Arc of Marshall County — helping those with disabilities live a full life

This is the Arc of Marshall County’s 51th year as a United Way agency. The Arc of Marshall County is a volunteer advocate and support group that exists to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities receive the services, supports and opportunities necessary to fully realize their right to live, work and enjoy life in the community without discrimination.

Geographically, the Arc of Marshall County covers all of Marshall County however, 95 percent of the approximately 150 participants are from Marshalltown. Marshalltown and the surrounding areas has been a leader in developing special programs and opportunities since its formation and works with individuals and organizations in a collaborative fashion. Administration of the Arc of Marshall County and associated activities is primarily through volunteers and approximately 500 hours of volunteer time are used each year.

Activities sponsored by the Arc of Marshall County fill a need of many individuals with disabilities to participate in activities with their peers, whether at the school age or adult level. We support three major programs; a summer program for school age children, a three day summer camp and a weekly activity for adults.

Without participating in a stimulating environment over the summer, children can regress from the progress they made during the previous school year. Therefore, Arc of Marshall County provides an eight-week recreation based summer day camp that allows children an opportunity for a wide range of activities and field trips. This activity, called Camp Marshalltown, is co-sponsored with Marshalltown Parks & Recreation. The Marshalltown Community school system also cooperates with a very flexible policy concerning the use of their wheelchair vans and buses, to allow those with severe disabilities to participate. Also, the program is based in one of the Marshalltown school buildings.

Arc also sponsors a three-day summer camp at Pilgrim Heights that allows adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to experience many typical camping activities such as fishing, crafts, camp fire, hayride and paddle boats.

Additionally for adults, we provide a recreational opportunity nearly every Wednesday night throughout the year. These activities are assisted in part by private donations, donations from local businesses, the Salvation Army, Park & Rec, UAW, Marshalltown School District and many others. Typical participation each week is 90-120 people. Some of the weekly activities included swimming at the Marshalltown Aquatic Center, dinner outings at Hy-Vee or Zeno’s, a summer bus trip to Adventureland, an I-Cubs game, or the Iowa State Fair, Iowa/Iowa State Tailgate Party, dancing, fishing, bowling and softball games to name a few.

Arc of Marshall County is dependent on the United Way and all parts of our program would cease without their support, since these services would not be in the scope of other agencies. We remain committed to improving the quality of life for Iowans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you would like additional information regarding programs or activities you can contact Arc of Marshall County at 641-751-2144.