The Arc Kicks off Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, March 1 2016

We invite our community to join The Arc in spreading awareness of the strengths and talents of those living with developmental disabilities. Every March we use the National Awareness month as an opportunity to educate our community and to spark interest in our mission and we want your help.

Throughout the month we are asking our friends to change their cover page banner picture to the one we have created with the #DDAwaremessage as well as the #DisabilityNotDefinition. You can click the image and once it opens simply right click it and then click Save as picture. You then have it to post as your cover page.

If you have a loved one with a developmental disability you could change your profile picture to them for the month or use The Arc’s profile picture created for the month.

When posting your pictures or sharing any of our awareness posts throughout the month on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, use the #DDAware hashtag as well as #DisabilityNotDefinition and one of the Unstoppable slogans #IAmUnstoppable #WeAreUnstoppable#BeUnstoppable

We want the world to know that our friends and familiy members are Not Defined by a Disability and that they let nothing hold them back from pesusing their dreams… they are Unstoppable


United Way Features in an Article a Circle of Friends Buddy Pair
Click here to view the article
YESS Program Embarks on it’s 28th Summer

Wichita, KAN. June 4, 2015 –

The Arc of Sedgwick County officially kicked off it’s 28th year of the YESS (Youth Education Summer Socialization) program last Monday, May 26.

YESS is a 10 week summer program that serves students ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities. The program provides education, recreation and day trips for students. It is designed to help students retain what they have learned during the school year, while developing improved communication and socialization skills.

The program serves over 100 students per week.

YESS runs 11 weeks throughout the summer Monday-Friday until August 7, 2015.

2015 Arc Awards

Wichita, KAN. May 7, 2015 –

The Arc of Sedgwick County hosted their annual “The Arc Awards” on May 7. The ceremony featured a great turn out of people.

The awards presented at the ceremony are as follows:

  • The Arc Staff Awards: Vonda Bankston – 10 years, Lyndon Boggs- 10 years, Hilary Zwetzig- 5 years
  • Professional of the Year: Sherry Arbuckle, Linda Mitchell Ph.D.
  • The Arc Friends Award: CarMax, Dr. Ken Pitetti
  • The Arc Service Award: Cheney Door Company, Median Shrine Cartoons, Jim Ast (A Lucky Shot Photography), South High Leadership group
  • Teacher of the Year: Tom Szambecki, Denise Chichester
  • Para-Professional of the Year: Staci Marshall
  • Targeted Case Manager of the Year: Rich Hammar, Arlett Chrisman
  • Direct Care Staff of the Year: Lucy Mahon
  • The Arc Crossroad Community Connection Award: Jennifer Davis, Jim Brown, Dave Sanford, Pam Keller, Scott Martin, Joanna Kilgore
  • Employer of the Year: Debra Larson, Subway (Glenn Peetom); Impressions (Kelli Miller)
  • Guardian of the Year: Allison Lemmons
  • The Arc’s Marsha Dill Ambassador Award: Ronda Mass
  • The Arc’s Legacy of Hope Endowment Award: Jeff Breault
  • The Arc’s President’s Award: Larry and Brenda Hanafin
  • The Arc Crew Award:Kathy Huschka
  • The Arc Showdeo Service Award: PJ
  • The Arc Self-Advocate Garden Supporter of the Year: Kansas Paving, Kansas Building Products
  • The Arc Sibling of the Year: Victoria and Marilyn Purcell, Matthew and Michael Gonzales
  • Young Volunteer of the Year: Lynsey Fleming
  • Special Projects Volunteer of the Year: NetApp
  • Betty Yeager Volunteer of the Year: Bruce Clark
  • Bryan Keck Self Advocate Volunteer of the Year: Tyler Rogers
  • Robbie Carlstedt Young Achiever of the Year: Rebecca Oare
  • Adult Achiever of the Year: Linda Hetzel
  • Mary Ann Truitt Longevity Award: Bob and Nancy Templin
  • Lucy Shifton Family of the Year: Chris Fleming Family

Erica Johnson Named 2015 “Miss Unstoppable”

Wichita, KAN.—Erica Johnson was crowned as the 2015 “Miss Unstoppable” at this year’s “Miss Unstoppable” Pageant, Saturday, March 28, at South High School in Wichita. 

This was the 2nd annual “Miss Unstoppable” Pageant hosted by The Arc of Sedgwick County. The pageant is catered to girls with intellectual/developmental disabilities, providing them with an opportunity that they might not otherwise have the chance to do.  

This year’s pageant featured 31 incredible girls ranging from ages eight to fifty-five years old. Age divisions were split up into five categories: Little Miss, Teen, Young Miss, Miss and Shooting Star. 

The competition was full of poise, talent, personality and beauty. The girls competed in an interview, evening gown and talent portion. The high level of competition made judging difficult, but it was Erica who won the judges over in the end. 

Erica wore her contagious smile throughout the entire competition, as well as at the reception, where she expressed her excitement and thoughtfulness after being crowned.

“It’s just so amazing, it’s a huge blessing to be here,” Erica said, “I wish my grandma was here to see this, but I know she’s up in Heaven watching me.” 

Erica’s parents were thrilled for their daughter. Janet Johnson, Erica’s mother, explained how proud they were. 

“I never thought Erica would be able to compete in a pageant,” she said, “I’m so happy for her and all the other girls that got to participate, we are just absolutely thrilled.” 

The “Miss Unstoppable” crown was passed on by last year’s winner, Koren Shaffer. Like Koren, Erica will be a big part of Arc events throughout the year during her tenure as “Miss Unstoppable.”

Award Winners:

Erica Johnson, 2015 "Miss Unstoppable"

Erica Johnson, 2015 “Miss Unstoppable”

  • Talent- Rebecca Oare
  • Little Miss- Justice Baker
  • Interview- Erica Johnson
  • Teen- Rebecca Oare
  • Evening Gown- Erica Johnson
  • Young Miss- Alicia Anaya
  • People’s Choice- Samantha Colle
  • Miss- Kim Fry
  • Miss Congeniality- Janet Swesh
  • Shooting Star- Shelly Lorie





Kansas House OK’s bill allowing disabled to save more money without losing benefits

Wichita Eagle article covering Kansas House approval of bill allowing disabled to save more money without losing benefits. The Arc and executive director, Kevin Fish, is featured in the article.

Tri-County Special Basketball League

KAKE Article covering the Tri-County Basketball Special Education League


I often hear parents who ask why The Arc events aren’t in the media more often. Although The Arc sends many invitations and news story ideas, most are rejected because of conflicting events, non- interest, timelines and/ or breaking news. Last Thursday night, a parent of a Levy Legend basketball player who competes in The Arc’s Tri County High School Basketball League was standing in line at Subway to purchase a meal. Standing next to her she recognized the sports news caster from TV 10. She asked him if he had ever heard or our league and told him what a great sports story it would make. She offered to buy his dinner, if he would just stop by Friday and take a look at the competition at the YMCA Garvey facility.

As promised, he attended the games and was blown away. He stayed for over an hour shooting footage and doing interviews. As he left, he stated he would feature this story on Friday night at 6 and 10. The story he shared with the community about The Arc’s Tri County Basketball League was simply outstanding. For someone new to our community and new to this league it took him all of about 20 minutes to figure out the story would be very special to many people. I have received numerous phone calls and over 30, people mostly strangers, have informed me they saw this news story and how impressed they were. One phone call told me he coached a little league basketball team and they would be attending The Arc madness tournament to support our players and to teach his players what heart is all about. The story was featured on Friday and Saturday on several news casts. If you have not seen it, click here.

Sometimes the contact to the media has to come with a personal touch. Just look what the cost of a meatball sandwich resulted in. It is the old story of who do you know and who do they know. We all know how important community awareness is but it is up to each of us to make that awareness a reality. If you have any media contacts or media ideas please contact Mary Brown at The Arc 943-1191 or contact Marty Rothwell at the same number. One person can and did make the difference…

Starbird-Devlin Carshow 

Click on title to read Wichita Eagle article- reasons to attend 2015 Starbird-Devlin Carshow

The Human Factor
Article in Wichita Eagle on Dr. Ken Pitetti who works with kids in The Arc’s YESS program as he conducts a study for Wichita State University.

YESS is Much More Than Summer Daycare
Westside Story article covering a westside family who accesses the YESS program
East Wichita Story article covering an eastside family who accesses the YESS program

Miss Unstoppable Pageant
Wichita Eagle article covering the First Annual Miss Unstoppable Pageant

United Way Sedgwick County Interhab Nonprofit Chamber of Service