Arc of Baltimore inspires Loyola students with ‘One Question’

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, students, professors and faculty members came together for the annual One Question event, hosted by Dr. Andrea Learys Art of Rhetoricclass.

The event was centered around a single questionthe One Question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? The evening began with a video of adults from The Arc Baltimore, a non-profit organization that aims to allow adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live as independently as possible through leased homes, eight facilities, and volunteers, answering this question. Answers ranged from physical appearance to disposition, but none of the individuals mentioned their disabilities as something they would change about themselves. In fact, that vast majority of The Arc members opted to change nothing at all, stating that they were happy the way they are.

Following the presentation, Katie Maguire, Chief Advancement Officer at The Arc Baltimore, introduced the panel members and gave a brief overview of The Arcs history and mission.

Maguire explained that The Arc started in 1949 to offer families an alternative to sending children with disabilities to mental institutions, a common practice during the 20th century. Started by parents of children with disabilities, the organization works to provide living and working opportunities for disabled individuals as well as to increase advocacy for intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Following Maguires introduction, the floor was given to the panel, which consisted of six members of The Arc Baltimore, each with an intellectual or learning disability. The panelists shared some of their experiences with The Arc and the opportunities that The Arc has provided them.

The panelists shared stories about their jobs, which included construction and custodial services, of relationships, and even gave some fun Elvis impersonations.

Following the panels discussion, there was a question-and-answer session where members of the audience asked panelists questions about their favorite activities, their personal experiences and their relationships with one another. The panelists explained that just being together every day and doing things together, like bowlingis their favorite part of The Arc.

Overall, the panelists presented an overwhelming desire to be treated just like everybody else.One panelist shared her story, saying that when she was born, doctors told her parents that she may not survive, let alone ever acquire the ability to walk or speak. She concluded the discussion by saying that [her] parents said, love works miracles,so [she] wants love.

To get involved with The Arc Baltimore, visit their website, thearcbaltimore.org, and sign up to receive their newsletter or become a volunteer.