The Why…

While April is just beginning, March was Disability Awareness month, and I was able to schedule some time out this week prior to the end of the month at work to get back to my “WHY”…   Supporting people we serve to have their best possible lives and helping others see each person as the unique, talented, and CAPABLE person he/she is!    

I have had the privilege of guiding an art class with a group of 9 people we support in exploring dying of textiles.   Those in the group had the opportunity to participate in a variety of techniques including tie dyeing, and using ice, shaving cream, and fiber reactive dyes.    The group produced a variety of items from hair scrunchies, scarves, dog bandanas, to yoga bags and more.   The results were phenomenal and will result in products which will earn the artists commissions.   Two of the ladies, who volunteered to do the task I dreaded most, ironing, were finishing up that process as we tallied up the inventory value and commissions that will result as the items sell.   They were pleasantly surprised to learn not only how much inventory we have built for the Artisan Program but that this type of project results in a commission comparable to the hourly wage of many of our local factory jobs.  

This project was great fun for all of us, allowing time to dive in, be creative, catch up on news about what is going on in people’s lives, and see how many times Pam sticks her hands into containers with dye without gloves!  

The reactions of those who participated this time when they saw their work was a further reinforcement that this is where I needed to be this week, not with reports, metrics, plans, and meetings, but remembering WHY we do what we do.  The smiles, straighter postures, and pride of sharing their work with peers, support staff, and others reflects the confidence that comes with success and feeling the value of one’s contributions.      

As we started sharing results both as we were working and as the items were being prepped for sale, we got many terrific comments, which included “beautiful”, “stunning”, “professional”, “I want ___”, and “amazing”.  Many of those who saw the results seemed surprised, which struck me, as this included people with significant experience in working with people with disabilities.  

It can be so easy to see a person we serve as their disability, what they cannot do and where they struggle instead of seeing their potential to do amazing things.   The key is, and always has been, finding that one thing that taps into that potential.  Everyone needs to be seen, accepted and valued as the amazing and talented person that they are!   

Let that be a reminder as we step from March, which is Disability Awareness month, into April.  It’s not the disability that is important.  It is the person! 

All the best!



The Arc of Greater Boone County Family-

At close of business Tuesday, March 24, 2020, The Arc of Greater Boone County will temporarily suspend Day Program services. This action is the next step to mitigate risk from the Pandemic.

As a reminder, all The Arc of Greater Boone County Residential Sites and our Facilities are open under a limited access status. Essential personnel are working on site, and many of our team members are working in the field, Traffic to each of our facilities and residential settings is limited only to the staff that have offices located inside the building or have need to be on site for services. In residential sites, we ask that a no-visitor policy be respected outside of immediate family members. Mail delivery will continue as normal. As part of the limited access, doors will be locked.

The Arc of Greater Boone services are considered essential, and we continue to provide necessary support for those who rely on us for their health and safety. In addition, Work Services is also considered essential in the supply chain, and we will be continuing these operations following social distancing and best practice hygiene standards.

There are signs posted at each entrance we notifying the public of our no-visitor, limited access status. Please share this information with others that might not be on social media.

Thank you for your diligence, flexibility and positivity during this challenging time. I am grateful for The Arc of Greater Boone County community!


Pam Verbarg
Executive Director

CFBC supports art at The Arc GBC with $3,500 grant

On January 7, 2019, The Arc of Greater Boone County (The Arc GBC) received funding to reintroduce ceramics into their, Arc Artisans, art programming. The Arc GBC offered ceramic classes in the past but due to growth in other programs, they found space and funding to be an obstacle. The people served by Arc Artisans, their families, staff and local community awaited the day ceramic artwork would again be a possibility.

Thanks to the $3,500 received from the Community Foundation of Boone County (CFBC), a kiln was purchased that could be plugged into a standard dryer outlet instead of needing to be wired in by an electrician. This kiln now has a secured space to stay and can be locked for safety while it is in use. New materials and supplies to create ceramics, metal and glass working projects were also purchased with the grant. The ceramics created through the use of this grant have been very popular! Nearly 95 ceramic pieces have been sold within the past year. These sales help offset the costs of the program and teach entrepreneurship to the Arc Artisans. The artists take home a commission check quarterly based on the items they have sold. “I love seeing the faces of our Arc Artisans after they get a commission check. Payday is a big deal, and it makes our artists feel even better to know that someone liked what they created enough to take it home.” – Karlie Shaw, Development Director at The Arc of Greater Boone County.



The Chinese Education Connection provides an opportunity for Principals from China to visit the United States to hear about the ways we educate American youth today. The educators shown here are from Hangzhou, China. Melinda, our Literacy and Wellness Instructor, is a retired teacher from Washington Township. During her years in the public school system she had opportunities to share with Chinese educators about the way we approach special education. This time around the focus was on transition and what opportunities are available for people with disabilities after high school. Our Operations Director, Keith, gave a presentation about the services we offer at The Arc of Greater Boone County. Kim, an individual we serve, talked to the educators about her efforts in self-advocacy.

We look forward to sharing with this group in the future.

What a great opportunity to collaborate!

An update from our Executive Director

We are pleased to announce an updated change to the structure of our day programs.

With recent staffing changes, we have taken the opportunity not only to look at our needs to fill leadership positions but also to examine our current structure, changing trends and needs in the service delivery system, and the talents of our current staff.

As we strive to implement plans to demonstrate compliance with the Home and Community Based Settings Rule, we will be building additional opportunities to ensure that those we serve have the opportunity to tailor choices based on their interests, abilities and needs to the greatest degree possible. This includes further development of the community-based programming we have been calling recreation and exploration.

To make this happen, our day services leadership team, under the direction of Keith will have roles that assign individual responsibility to the roles of developing programming, supervision of staff and production, and development of a comprehensive community habilitation program while collectively supporting the overall success of the program.

Beth Webb has accepted the position of Program Development Manager. Beth has been our Literacy and Wellness Coordinator, and her experience in curriculum development in schools systems will arm her in her role of supporting the programming needs of the individuals we serve. She will be taking the lead to develop a dynamic curriculum, train staff, monitor the implementation and lead the intake process for new individuals we serve.

Christie Kincaid Shores has accepted the position of Day Operations Manager. Christie has been in several positions in our day services over her years with us, but most recently has been the Manager of our Main Street Enterprises operation. She has not only been supervising the staff but has also been overseeing production completed by our work center contractors. Christie’s role will expand to support all day services staff and she will continue to support production activities.

Trevor Davids will be our Community Habilitation Coordinator. Trevor started with us in our Community Membership Program, has worked in Day Programs and has been serving as the Recreation and Exploration Program. This program has proven to be highly regarded by the people we serve and demand has outweighed his availability. Our goal with this program is to expand opportunities as the service is requested.

Now that we have those positions identified, we are also in the process of hiring Team Lead Positions, an Art Instructor, and a Utility Worker for our production program. We will also be filling a Literacy and Wellness role with Beth’s new responsibilities.

You will hear us start to refer to programs differently. We will be calling Main Street Enterprises Work Services. Personal and Community Services will be called Day Habilitation, and Recreation and Exploration will be called Community Habilitation. Groups within each program may add group naming as well with input from group participants and their support staff.

We could not be happier that we have been able to fill these roles internally and offer our current staff opportunities for advancement. Join us in welcoming them to their new roles!

Where do we go now?

What to expect from us in our 2019-2020 fiscal year? We are very excited to roll out some new core values and capabilities to benefit our culture and impact growth.
Our four core values include Empowerment, Integrity, Collaboration and Respect. We empower our staff to be knowledgeable committed listeners who deliver, high-quality, person-centered service throughout a person’s life and life transitions. We collaborate to provide innovative high-quality programs and services that promote choice and personal development. We respect the people we support and work to nurture a network of people and other organizations that share our commitment to provide maximum impact. We show integrity by using fiscally sound financial principles that maximize our resources.
When looking at the changing landscape of our rapidly growing organization and community, we are excited to announce that Keith Digman has joined our team. Keith has held many upper-level management and leadership positions while serving a combined number of 21 years in our field. Keith is highly experienced in developing programs that meet industry standards and provide additional opportunities to the people they support.
At the same time, Keith is joining us, we bid farewell to Tracy Autrey, who has decided to move on from The Arc of Greater Boone County after many years of service. We wish her well in future endeavors. We are currently in the process of filling Tracy’s position and we look forward to providing an update once we finalize our day service structure.
The people we serve are at the forefront of everything that we do! As a reminder to our staff, the people we serve will now be placed at the top of every organizational structure chart we produce. We would be happy to provide copies of our organization staff structure chart to anyone who would like to see it. Email Karlie, at, to request a copy.

BCSO new K9 named after The Arc GBC

Yesterday, we received a very special visit from Deputy Taylor Nielsen and her K9 partner, Arco.

After our communities tragic loss of Deputy Pickett: our Aktion Club, staff and families wanted to help.
When we heard that Jake’s K9 Brik would be donated to the family, the people we serve came up with the idea to fundraise for a new K9 puppy to join the Boone County Indiana Sheriff’s Office.

This fundraiser resulted in $2,000 to give to the K9 unit. As a thank you for this donation, Arco was named after us. The people we serve are thrilled to have a special tie to yet another member of the Sheriff’s Department. At our Aktion Club meeting, Taylor Nielsen and Arco were presented with a plaque to commemorate them as lifetime officers of our club.

We are very appreciative of our communities law enforcement team, and very thankful for their relationships with the people we serve. We will be forever grateful for your service. #boonecountystrong #K9Arco #thearcgbc



The Arc of Greater Boone County receives $6,500 from the Gordon Flesch Charitable Foundation

The Arc of Greater Boone County (The Arc GBC) learned of a new grant opportunity this year thanks to their involvement in the Boone County Chamber of Commerce. The Chambers Executive Director, Diane Schultz, fostered a connection between Heather Bolton from Gordon Flesch Company, Inc. (Gordon Flesch) and Karlie Rudbeck from The Arc GBC. Gordon Flesch is a family owned Business Technology Company that serves the Great Lakes region.

Bolton passed on information to Rudbeck about the Gordon Flesch Charitable Foundation and encouraged The Arc of GBC to apply for a grant. Gordon Flesch believes that businesses can only thrive if the communities that surround them are also thriving. The Gordon Flesch Charitable Foundation is managed entirely by company associates.

After submitting their application, Rudbeck received contact from Tim Ryan from the Foundations Board of Directors. Ryan came out to see operations himself and was able to share additional information about needs at The Arc GBC to the staff at Gordon Flesch.

The Arc GBC is extremely grateful for this donation and plans to use the funds to purchase a utility vehicle to increase efficiency between their work services departments. “We want to encourage other Boone County nonprofits to consider applying to the foundation and get in touch with Gordon Flesch for any business technology needs, said Rudbeck.”

To see what Gordon Flesch has to offer visit:
To consider applying for a Gordon Flesch Charitable Foundation grant visit:
To keep up with the Boone County Chamber visit:
The Arc GBC is a nonprofit organization with offices at |900 W Main St| Lebanon, IN. The Arc GBC provides a multitude of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Boone County area.

For additional information, contact The Arc GBC at 765-482-6815.


All About our Witham Health Services Sponsorship

Our sponsorship from Witham Health Services helped us to start a program called Health Matters in 2016. Health Matters is a program that helps our participants learn more about health and nutrition. With the Witham Health Services sponsorship, we have been able to increase participants stamina, strength, and flexibility. This sponsorship has provided us the funding to carry out the program and give our participants the tools for healthy success. Witham provides us with is a licensed nutritionist every week to assist with our educational sessions.

Our participants have lost a total of 297 pounds through Health Matters. With Witham and Health Matters participants are learning about the caloric amounts in foods to make better choices every day. We plan to grow the program this year through providing Fitbits for class attendees to use. Fitbits will increase our participants understanding of how heart rate and steps taken during workouts relate to calorie burn.

We are very thankful for this sponsorship and the partnership that it has fostered between our organization and Witham Health Services!

Local enterprise Mr. Canary Company debuts on Home Shopping Network

After receiving its first-ever utility patent, the Mr. Canary® Company is preparing to debut on the Home Shopping Network (HSN). Mr. Canary® is known for its social mission, supporting workers with disabilities to source, assemble, package, and ship Mr. Canary® products nationwide.
“For over 23 years, Mr. Canary bird feeders have perched quietly on the shelves of some of the country’s largest retailers. Now, in partnership with HSN, we are bringing an easy, virtually maintenance-free method of bird feeding to a national audience who prefer HSN’s ‘Third Way to Shop,’” said Jan Long, president of the Mr. Canary Company. “Whether our customer is an 80-something recovering from a joint replacement or a 30-something who doesn’t have time to devote to maintaining a traditional bird feeder, our ‘Bird Buffet System™’ makes it easier for everybody to enjoy backyard birds –without heavy seed bags or the gross clean-up chores required of traditional bird feeders.”
Long summarizes her new ‘Bird Buffet System™’ as, “’TV-dinners for birds.’ We use premium seed, sealed in single-use, eco-friendly trays that easily slide into a permanent bird feeder housing.”
The success of their new system will drive the company’s unique business partnership with The Arc of Greater Boone County, a not-for-profit organization in Lebanon, Indiana, that assists people with disabilities and special needs to achieve their maximum potential. This partnership with Mr. Canary® provides meaningful work to a population of Hoosiers who face too few opportunities in the job market.
“Mr. Canary® was a ‘social enterprise’ long before that was part of the lexicon. It was simply a good business decision that was mutually beneficial. Our business model shows one way private businesses can partner with local community organizations to lift everyone higher,” said Long.
Watch Jan Long launch the Mr. Canary® Company ‘Bird Buffet System™’ on Tuesday, May 8th on HSN. Long will be live on three separate airings, the first from midnight to 1:00 AM EST, the second from 8:009:00 AM EST, and the final airing from 9:00-10:00 PM EST.
To learn more about Mr. Canary and their products, please visit

About: Started in 1995 by two sisters who were eager to turn their dad’s little bird feeder into a trip to the shopping mall, today Mr. Canary® positively impacts more than seventy individuals with intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities. All these years later, Jan Long finds herself as the sole owner of Mr. Canary®, and about to branch out into a whole new market.