United for United Way: The Arc of Walker County

United for United Way: The Arc of Walker County

WALKER CO., Ala. (WBRC) - One very special organization in Walker County is dealing with challenges and setbacks created by COVID-19.

The Arc of Walker County provides services and opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

And with support from United Way and people like you, the Arc of Walker County is continuing its mission during the pandemic.

“People that we serve want to be just like everybody else,” said incoming CEO and president Joanna Brand. “They want to have a job, they want to go out and network, they want to have their friends in the community, and they want to do things just like everybody else does.”

And for the last 40 years, The Arc of Walker County has made that possible.

“We do painting classes, we’ve had drumming classes, cooking classes, a little bit of everything,” said Brand.

Through multiple programs people with intellectual or developmental disabilities at any age find the comfort and joy in their community.

But most importantly, they find their independence.

“We have a residential program with 18 homes,” said Brand. “We also have a supported employment in which we work with employers in the community. We help them obtain employment in the community, we help them train on the job, and then start stepping back.”

But in March, that all stopped.

Now, it’s temperature checking, hand washing, and quiet rooms.

“Let’s see,” Brand said, walking through the facility. “This is a pretty active room. It doesn’t look like it right now.”

That’s because with COVID-19, The Arc of Walker County can’t have everyone they serve come by their facility for their day program.

And those job opportunities available to people served in The Arc of Walker County became few and far between.

But as challenging as it might be, Brand said they’re still surviving with help from The United Way.

“They’ve been there to provide extra funds for critical needs and promoting food programs for people. It’s just been great to see how they’ve worked so hard to help our community,” she said.

And that’s why they need you.

“The funds that are donated go directly to providing services. Whether it’s for a child that needs speech therapy, or physical therapy, or it’s a person who needs a place to call home,” said Brand. “The need is still there.”

To donate to the United Way, you can go to www.uwca.org/united or text United to 62644.

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