developmental disabilities

Earlene McMichael, WMUK

Pamela and Curtis Robinson are determined that neither money, nor lack of information, keep people from getting mental health counseling and other support services. So they run the Emerging HOPE Family Strengthening Program, a Kalamazoo-area nonprofit serving families and individuals with limited resources and from underrepresented communities. On today's WestSouthwest, the couple talks about their group and previews their mental health forum, the ninth annual, set for Saturday, April 30 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Kalamazoo Public Library in downtown Kalamazoo. 

Courtesy Abigail Southworth

Nearly every part of Abigail Southworth’s life is devoted to art. She teaches it at Kalamazoo Valley Community College's Center for New Media. She designs logos and brochures for organizations like Kellogg and the United Way. But at night, Southworth leaves behind the work and designs her own, very personal art, touching on topics like sexual orientation and mental illness. In her latest exhibit, "Superheroines," Southworth chooses to highlight several women who inspire her -- women who history has forgotten or overlooked.

Rebecca Thiele/WMUK

On Kalamazoo Mall, MRC Artworks looks like any other art gallery. It’s got acrylic paintings, jewelry, and pottery. But MRC doesn’t just sell art—it provides jobs for about 60 people living with disabilities or mental illness.

Three employees of The Arc of Calhoun County have been placed on administrative leave. A May 6 statement on behalf of the organization’s board of trustees announced Kim Hommerding, executive director; Loretta Fuller, finance director; and program coordinator Chuck Lamson are on administrative leave for “an unknown amount of time.” The reasoning for the move has not been disclosed by the organization or its board of trustees. (Battle Creek Enquirer)

Arc Community Advocates Facebook Page

According to a recent state survey, only eighteen percent of those with developmental disabilities in Michigan are employed. Others tend to end up with piecemeal jobs that pay below the minimum wage. The Arc Community Advocates group is hosting an Inclusion Conference on Monday, April 20th at Western Michigan University to spotlight the issue. The conference will specifically focus on the transition from school to work for those with disabilities. WMUK’s Robbie Feinberg spoke with Arc Executive Director Ellen Stone to learn more.