Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting with President of The Arc U.S. Nancy
Webster and the Executive Director of the Sibling Leadership Network, Katie Arnold.
The purpose of the meeting was to promote a partnership with the SLN, The Arc and
State Chapters of The Arc similar to the partnership we have here in Illinois. Next to
the growing self advocacy movement nationally and in Illinois, siblings are our next
best resource for advocacy now and in the future. The partnership here in Illinois
includes recruiting siblings to serve on our Board of Directors and committees;
organizing seminars about Sibling Leadership and promoting sibling events to
our membership.

I ask you to think about what you are doing locally to promote sibling advocacy. I
hope that The Arc will spearhead an effort to ensure that all State Chapters of
The Arc are working together with the Sibling Leadership Network to advance
our advocacy for infants, children and adults with intellectual and developmental

Katie, Nancy & Tony

Below is a letter from John Porter who was a resident in a state institution. John
now lives in a small group home and has a job in the community! John is a shining
example that we no longer need institutions in Illinois and that everyone can live a
full life in the community.

It is no small matter that this letter to the editor appeared in the Southern

Please like The Arc of Illinois on Facebook where I frequently post.


Murray Should Close

To the Editor:

I am a self-advocate living in the community. I am happy Judge Aspen agrees the
Murray Developmental Center should close. Many people who don’t want Murray to
close have never lived in a state institution, but I have, I lived at Howe
Developmental Center for six years.
It was not easy living with nine people. I spent as much time as possible away from
the house or alone in my room. I didn’t like the way we were treated by our staff
members. I never felt a part of a family. We didn’t have the freedom to make a lot
of choices. Staff tried to make all the choices for me. Instead of working with me to
fix up my room, I would come home to find that staff had rearranged my possessions.
I always wanted a job, but it never happened.
Now, I live in a home with three other people. They are easy to get along with. I’m
always included in decisions. I feel I have more control over my life. If there is a
problem, I know who to talk with to get it resolved. I have my own phone to talk to
friends. I have had a job for over two years. I get to see my family often and have
my own schedule. I get all of the services I need.
Judge Aspen made a good decision. Murray Center should close. They owe it to
the people who live there.

John Porter Jr.

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)

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