Arc Tech, and Arc Educates.” The three enterprises provide training and employment opportunities for clients; concurrently, they help generate capital to assist with funding the organization’s services.

The organization’s main campus is located in Sunrise, but they maintain 10 campuses including residential facilities for adults throughout Broward county. Arc Broward is not limited but focuses on South Florida and Broward County. They provide 21 programs for more than 1,200 participants. Included in the 21 programs are Children’s Services, Health Care Services, Adult Services, and a Workforce Division. They serve people from infants to seniors and can help veterans whether or not they have a disability. In addition to training, perhaps the most important components these programs give participants is self-esteem building and encouragement for personal development. The Arc Works program teaches how to write resumes, interview skills, and much more.

Arc Broward has two graduation ceremonies each year for clients participating in the Arc Culinary and Arc Tech divisions. One of the graduates from the Material Handler Program, Ryan, made a powerful statement in the speech he gave at the ceremony. He said, “If you think you have achieved your dreams, dream bigger.” His comment exemplifies the overall attitude of Arc Broward participants.

The organization has two signature fundraising events each year. The Delish event pairs Arc Culinary students with some of the best local chefs for a tasty and charitable event. The Arc Broward Pageant is a “feel-good,” unforgettable event for guests and contestants. It is a commitment is to empower young women with disabilities. They also hold other events throughout the year, such as the Traveling Plate supper program, which has about 40-50 attendees each time. All funds raised go directly to the culinary program. Check their website at:

http://www.arcbroward.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=115 for more information!

Are you on social media? Arc Broward’s biggest need is community support to help share stories of participants and change community perspective on social media. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube. 

Look for more information about Arc Broward in future issues!