Partners of The Arc of Shelby County
Shelby County United Fund (SCUFFY)
On January 1, 2022, The Arc of Shelby County became the latest organization to be an agency served by the Shelby County United Fund (SCUFFY). We are grateful to be associated with all the other service groups that proudly serve the adults and children of Shelby County.
The annual fund drive for SCUFFY begins in March and ends in May of each year. The members and others associated with The Arc, SENSES Gym and the Aktion Club will work hard to do everything we can to help ensure that SCUFFY continues to meet their goals of helping all the worthy purposes they set for the organizations they serve.
We are ready and anxious to collaborate with all the other fine agencies that are also partners with SCUFFY in expanding services to every segment of our community. Including the adults and children living with a developmental or intellectual disability.
Shelbyville Central Schools
In 2016, The Arc of Shelby County created and opened the SENSES Indoor Playroom Sensory Gym for young children (ages 1-6) living with a delay or disability. Within just a few weeks, it became obvious that the gym would benefit children of all abilities.
In the next two plus years, SENSES served hundreds of young children, most of them from Shelby County. About 25% have a delay of some kind. The gym also attracted dozens of groups from schools, day cares, churches and special needs groups. It also attracted therapists, teachers and other educators, caregivers and parents from Shelby County.
In 2018, the leaders of Shelbyville Central Schools, came to visit and observe the gym. They explained that they were in the process of purchasing the former Marsh Supermarket complex and planning to create a new preschool to benefit the children of Shelby County.
In addition to the new preschool, they also had plans to move the administrative offices into the large complex. Much to our surprise, they also wanted to know if we would be interested in having the SENSES gym be part of their new preschool. Their intent was to provide The Arc with space for the gym if, in turn, we would make the gym available to their 300+ children in the preschool. They planned to also have two other play areas, one indoor and the other outdoor.
Since our space would be increasing from 1,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet, we were delighted to partner with them in creating a sensory gym for the preschool. In exchange for providing the space, they were to have use of the gym 2 or 3 days a week for their children and The Arc would have use of the gym the remaining days of the week. We would also have use of the cafeteria for small birthday parties, but due to the Covid virus, these plans are currently on hold.
The Arc entered into a 3-year lease with options to continue on a one-year basis once the initial term expires. This arrangement has worked out extremely well for both parties and we hope continues for many years to come.
One of the most important services the gym provides, is for children with special needs. During most scheduled use, the gym is inclusive for children of all abilities. But if a therapist or other professional requests a session for a child with special needs, we gladly do everything possible to accommodate these requests.
We estimate that over 5,000 children have been served by the gym to date. About 325 preschoolers use the gym every week. A continuous effort is made to add new sensory features or replace some of the features as new things become available.
We gladly welcome people from other communities to the SENSES Gym and hope that others will use the gym or copy what we have done and create similar gyms in their own community. We are also looking at expanding sensory play into other age groups. Where possible and practical, we are looking to bring sensory play to other age groups in the future.
The Arc wishes to thank SCUFFY, the Blue River Community Foundation, the city of Shelbyville and Shelby County for their help and support in creating and expanding the SENSES Gym. We also thank the grants and major contributions of local companies and organizations that have made substantial donations to help in funding The Arc and the SENSES Gym.
Shelby County Special Olympics
The Arc sponsors the Shelbyville VC Aktion Club for adults living with a disability. One of the goals of the Aktion Club is to do at least one service project every year that benefits the members. When the club was chartered in 2009, the members selected the Shelby County Special Olympics as their charity. They do this both with their participation and with financial help.
This collaboration between the Aktion Club and Special Olympics began with a joint car wash fundraiser in the summer of 2010 and has continued annually since then. The members of the Aktion Club have not only shared the proceeds of the car wash, they also include a donation in their annual budget and make a contribution each year to help with their expenses.
Special Olympics was founded in 1969 by the Kennedy family. Today, it serves people with disabilities all over the globe. Hundreds of countries not only have local competitions, they also participate in world games every four year, just like the regular Olympics. The state of Indiana holds annual games at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana in June of each year.
City of Shelbyville, Indiana
Besides helping The Arc with Racino grants to benefit the SENSES Gym, Mayor Tom DeBaun has also helped the Arc by sponsoring the annual “Mayor’s 5K Walk” to benefit people from Shelby County that live every day with a disability. He also walks every year and leads the way for others who walk to help raise needed funds.
The Mayor’s 5K Walk started several years ago and is held in September of each year. The walk has expanded to include the following organizations or services: The Arc of Shelby County, Shelby County Special Olympics, SENSES Indoor Playroom Gym, Shelbyville VC Aktion Club, Shares, Inc. and the special education programs of all four Shelby County School Corporations.
Walkers solicit friends, neighbors and family members to donate money to sponsor them during their walk. They also designate which organization the money they collect goes to. Besides the gratitude of their chosen organization, the walkers also receive a tee-shirt and a small tote bag of donated gift items.
Registration applications are available at The Arc office, phone number 317-398-6708. Each walker then seeks donations to sponsor them during their walk. The walk begins in mid-morning on a Saturday and is held at the City Conference Center. It is located at the Intelliplex and the exact address is on the registration form.
Blue River Community Foundation
From the original chartering of the Shelbyville VC Aktion Club, the Blue River Community Foundation has been a valued partner in every regard. From the original grant to start the Aktion Club, to grants to restart The Arc of Shelby County and then to create the SENSES Indoor Playroom Sensory Gym, the Foundation has approved every grant for which we have applied.
The Arc of Shelby County is the only county-based organization devoted to helping individuals with a developmental or intellectual disability for people of all ages. From birth on, individuals, or parents of individuals, can call on The Arc to help them find services to help them in finding services to help them raise their loved ones. As part of The Arc of Indiana and The Arc of the United States, we are part of the largest organization that serves people with a disability and their families.
This is why the Blue River Community Foundation has supported and helped finance our services for all the years we have been in existence. Our goals are to help build a community where all people are included in places to work, to live, to learn and to play. The programs we build and the services we provide, help prove to the community that just because a person has a disability, they are still able to contribute to helping others in their neighborhoods and make their community a better place to live.
In the past, and even recently, people with disabilities have been thought of as not having much to contribute. Today, they are proving that this notion is wrong. A good example is the Aktion Club. In the many years they have been meeting, the members have raised and donated to others in the community, over $50,000. The membership has grown from 18 members to over 45 members. In spite of the Covid virus, they continue to meet, raise funds and make donations to help others.
The funding coming from Foundation grants has helped make this happen. It has helped The Arc build a solid financial base and contributed to our becoming a partner with the Shelby County United Fund (SCUFFY). For their help and support, we are more than grateful.
Other Partnerships of The Arc of Shelby County
The following list of partners are parent or associated organizations. Some are associations that we are working with as part of our mission. Each one listed has a website of their own that may be visited in order to receive more information about the services offered. Or you may contact us at The Arc of Shelby County and we will do our best t guide you to the information you need.
The Arc of Indiana
Erskine-Green Training Center
The Arc of the United States
Down Syndrome Indiana
Self-Advocates of Indiana
Autism Association of Shelby County
Shelbyville Kiwanis Club
Shelby County Public Library
Northwestern Consolidated Schools
Southwester Consolidated Schools
Shelby Eastern Schools