The Arc Wins National Award For Student Mentor Program

Stand Up students include: (front row) Jessica McCarten, Hailey Lobsinger, Addison Fraser, Camille Robinson, Lauren Shiell and Leah VanBommel; (middle row) Andrew Crout, Marina Bertuzzelli, Clara Sullivan, Gaige VanBommel, Kimberly McCarten and Gabriela Taboada; and (back row) Nika Wolfs, Dena Wolfs, Nate Ayres, Tripp Walker, Dhilan Krishnasamy, Will McCarten, Pierce Walker and Kolbe Brown.

The Arc of Palm Beach County has been nationally recognized for its Stand Up program. Out of a pool of 600 local chapters, Palm Beach County received the Program Innovation Award at The Arc’s 2019 National Convention in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, Dec. 14, students involved in the mentor program got their first look at the trophy.

The national award honors an executive director whose chapter has designed and implemented a program to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities.

The Arc adopted the Stand Up program in 2018. The mentor program matches high school students with same-age peers at The Arc. Bairbre Flood, the senior director of family services, presented the award to Kimberly McCarten, The Arc’s president and CEO.

“We have found that although our Stand Up mentors and mentees have different life challenges, and even communicate in different ways, their common interests bridge the gaps. They find ways to connect and communicate,” McCarten said. “We believe Stand Up can model how to create an inclusive and accepting community.”