Welcome to The Monthly Memo

 June, 2014

The Arc of New Mexico Mission

The mission of The Arc of New Mexico is to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages by advocating for equal opportunities and choices in where and how they learn, live, work, play and socialize.  The Arc of New Mexico will promote self-determination, healthy families, effective community support systems and partnerships.


Twitter:Arc of NM@TheArcNM

Facebook: The Arc of New Mexico

I would like pay tribute to Michael Wolff who passed away on June 14.  Michael died of injuries sustained after being hit by an unidentified driver while riding his bike. 

Michael was an employee of the Independent Living Resource Center here in Albuquerque.  I did not know him very well but I was always impressed with his professionalism, responsiveness and kindness.  I pray and hope that the individual(s) responsible for his death will brought to justice. 

Memorial services will be held Friday, July 11 at Queen of Heaven Church, 5311 Phoenix NE.  Rosary at 9:30am, Mass at 10am.

Randy Costales, Executive Director

The Summit on Social Equality and Arc Annual Conference a Great Success!

This past weekend over 250 self-advocates, family members and professionals attended The Arc of New Mexico’s 2014 Summit on Social Equality/Annual Conference at the Hotel Cascada and Waterpark in Albuquerque.  The event featured great speakers and sessions, exhibitors and networking opportunities.  It also included a silent auction and music, dancing and swimming at the Waterpark Friday evening.

This year’s theme was "Work Hard, Play Hard" and event including excellent breakout sessions about the following issues and topics:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Community Leisure
  • Employment
  • Issues specific to individuals with Down syndrome - Thanks to stipends from The Arc National Office and the Isabel Gonzales Trust Fund twenty-seven individuals with Down syndrome and a family member/support person were able to attend the event.

Friday Summit activities included:

Opening Session welcome by Cathy Stevenson – Director of New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Supports Division and a very inspirational presentation by John Chimarusti.  John shared how having Cerebral Palsy and learning disabilities did not stop him from achieving his goals:  Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, Eagle Scout, Peace Corps volunteer, husband and father.

2014 Self Advocacy Awards

 - Robert LeCompte Jr. Self-Advocacy Award - Justin & Shawn Harden from Farmington

 - Bob Thomas Self-Advocacy Award - Matthew Heady from Roswell

 - Tenacious Tommy Award - Michelle Eckles from Albuquerque

Saturday Conference activities included:

 - Statewide People First Quarterly meeting – there are now 11 active People First chapters in New Mexico!

  - Morning plenary performance by the Buen Viaje Dancers – wow they were great!

 - Conference Luncheon: The Arc Achievement Award was given to Toby Pohl with the Social Security Administration for going above and beyond the call of duty in providing support to The Arc Representative Payee Program.  The Arc Annual Business Meeting was held to elect the 2014 – 2015 Board of Directors.

Thank you to our major sponsors: The New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and United HealthCare.

The Buen Viaje (Good Journey) Dancers were a big hit Saturday morning at The Arc Conference.

Welcome 2014-2015 Arc Board of Directors 


  • President - John Hall, Albuquerque
  • Senior Vice - President – Dolores Harden, Farmington
  • Secretary – Elaine Palma, Las Cruces
  • Treasurer – Don Skaar, Albuquerque
  • Past President – Loretta Silva, Santa Fe

Vice Presidents

  • NE Region 1 – Siri GuruNam Kaur Khalsa, Espanola
  • SE Region 2 – Patricia Gull, Roswell
  • Central Region 3 – Veronica Chavez Neuman, Albuquerque
  • SW Region 5 – Francene Kilgore-Sanchez


  • NE Region 1 – Philip Alvarez, Santa Fe
  • SE Region 2 – Stephanie Greathouse, Roswell
  • Central Region 3 – Lourdes Rael, Albuquerque
  • SW Region 4 – TBD
  • SW Region 5 - TBD

Director at Large

  • Brianne Connor 

We would like to thank the following outgoing board members for their service and support:

Tanya Baker-McCue – Immediate Past President, Albuquerque

Nik Hutchins - Secretary, Las Cruces

Lisa Rossignol – Vice President Central Region III, Albuquerque

Shawn Raymer – Director Northeast Region I, Santa Fe

Melvin Brown – Director Central Region III, Albuquerque

Rannita Henderson – Director Northwest Region V, Shiprock

Ken Harmon – Director Southeast Region II, Carlsbad

Arc Home Office to Open in Roswell

The Arc is excited to announce that next month Kay Lilley, veteran advocate and community activist, will join The Arc's Statewide Advocacy Network as a Community Advocate in Roswell.

The Arc's Network currently includes:

  • Priscilla Salinas, Hilda Rojas and Sergio Resendiz in Anthony
  • Carmen Garcia in Albuquerque
  • Vicki Galindo in Silver City
  • Bernadette LeRouge in Santa Fe
  • Dolores Harden, The Arc of San Juan County in Farmington

The Statewide Advocacy Network Purpose Statement: Because people with disabilities and their families need support/advocacy/information about opportunities and resources in or close to their unique communities.

I am Waiting!


Mesquite, New Mexico

Dona Ana County

 Pedro is 21 years old and lives in Mesquite New Mexico with his mother.  He attends the local High School and he was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.  His name was placed on the DD waiver waiting list in 2006.  His mother didn’t receive communication as to his place in line and when she called to inquire in 2008 she found that there was no record of his initial application and the process was started again that same year.

 Pedro is non-verbal and he needs help with all daily living skills.  Presently, they do not have a vehicle and rely on Safe Ride for doctor appointments.  For anything other than that Pedro and his mother walk to buy groceries or to fill his medications, sadly it takes 3 hours for them to walk to Las Cruces where medications are filled.  Occasionally people offer them a ride but most of the time they walk all the way.  Despite this mom has a very positive attitude and she believes one day things will get better.  Pedro does run away sometimes so she must keep the doors bolted and locked at all times.  They live right next to a main highway and mom fears one day he may run into the street and a tragedy could occur.

 Mother needs help from the DD waiver services to help with his care giving and therapies. She feels if he could communicate his needs more things would be a little easier. She has to rely on facial expressions and at times Pedro can become combative out of frustration.  He takes medication for anxiety and currently that has helped his urge to run.  Mother dreams of Pedro becoming a little more independent, being able to dress himself, have a bigger vocabulary or even using sign language to communicate.  She would like to just be able to relax for a while knowing that Pedro will be safe from running into the street.  She hopes that help will come soon for her and Pedro and that their life will become a little easier. She knows the wait is long for services but she will continue to do her best to provide for both of them.


Announcing New Arc Allies

Thank you to Daniel Family Funeral Services for recommending The Arc to a community member wishing to donate burial plots to a non-profit agency.  Daniel’s provided guidance and assistance to the donor and The Arc received the donation.

Pre-Planned Funeral Arrangements

Most of us plan ahead in life - weddings, our children's education, family vacations, and other significant expected life events. We also plan for the unexpected events of life by purchasing home, auto and medical insurance.

Making funeral arrangements is not something we have lots of practice doing, nor is there time to shop around. Pre-Planned Funeral Arrangementscan help reduce the stress

Daniels Family Funeral Services is currently offering a 25% discount to individuals with disabilities and 15% discount to family members for Pre-Planned Funeral Arrangements. 

For more information contact Tom Rymsza at 505-228-7912.

The Arc of New Mexico has entered into a new partnership with Albuquerque Appliance Training (AAT) to pick up the following large appliances:

  • Washing machines
  • Dryers (gas and electric)
  • Refrigerators
  • Ranges (gas and electric)

AAT will pay The Arc $10.00 for every large appliance picked up from donors referred by The Arc. For large appliance pick-up in the Albuquerque area call AAT at 508-1335 or 975-5028.

If you have gently used clothing, accessories, household items, and small appliances that need to be picked up in the Albuquerque area call ReUseIt at 765-1975 or visit our website for drop off locations: www.arcnm.org/get-involved/recycling-program


Benefits Connection Center

The Center helps low income seniors (65+) and people with disabilities (21+) in New Mexico connect to benefits including:

  • SNAP (formally known as food stamps)
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare Part D
  • Medicare Savings Program
  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • LIHEAP (Energy Assistance)
  • Back in Use (durable medical equipment)
  • Ticket to Work

These services are offered free of charge by Adelante Development Center through a grant from the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Visits by appointment only call (local) 505-273-5222 or (toll-free) 844-266-2236.  For more information go to www.connecttobenefits.com.

Inclusive Fitness Center Opens in Albuquerque

Adaptability Fitness recently opened in Albuquerque and offers personal training, adaptive exercise, corrective training, nutritional coaching and sports training.

Personal trainer Jerry Husted is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and specializations in Fitness Nutrition and Corrective Exercise.  He is also certified by the American College of Sports Medicine and an Inclusive Fitness Trainer.  Jerry focuses on helping people with disabilities improve the quality of their lives. 

For more information visit adaptabilityfitness.com or call 505-459-9013.

Arc of NM Turning 60 Next Year

In 2015 The Arc of New Mexico will be celebrating 60 years of Advocacy and Service.  On Saturday The Arc kicked off the celebration with a party as the closing event of the 2014 Arc Summit and Conference.  The celebration will continue next year. Stay tuned...