For more than 50 years, The Arc of Tempe has worked toward creating greater inclusion and a sense belonging in the Tempe community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our community-based programs focus on four key pillars: recreation, volunteerism, and self-advocacy. We believe that every person deserves a seat at the table, and we strive to create a world that is more inclusive, more aware, and more accepting.
The IDD community, particularly adults whose networks may only include parents, legal guardians, and support staff, has historically been one of the most disenfranchised and overlooked groups in our society.
Through our programs, we provide vital resources to individuals with IDD by providing a safe environment for socialization, which leads to less social isolation and loneliness and actively improves the lives of those we serve.
Recreation has always been at the center of The Arc of Tempe. Since our programs launched in 1965, the goal of The Arc of Tempe was to provide a safe space for adults — particularly those who were transitioning from a school environment to adulthood — to connect, socialize, and be seen.
Over the last 50+ years, the world has change, and so have our programs — but our mission remains the same. We are excited that our Recreation program is now almost entirely community-based; we still have the same goals of providing a safe and inclusive space for every member we serve, but now we are able to do so while engaging the members of our communities at large.
As community members, The Arc of Tempe believes it is vitally important for everyone to have the chance to give back and serve. Through our Volunteerism pillar, members of The Arc of Tempe partner with local organizations to lend a helping hand — whether that's by helping build a community garden, volunteering at the library, or simply attending events hosted by our community partners.
It is our goal for everyone to see that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are not only valued members of our community, but vital to its success.
At The Arc of Tempe, we believe that no matter your background, no matter your ability, and no matter what you have gone through, every person has a voice. Through active involvement with our programs, our members gain vital self-advocacy skills and develop confidence that helps them not only find their voice — but gives them a platform to share it.
Through workshops and activities centered around the individual — not the group — our members are able to better articulate themselves and advocate for their needs. These skills directly translate into improved performance at work, safer use of public resources, and a better sense of self, all of which combine to improve the well-being of each member of our community.