Ability Fitness Center Grand Opening – April 10

Ability Fitness Center Grand Opening

In gratitude of your support, we invite you to our
Ability Fitness Center Grand Opening Celebration
on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 from 5-7 pm.

Join us for the ribbon cutting, open house, and light refreshment as
we celebrate our new home in the Williamson Cottage located
at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus.

RSVP here. 

FBA & BIP Workshop April 10, 5:30-6:30 pm

Join us at our Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) & Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) Workshop 

Does your child tantrum? Do they scream, cry, or drop to the floor? At this workshop you will learn how to interpret Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. 

A Functional Behavior Assessment is a tool used to determine why a child is engaging  in challenging behavior. A Behavior Intervention Plan is used to help a child’s team learn how to manage challenging behavior needs. 

Our workshop is on Tuesday evening, April 10 at ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625) in Nora’s Room at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, from 5:30-6:30 pm.

$15 for the General Public. 

Register online HERE.

FBA and BIP workshop parents functional behavior assessment behavior intervention plan


ABA Therapy Training – For Parents and Caregivers – Feb 20 & March 6

Join us in this 2 part class on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)! 

At this workshop you will: gain a basic understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), learn how to use positive reinforcement to encourage your child to behave appropriately, and gain feedback from experienced behavior analysts on specific behavioral issues! 

These classes will be on two Tuesday evenings, February 20 and March 6 at ALLY Advocacy Center (Building #625) in Nora’s Room at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus, from 5:30-6:30 pm.

FREE for parents of Aurora Behavior Clinic Social Skills students!

$15 (For Part 2 on March 6) for all non-Social Skills parents & caregivers. 

Register online HERE.

applied behavior analysis aba therapy training parents caregivers


50th Anniversary Celebration Gala – April 21

50th Anniversary Celebration Gala for The Arc of Loudoun

The Arc of Loudoun celebrates its 50th Anniversary — 50 years of creating a lifetime of opportunities for children with disabilities and their families! Join us for this inspiring celebration, as we rally together to recognize this momentous achievement and impact in this community.

 Chair: Ara Bagdasarian, CEO and Co-Founder of Omnilert

Saturday, April 21, 2018 with silent auction and cocktails starting at 6:00 pm
Lansdowne Resort and Spa in Lansdowne, VA

Five-course dinner, featuring special performance by
Carlos Ibay and A Place to Be performers,
ALLY “A Life Like Yours” awards presentation,
live and silent auctions, dancing

Dress: Black-tie optional


Featuring Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center Performer: Carlos Ibay                 

Ibay is a classically trained Filipino-American concert pianist and heroic tenor from Fairfax, Virginia who has been blind since infancy.  He began playing piano when he was two years old and began singing at the age of three.  A child prodigy, Ibay made his first public performance at age ten.  Fluent in seven languages, he is a versatile performer who has performed in over a dozen countries. Ibay studied piano under Thomas Schumacher from the Eastman School of Music and studied voice with Harry Dunstan from the American Center for Puccini Studies.  He also studied piano at the Mannes College of Music in New York City under Jerry Rose and with the late Thomas Mastroianni, former president of the American Liszt Society. Ibay made his debut at Carnegie Hall on October 1, 2005 and his Kennedy Center debut on November 30, 2006.  He has performed for Vice President Al Gore, President George W. Bush, and Pope Francis.  Ibay has also performed with the McLean Symphony, the Manila Symphony Orchestra, the Manassas Community Orchestra, and the Reston Community Orchestra.  Ibay was the cantor, organist, and chorister at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia for nine years.  He also regularly performs at local venues, churches, fundraisers, and private events. Watching Ibay’s performances here. 

         purchase tickets the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala sponsorship information the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala donate auction items the arc of loudoun paxton campus 50th anniversary celebration gala  

Ability Fitness Center Golf Tournament – May 10

The 6th Annual Ability Fitness Center Golf Tournament is on Thursday, May 10th!

Your participation in the golf tournament will help each AFC client have an improved quality of life and optimal physical and emotional health; have maximum functional independence; improve flexibility, muscle strength, balance, posture, and bone density; decrease muscle spasms & all over better quality of life!

When: Thursday, May 10th | 12:00 PM –  9:00 PM

Where: Loudoun Golf & Country Club, Purcellville, VA 

Online Registration and sponsorship information here. 

Paper registration form here. 


Amazon Smile

Shop with AmazonSmile

Amazon donates .05% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice (The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus!) 

It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Follow the steps in the Infographic below to learn how to shop with Amazon AND give back to The Arc of Loudoun. 


iCanBike Camp 2018- June 25th-29th

The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus has partnered with Tuscarora’s Husky Buddies Program to present iCanBike Camp! This is a program offered to help children with disabilities learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently.

Bikers register online here OR register through the hard copy form here. 

Volunteers register online here OR  register through the hard copy form here.  



In order to sign up, rider must meet ALL of below criteria: 

  • Ages 8-18
  • Have a disability
  • Able to walk without assistive device
  • Willing and able to wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Parents must remain at camp at all times 
  • Able to sidestep to both sides 
  • Able to attend all 5 days 
  • Maximum weight of 220 lbs 
  • Minimum inseams of 20″ (measure from floor while reader is wearing sneakers) 
  • Bring in own (approved) bike at at sessions 

For any questions please e-mail Eileen Shaffer at eshaffer@paxtoncampus.org 

iCan Bike 2017

50 Faces of The Arc- Jude

Jude is a happy and social student at ODLC (Open Door Learning Center); an intentionally inclusive preschool at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Megan, the Program Director at ODLC says she “could cry” talking about Jude’s unbelievable progress since attending the school. Megan exclaims,

“It’s crazy to see how far she’s come! When she first started, she couldn’t say single words, and now she’s talking in full sentences. She’s also full of personality in conveying what she’s saying.”

Since attending ODLC for the past two years, Jude is now greeting her teachers and friends, telling stories about her family, and facilitating play between her peers.

Through the 1:1 ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) therapy that ODLC provides, Jude was given the opportunity to expand her communication skills. Megan says,

“Since receiving ABA therapy her language has really blossomed. She’s able to express herself so well, and can communicate her preferences and make choices. She’s become so independent.”

Megan believes the extra coaching and teaching is what kickstarted Jude to start learning in the classroom on her own. Now, Jude prompts her peers to socially interact with each other and initiates her group of classmates to take turns,

“We’ve gone from working with her and teaching her– and now she’s the one who’s teaching her friends” states Megan.

Megan knows it’ll be hard to see Jude move on after she leaves preschool, but she’s fortunate to work at a place like The Arc where she can see the progress amongst all the students exclaiming, 

“Everybody here is so dedicated to unlocking the potential of every student who walks through these doors!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Jocelyn

Jocelyn is an upbeat and enthusiastic STEP Up employee at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. She’s been a member of  STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment), a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities, for the past year. She works as the receptionist at the ALLY Advocacy Center twice a week. Her duties include greeting ALLY visitors, stocking the mobile snack cart, and completing any office work.

Although she loves working, Jocelyn enjoys the afternoon enrichment activities that the STEP Up program facilitates in the afternoon.

“I liked going on the field trip to the Air & Space Museum,” she said. “We [STEP Up] also volunteer and make sandwiches for people at the homeless shelter which is so fun!”

When Jocelyn isn’t working, she attends many of the events The Arc of Loudoun hosts for its members and the community. She’s watched the sensory sensitive movies at Cobb Theater, attended the annual Spring Festival, and volunteered at the Last Ride attraction for Paxton’s biggest fundraiser of the year: Shocktober. But Jocelyn’s absolute favorite event to attend are the dances exclaiming,

“I love going to the dances. I always have a good time there!” When asked why she likes The Arc, Jocelyn says, “I like working here because it keeps me busy and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, I’ve made so many friends here!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Megan

Megan is the Program Director at ODLC (Open Door Learning Center), an intentionally inclusive preschool on Paxton Campus. She previously worked at The Aurora School as a Team Lead before transferring to the preschool. Megan was immediately attracted to working at The Arc of Loudoun because of how much of a resource they are to the disability community. She says,

“There’s really nothing like The Arc. It’s such an honor to work alongside people who uphold the mission of helping children and families affected by disabilities.”

Megan enjoys working with the ODLC students in particular because of her background in early intervention. She exclaims,

“It’s amazing to see how ABA intervention is making a world of a difference in their lives at such a young age.”

Megan believes ABA therapy plays a huge part in the success of the children, and since students at ODLC are able to participate in ABA therapy as part of their curriculum, Megan has observed countless numbers of students grow in both their behavior and communication skills.

“Some children have difficulty with aggression or they  do not have functional forms of communication,” she explains. “But with ABA therapy we’re able to teach them replacement behaviors that are appropriate, like asking instead of yelling for what they want.”

Megan says she loves the ODLC program because she sees enormous improvement in students in a short amount of time. Megan’s observed students who were previously not  able to say words  now reciting the whole alphabet. She’s also seen progress with children who had difficulty being social, stating,

“Now those same students who would always play alone are engaging with their peers.”

Megan believes The Arc of Loudoun is a great resource for the community exclaiming,

“I feel like the whole campus is an ‘Open Door!’ We are so welcoming through our events, and we are a resource  for so many families through our different classes and workshops.”

In the next fifty years Megan hopes The Arc will continue to thrive, grow, and be a light for the community.

50 Faces of The Arc- Jen

Jen is the first smiling face you see when you visit The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus’ administrative office. Jen came to The Arc after hearing about it from an encounter with a former Arc employee while at her last job. She has been the receptionist for The Arc since 2013. Jen says,

“It really sounded like my place of calling and was something I was immediately interested in. And I soon realized it was where I belonged!”

Since being a part of The Arc team, Jen’s eyes were opened to the large amount of people who needed assistance with daily living tasks– but still weren’t getting the support they needed. As a result, she became a self-advocate for those same people with disabilities, saying,

“I began as a public speaker at age 21 when I joined The Brad Kaminsky Foundation for brain cancer research, but began public speaking on behalf of all programs at The Arc after working here.”

Jen, who grew up with complications from a brain trauma at a young age, was misunderstood and isolated growing up. She says,

“Special Education was new in public schools and I had to continually be persistent to receive help. People with disabilities were put out of sight, out of mind.” Jen goes on to explain why advocating now is so important to her, “I can help change people’s understanding of what a disability is, and educate others about how people with disabilities want to be a part of the community too.”

Jen’s passion for The Arc stems from the fact that the campus is so welcoming. She exclaims,

“What is so unique is that The Arc is an environment of acceptance. That is something I have seldom felt in my life, but it is so alive here among the staff, the students, and the families who are a part of this [The Arc’s] community.”

Jen loves working for The Arc so much she comes to campus even after her work shift is over stating,

“Ever since I came to Paxton I’ve become very active in every social activity. I was someone who needed The Arc, who needed a Paxton Campus growing up, and it’s just so fulfilling for me to now, to go to the Next Chapter Book Club, the Speak Up group, or attend the adult dances.”

She also selflessly volunteers her time at most of the on-Campus fundraisers and events, such as Shocktober and Music at the Manor.

In the future, Jen is extremely excited about the Barns of Paxton that will soon house the Advantage Behavior Clinic and the Ability Fitness Center — all for people with disabilities. She exclaims,

“It [The Barns] will be a shuttle rocket to new orbits for Paxton’s students, families and the community affected by disability. People of all abilities will flourish!”


50 Faces of The Arc- Immanuel & Elliot

Immanuel and Elliot are adorable, loving brothers who attend Open Door Learning Center, an intentionally-inclusive preschool at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Since attending ODLC for the past year and a half, parents Debbie and David have seen a tremendous difference in both of their sons.

“When Immanuel first started at ODLC, he had trouble sitting at circle time, needed extensive help with transitions, and also had trouble playing with other children,” said Debbie. “Now he’s expanded his socialization and kindergarten readiness skills.”

Since being enrolled at ODLC, Elliot has also made progress in learning the basics of school schedules, behavior expectations, and was potty trained by the staff.

Furthermore, Debbie and David have also seen development in both of their children’s communication skills. Immanuel improved on expressing his feelings and desires. Before attending ODLC, the parents were also concerned about Elliot’s verbal development, he was only saying two to three word phrases. Since then they say,

“His vocabulary and enunciation have improved dramatically. Now he prattles on in full sentences.”

Both boys enjoy going to school every day because of the awesome staff. However, Elliot in particular absolutely adores the teachers and must hug each of them every day! Debbie and David love the staff too, exclaiming,

“They are all dedicated to our children’s optimal development. Each of them are incredibly supportive, caring, and are continually thinking of ways to make the program more effective for each child.”

Without ODLC, Debbie and David believe Immanuel would not be in nearly as healthy a place as he is now in terms of socialization and being comfortable and confident in a school setting. They say,

“ODLC creates a safe and supportive space for our children to grow and learn with their unique styles. The staff know how to work with our children’s specific needs, strengths, and challenges.”

They only wish more preschools would take advantage of ODLC’s expertise in non-typical issues such as behavior management, social challenges, and communication stating,

“These early and effective interventions are reducing and even eliminating the need for more serious interventions later on. The curriculum really works, and I could not be more appreciative of ODLC.” 


50 Faces of The Arc- Patrick

Patrick attended The Aurora School (a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities) for the past eight years and graduated this June. His program director, Maureen, describes Patrick as a genuinely happy student who is extremely hard working. Maureen says,

“He loves being productive, and isn’t happy if if he’s not getting something done.”

While at Aurora, Patrick’s favorite activity is sorting beads and markers by colors– which he can do all day. Maureen notes,

“Patrick is also an excellent speller, and he likes playing different crossword and wordsearch apps on his iPad.”

Patrick is so good at spelling he’s even learned how to communicate with others through writing out a word or spelling out each letter if they can’t understand him, something he learned how to do all on his own.

Throughout the years of attending Aurora, Patrick’s learned to become more flexible with abrupt changes in his schedule. He’s also learned how to take turns, like when playing board games, and has become more social with his peers. Some of Patrick’s current goals include: learning to identify whether a clothing item is acceptable to wear (if it’s clean or dirty), taking inventory of the cleaning supplies he uses, and staying on track for all his tasks (with minimal guidance from his instructors). Five times a week Patrick goes on CBI (Community Based Instruction) trips which allows him to take the skills he learns in the classroom out into the community. Patrick either goes to the yoga studio where he cleans and takes inventory, the Giant grocery store where he picks out different items from a list, or various restaurants where he is able to practice ordering food from his iPad. Maureen says,

“The support we [The Arc of Loudoun] provide through these activities significantly increases success of students like Patrick.”

Furthermore, Maureen believes The Arc is so important to the community because the staff are able to teach important life skills to students who are in an impressionable part of their lives. Maureen states,

“This campus is so unique, and we’ve become the model for what other people want to emulate.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Kyle

For the past year, Kyle has been a member of the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program at The Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus; a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. However, he’s been a part of The Arc of Loudoun community since 2010, when his mom, Christine, started working at the Open Door Learning Center preschool on campus. Since then, Kyle, now 21, has volunteered as an assistant teacher at ODLC and has had other miscellaneous tasks, such as data entry, for the various programs at Paxton.

Volunteering and working at The Arc of Loudoun has allowed Kyle to learn many different skills. “It’s [The Arc] helped me learn how to be responsible and I’ve gained more experience with social interaction,” he said.  By gaining these skills, Kyle was able to secure a job at Noodles & Company in Leesburg, where he takes orders as a cashier, prepares the meals, and helps the customers. One of Kyle’s passions is cooking, and he teaches his fellow STEP Up colleagues how to cook different meals three times a month. Once a month Kyle also prepares for all his meals– where makes a list of all the ingredients and materials for his dish. Kyle makes a variety of dishes, but he loves cooking Italian food which is why he’s grateful that Paxton provided him the opportunity to gain work experience in order to become an employee at Noodles & Company.

Kyle aspires to become a professional chef, and he is now able to add both his experience from conducting cooking classes through STEP UP and his job at Noodles & Company to his resume when he applies to culinary school. Kyle believes he wouldn’t be where he is now without The Arc of Loudoun stating,

“This place is really special to me. It’s helped me grow, develop, and unlock my hidden potential. No one would have an excuse to feel angry here at a place like this.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Bryce

One of the next #50FacesofTheArc is Bryce!
Bryce has been attending The Aurora School for four years. His ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) instructor, Tyrelle, has described Bryce as a gentle giant, “He’s quiet, but also very smart.” Throughout Bryce’s time at Aurora, he has improved his communication skills immensely, especially with his articulation. Tyrelle says Bryce is currently working on his personal hygiene goals and vocational skills like table setting and dish washing. “All of these skills he’s learning allows him to live a more independent life,” states Tyrelle.
While at Aurora, Bryce loves visiting the school store, playing on the swings, watching YouTube videos, and sorting through the school’s collection of DVDs. Tyrelle explains, “He [Bryce] can spend all day just looking at the covers of the DVDs and inspecting every inch of it! He’s very fascinated by them.” One of Tyrelle’s favorite things about Bryce is watching all of his progress, saying, “Bryce retains so much information. It’s amazing to see how impressionable he is, and how much he learns everyday.” Because of The Arc of Loudoun, Tyrelle believes students, like Bryce, have the chance to learn at their own pace. “I think we [staff at The Arc] do a great job of adapting to all of the different personalities of the students. We’re able to give each student exactly what they need.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Dawn

Dawn has been working at The Aurora School for more than ten years, and as a veteran staff she is the most cherished. Before becoming the receptionist at Aurora, she was an instructor at the school for seven years, where she helped students with their daily goals. Kendra, the Interim Director of  Aurora says,

“Dawn is the first smiling face you see when you come here [Aurora]! We depend on her for so many things to make our day go more smoothly. The kids love her, and we love her too!”


Dawn explains why Aurora is so important to her saying,

“It’s given me the opportunity to learn how to interact with both typical and non-typical children. Plus, before coming to Aurora I had no idea what Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy was. Everything I learned about ABA, I learned at Aurora. And now, ABA helps me with my eight-year-old niece. I now know what to say, what not to say, and how to say it.”


Working with all the students is one of Dawn’s favorite things about Aurora.

“The best thing about working here is seeing the results of children’s progress,” she says. “Some students have graduated, some have gone back to mainstream public school, or joined STEP Up.”

She has no plans to leave Aurora anytime soon exclaiming,

“I like what we do and what we stand for, and I also love the students and my co-workers! The support here is amazing, too. If somebody goes into crisis, everybody comes running, no hesitation whatsoever.”


In the next 50 years, Dawn hopes more people will know about The Arc of Loudoun stating,

“The outreach and support at The Arc is great. I just wish more people knew what a wonderful place we are and how much we help people and the community. I don’t know of any other places like us and I feel like families would probably be struggling a lot if we weren’t here. It’s really amazing to have all the various programs here on one campus, united under The Arc.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Tiara

Tiara’s radiant personality will make anybody who sees her on Paxton Campus smile. She works as the receptionist for the ALLY Advocacy Center three times a week through STEP Up  (Supported Training & Employment Program); a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Some of Tiara’s tasks include: delivering mail on campus, greeting the guests at ALLY, making copies, and shredding papers.

Since being in STEP Up, Tiara has grown to be more independent. In fact, one of her main jobs on campus is to sell items from a mobile snack cart to the employees and bus drivers at Paxton– which she does completely alone. She restocks and organizes the snacks and drinks on the cart, which has several names including “Snax on Pax” and “Bart the Cart”, and she manages the money from the sales. Sometimes Tiara works with another member of Step Up in order to serve more customers. Tammy Goddard, ALLY program director, says

“Tiara is a great sales person – she loves to bring around the snack cart and if she knows you like a certain drink or snack, she puts it aside for you.”

Once Tiara has completed her work shift in the morning, she enjoys being social with everybody on campus. People know when Tiara is on campus because they’ll hear her greeting anybody she sees! She loves to ask people about their pets and asks how their pets are doing, because she loves animals as much as people. She usually ends the conversation by telling them to make sure that they give their pets a hug and a kiss from her.

Tiara is also very adept at making handmade cards for everybody at Paxton.

“She is a like a one-woman Hallmark store – she’s always making sure she is on top of making every single person on campus a birthday card, a get well card, or a going away card if they are leaving,” says Tammy. “She also makes a point to ask everyone who stops in ALLY what their two favorite colors are, and she draws pictures and cards for all of the new clients when they come in.”

Besides creating cards, Tiara enjoys just being able to work at Paxton, saying,

“I can’t imagine working anywhere else, being here makes me so happy!”   

50 Faces of The Arc- Tammy

Tammy first heard about The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus in the Spring of 2011, after her son was diagnosed with a motor skills disability. She was advised to get an advocate, in which she researched online and found The Arc. After meeting with ALLY (A Life Like Yours) Advocacy’s past directors to discuss plans regarding her legal rights as a parent of a child with disabilities, she knew she needed to be a part of The Arc,

“It was infectious–how passionate they [the ALLY directors] were and it caught on to me! I decided then and there that I wanted to work there and be contributing to helping other families.”

Tammy initially worked at the front desk of The Aurora School, a school for students with disabilities located on Paxton Campus. She would later become ALLY’s Program Director. Tammy explains,

“The Arc became important to me because of my son, it stayed important to me because my son is just one out of the thousand people we help every year. My son did the social skills group, he goes to all the sensory sensitive movies, and the Spring Festival. My daughter volunteers with Shocktober and did siblings shops (workshop for siblings of people with disabilities). I’ve gotten IEP (Individualized Education Plan) help and gone to parent support groups here. The whole family has been helped.”

Throughout her time working for The Arc, Tammy has given back to the community through all the programs ALLY hosts.

“We help people with disabilities, but also help people in need. My favorite program is the Holiday Giving Program. Last year we helped give presents to 191 families, who would otherwise not have any gifts. It’s very rewarding!”

In the fall of 2011, Tammy created Maggie’s Closet, which provides free clothing to families in need. Maggie’s first started in a small office in one of the buildings on Paxton Campus, but expanded after just one week. Tammy exclaims,

“What I loved about it is that people just want to give! They want a reason to be excited, want a reason to help. There’s so much generosity in the community–which I hoped for, but didn’t realize until I started working here.”

Whether it’s gifting presents to those in need or creating Maggie’s Closet, Tammy is constantly looking for new and creative ways to help others through The Arc, saying

“There’s just so many different ways that people can help and be helped here. It’s the best thing about working here.” 

Her newest goal is to revamp the volunteer program for ALLY. She plans to start a mentoring program, where volunteers have an opportunity to know more of the members of The Arc and teach them new skills.

Tammy believes there’s no other organization like The Arc, stating

“Where else can you go to get help with your IEP,  watch a sensory sensitive movie, get a backpack for school supplies, and get a prom dress for your daughter? We serve so many different facets of life for people with disabilities.”

Because of this, she hopes in the next 50 years The Arc will be an example for other agencies and nonprofit to model themselves after saying,

“It’s the stuff we do, plus the amazing people we serve, plus the people that work here. It’s such a good combination.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Saul & Abe

Saul and Abe are twin brothers who’ve been attending The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, for the past three years. Although they look exactly alike, their personalities greatly differ. Saul is independent, and he enjoys completing tasks without any help. His Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Instructor, John, says he’s very determined,

“Once he [Saul] starts something, he needs to finish it. He likes to get everything just right.”


Abe, on the other hand, is not as much of a perfectionist as Saul. Abe’s ABA instructor, Kay, describes him as creative,

“He [Abe] likes Pinterest, colors, and playing the piano– especially the “Rugrats” theme song,” she says.


Although their personalities are different, the staff and learning style at Aurora has been able to accommodate both of the boys’ needs. Through ABA therapy, Saul and Abe are improving their communication skills. John and Kay state,

“The teaching style here [Aurora] really helps them. They now know how to talk about how they are feeling, and explain why they’re feeling a certain way.”

While at Aurora, the boys are learning vocational skills, such as washing their hands, adaptive behavior management, and identifying safety signs in the community.

John says, “Saul also loves to cook and that’s a skill he’s learning at Aurora. His favorite foods to make are french toast and pancakes!”

John and Kay explain that they enjoy working with Saul and Abe because of their goofy and lovable personalities, exclaiming,

“They love dancing and can do the ‘cha-cha slide.’ They’re both so silly and unique in their own way, which makes them so fun to be around!”

Because of schools like Aurora and the services provided by The Arc of Loudoun, kids are given the opportunity to succeed. Kay says,

“The staff know how to handle all types of behaviors here, which allows all of the students to be themselves.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Rena

Rena has been working for the Arc of Loudoun since 2007. She began as an instructor at The Aurora School, a school for children with developmental disabilities; primarily autism. Since 2011, she’s worked at the Open Door Learning Center, an intentionally inclusive preschool for children with and without disabilities, located on the Paxton Campus. When speaking about her career at The Arc, Rena becomes emotional.

“I love doing this because I know I’m helping somebody and making their life better,” she says. “I can really see the growth in children, and I see them open up and blossom–it’s a wonderful feeling…I love it!”  

Rena constantly sees changes in the children because of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy. She’s experienced children who never even said “Hi”, to now interacting with their peers on the playground and initiating conversations. Her favorite thing is to see success!  She says ABA therapy changes people’s lives. And when parents tell her what a difference it makes– that’s one of the goals, knowing that it’s making a difference in people’s lives.  

“It makes me so happy!” Rena exclaims. “Moreover, knowing that the children will now be able to thrive in the community because of schools like Aurora and ODLC, it’s what keeps me motivated.”  

She hopes that The Arc will continue grow even bigger and reach out to more people.

“There are programs, but there are no programs like this,” Rena states. “I would hope in the next 50 years, The Arc expands into different school districts, different counties, and even different states! There is no limit on what The Arc can do to help the community!”

50 Faces of The Arc- Matthew

Matthew’s been described as a very dedicated employee at STEP Up, the Supported Training and Employment Program of The Arc of Loudoun that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Before joining STEP Up, Matthew graduated from The Aurora School (a school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities ages 5-22 on Paxton Campus). After discovering Aurora, Matthew’s father Jim said he saw a tremendous difference in Matthew.

“I felt like I finally found a place with trained instructors who knew how to handle Matthew’s behavior,” he said. “Before attending Aurora, Matthew would become aggressive when he was given a demand, but now, after graduating from the school and joining STEP Up, his negative behavior has been slowly diminishing.”

Each day at Paxton, Matthew learns to be more independent. His main responsibility is cleaning the various buildings on campus, which he absolutely loves. Mary, his former STEP Up coordinator says,

“You knows he’s  [Matthew] working hard because you’ll hear the squeaking of the windows as he cleans them. He’s the best cleaner and most hard working employee you’ll ever meet. He doesn’t want to take a break until the job is done!”

With the support and training of both Aurora and STEP Up staff, Matthew was able to start working part time, where he cleans office spaces for two companies twice a week. Working as a part time employee gives Matthew more independence and freedom, which he enjoys. Matthew continues to learn more skills at STEP Up, such as time management, following lists, and increasing the duration of his work.

Sometimes while Matthew’s working, he likes to ‘script’ from game shows. (Scripting is a common occurrence among those with autism which involves repetitive reciting of lines from movies, tv shows, books, etc. and believed to be a coping mechanism). He quizzes all of The Arc office employees by asking them different questions and answers from the shows he watches. It’s like a fun game for him, and for the employees as well!  

One of Mary’s favorite things about Matthew is his affectionate gestures.

“Matthew is very sweet,” she states. “He doesn’t talk very much, but he’ll show he has a bond with you by coming over and squeezing your arms, giving you a thumbs up, or hugging you–always a highlight of my day.”

In the future, his supervisors and his dad, Jim, hope that Matthew will have a full time job where he can reach his maximum potential.


50 Faces of The Arc- Kendra

Kendra is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus. She has been working for The Arc for eight-and-a-half years, where she started as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist at The Aurora School, a year-round day school for children with developmental disabilities; mainly autism. She initially heard about Aurora while searching for programs for her son, Cannon, to attend. After touring the school in 2008, Kendra was immediately impressed by the ABA therapy the instructors were practicing with the students. She was so impressed, in fact, that she moved her family to Loudoun County in the hopes that Cannon could one day attend Aurora. Although Cannon, now 17, would later attend public school, Kendra would begin her career as an ABA therapist at Aurora.

Kendra’s desire to become an ABA therapist grew after seeing how effective ABA therapy was for Cannon, who has autism.

“I knew I wanted to become a therapist and help children with the same needs,” she said.  

In her duties with The Arc, she is currently Clinical Director of the Paxton Advantage Behavior Clinic and a behavior consultant to students at The Aurora School, the preschool students at Open Door Learning Center, and the employees at STEP Up (a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities).

Seeing the progress the students and employees make is one of Kendra’s absolute favorite things about working at Paxton Campus.

“Through ABA therapy, I  have seen astronomical success in students who went from not communicating at all to being able to read text, sign words, and talk vocally!” she exclaimed.

She’s also witnessed students’ severe aggressive and self-injurious behavior decrease through ABA therapy. 

Later this year, Kendra will be there for the grand opening of the Advantage Behavior Clinic on Paxton Campus. The clinic will allow people, like Cannon, who may not have had the opportunity to attend schools like Aurora the chance to still get the support they need– whether that’s learning communication or social skills. Kendra is thrilled about opening the clinic, and one of her desires is to create a wraparound approach where the staff at The Arc can work together with the public school teachers and their after school activities to practice social skills with a variety of students. In addition, she hopes through this approach everyone will know the effectiveness of ABA therapy and how it works.

Without The Arc, Kendra believes families would be at a great loss. She explains how The Arc is filling a need in the community by helping children and adults with disabilities live “a life like yours.” Programs and workshops at The Arc like CBI (Community Based Instruction) and the new Pathways to Justice Training, allow people with disabilities the opportunity to interact with community members such as bus drivers, cashiers, or police officers. These programs greatly benefit both the individuals with disabilities along with the community members as they learn to interact with each other. Kendra explains the importance of all the programs at The Arc stating,

“I wish more people knew that we are able to fulfill the gaps in the community with more volunteers and more funding. If they fund it, we can do it. We’re willing to put in the hard work, we just need the resources.”

Within the next 50 years, Kendra hopes The Arc will expand its programs all while “doing what they do best” which is helping the community.


50 Faces of The Arc- Madison

Madison is an energetic student at The Aurora School, a year-round school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the past five years since she’s been attending Aurora, Madison has learned academic skills, along with how to connect with people–whether it be with her peers or with staff. Maggie, Madison’s Applied Behavior Analysis Instructor, says,

“All the staff here know Madison. She’s very outgoing and makes friends with everybody! She’s one spit fire of a gal.”

Throughout her time at Aurora, Madison has learned general safety skills such as reading signs (like “danger”, “exit”, and “enter”) along with learning basic household chores, like doing laundry. Madison continues to learn other skills at Aurora, like how to advocate for herself.
Some of Madison’s favorite activities at Aurora include listening to her favorite band (O.A.R), playing on the tire swings, and socializing with the staff and students. Maggie says,

“I love Madison’s charisma, and her love for life! She’s very much herself all the time and we’ve really grown to have a great friendship.”

Maggie wishes more people knew how The Arc of Loudoun and Aurora provides students with different learning styles.

“The Arc gives children so many opportunities to learn,” she says. “More people should be able to see, in person, how much growth and progress our students make.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Drew

Drew is a hard-working employee at The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus. He’s been a member of the STEP Up (Supported Training & Employment) Program for two years, which is a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. He first discovered Paxton Campus after he and his mom attended the ALLY Advocacy Center’s Transition Series, a workshop that helps families with young adults with disabilities transition out of the public school system at age 22.

Drew, who has high-functioning autism, says he’s incredibly grateful for STEP Up, and is always excited to go to work every morning! He takes pride in his daily tasks, which range from changing light bulbs to mulching and mowing the 17-acre grounds of Paxton. Once his morning shift is over, Drew participates in STEP Up’s afternoon enrichment activities.

“I enjoy visits from Nic the therapy dog and taking field trips to places like the National Air and Space Museum,” he says. “But going to Top Golf is my personal favorite!”

Not only is Drew an employee at Paxton, he’s also an advocate for people with special needs. Since participating in The Arc’s self-advocacy and public speaking group Speak Up, Drew has learned how to advocate for himself. Last year, Drew and other members of Speak Up traveled to Richmond; where he had the opportunity to speak directly to state lawmakers about transportation and group homes for people with disabilities.

Drew says he’s also learned how to be safe in the community through programs like ALLY’s ‘PILE’ (Positive Interaction with Law Enforcement) initiative on campus. This program teaches law enforcement personnel how to interact and with people with disabilities. Drew explains that programs like these are one of the reasons why The Arc of Loudoun is important to him saying,

”Being here helps to keep me safe. I have special needs, I have high-functioning autism. There are a lot of people with special needs around here, and Paxton benefits the whole community!”

iCan Bike Spring Poker Run April 22

Paxton Campus has partnered with Leesburg Moose Lodge to host “iCan Bike” Spring Poker run on Saturday, 4/22. Funds will support iCan Bike Camp, a program that teaches children and adults with disabilities how to ride a two-wheel bicycle independently.

More information about iCan Bike HERE 

We hope you can join us!

50 Faces of The Arc- Trish

Meet Trish Thomason, mom to 17-year-old Eric, a student at The Aurora School. Before her family moved from Colorado to Virginia, Trish researched different schools for Eric to attend, which is how she discovered The Arc of Loudoun and Aurora. Eric thrives in a smaller, inclusive, structured environment, so Aurora was the perfect fit for him. In the one and half years since Eric’s been attending Aurora, Trish has seen a huge improvement.

“His focusing and ability to do tasks has gotten much better,” she says. “He also has better self-regulation of his emotions. And he’s happy! There’s definitely been schools where he didn’t want to go at all, and that doesn’t happen now. He gets excited about different things happening at school every single day.”

Not only does Eric attend The Aurora School, he also participates in many of the events that The Arc of Loudoun on Paxon Campus holds for its members. He enjoys doing adaptive yoga, art classes, and he absolutely loves music therapy. Eric’s even volunteered at Paxton’s annual fundraising event, Shocktober. After graduating from Aurora, Trish hopes Eric will join STEP Up, a day support program that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities.

“He loves animals and wants a giraffe as a pet. I want to give him the opportunity to work with animals, even just once a week. And that can be a place that can meld his interests with something that can grow within The Arc or Paxton Campus family.”

Trish loves The Arc of Loudoun because of the people.

“The people and staff are my favorite thing!” she exclaims. “Eric doesn’t get to just deal with his staff, but with other people from different programs as well. This allows Eric, and all the students, more opportunities for a wider social network.” She says The Arc’s efforts to incorporate individuals into the community is huge. “And that’s what I like about it. I like that they’re taking steps to let our kids be involved in the community, as well as bringing the community in to appreciate what our kids do. I think that’s so important.”

Trish also believes it’s important to give back to an organization that has given her so much, which is why she volunteers once a week with STEP Up.

“Ever since Eric started, I’ve volunteered at every program he’s been at. I come whenever I have free time, it’s a way to give back to them. I think it’s important to be involved. I want my kid happy and safe and I’ll work with any program that’ll let that happen.”

In the future, Trish hopes that more people will know about The Arc.

“I need it. Everybody needs it. I don’t have to spend so much time researching what’s out there about my kid’s future. The Arc has taken so many of those steps [of researching] away from us, which allows us to spend more time with our kids.”

50 Faces of The Arc- Aidan

Aidan is an enthusiastic student at The Aurora School on Paxton Campus. His infectious laugh can often be heard resonating throughout the entire building! He’s extremely musical and is always asking when he can enjoy his favorite activity: playing his piano keyboard. However, before attending Aurora, this simple act of asking would’ve been impossible– since he could initially only communicate using three pictures. Today, after six years of instruction at Aurora, Aidan can use sign language, express his thoughts through the use of an iPad, read over 100 words, and is now learning to talk. As Aidan conquers his communication skills, he continues to learn countless new skills that will provide him the chance to thrive in the community with his peers and live a more independent life. Hailey, Aidan’s lead Applied Behavior Analyst Instructor explains the importance of Aurora,

“The Aurora School and The Arc of Loudoun provides young adults, like Aidan, the opportunity to learn and grow into their full potential. I wish more people knew about the amazing progress our students make using ABA (instructional methods), and how all of the Aurora staff are striving to provide our students with, ‘A Life Like Yours.’”


50 Faces of The Arc- Lauren

Meet Lauren. She works at Maggie’s Closet (named after the founder of Paxton Campus’ daughter, Margaret) a non-profit store located on Paxton Campus that provides free clothing and accessories for families in need. After one year of volunteering, Lauren was given the opportunity to work part-time at Maggie’s Closet through STEP Up; a program of The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus that teaches vocational skills to adults with disabilities. Maggie’s Closet accepts shoppers by appointment only and features all sizes of quality, seasonal clothing. Lauren recently began taking on more responsibility; answering phone calls, and scheduling shopping visits. She greets each shopper with a smile when they arrive for their appointments.

Lauren says working at ‘Maggie’s’ has been an amazing experience,

“I have a lot more confidence talking to people now and have become more independent. I’ve learned skills that I’ve never learned before!”

Skills such as answering the phone and interacting with customers were challenging for Lauren at first, but now she’s able to do both tasks easily. In fact, she’d love to do more public speaking. Lauren says,“I’d like to be on TV or the news. Advocating and being able to talk at The White House about Paxton would be my dream!” Lauren especially enjoys meeting all the families who shop at Maggie’s,“I love seeing them smiling. It makes me happy knowing that I’m bringing happiness to all of the people who are shopping.”

Learn more about Maggie’s Closet here: www.paxtoncampus.org/maggies-closet



50 Faces of The Arc- Masih

Meet Masih, a bright and cheerful eight-year-old student at The Aurora School. Vanessa, his lead Applied Behavior Analysis instructor, has seen tremendous growth in Masih since the beginning of the school year in September. Before coming to Aurora, Masih struggled going to new places, but now he looks forward to visiting the public library or stopping by the grocery store. He continues to learn lifelong skills at Aurora: from learning to share with others, to washing his hands independently, to allowing peers to be physically near him– now, he’s always asking for hugs! Vanessa believes it’s important for kids who are on the autism spectrum, like Masih, to have the opportunity to attend schools like Aurora that provide different learning strategies for all types of students. Vanessa is extremely proud of Masih’s progress saying,

“I enjoy knowing and working with everyone at Paxton Campus, but what an honor to work closely with Masih…the skills he learns at Aurora he will keep for a lifetime.”

Yard & Bake Sale- May 20 Support our Preschool

Open Door Learning Center is hosting their Spring Yard/Bake Sale on Saturday, May 20th (rain or shine) from 7am-11am. We’re looking for buyers, sellers, and bakers!

Want to be a vendor at the yard sale? Fill out this form HERE!

Want to donate some baked goods? Please contact Christine Favreaux at cfavreaux@paxtoncampus.org

Location: Paxton Campus, 601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg, VA 20176 


CANCELED Making Your Own ‘Kyle’ File: Rising Kindergarten Students: May 24th

Due to low registration the Making Your Own Kyle File workshop is CANCELED. 

However, ODLC director, Tine Favreaux ,and ALLY Advocacy Director, Eileen Shaffer, would be happy to meet with you individually to give you resources and tips on creating a file for your child!

You can contact them here:
Tine Favreaux’s email: cfavreaux@paxtoncampus.org
Eileen Shaffer’s email: eshaffer@paxtoncampus.org


Information that should be included in your child’s file: 

  • Your child’s Allergies
  • If your child has a sibling
  • How your child communicates
  • Your family pet’s name
  • And much more! 

Come to the workshop and learn more helpful tips of what information you should include in your child’s file, and WHY it should be included! 


Volunteer Orientation June 19th

Interested in volunteering for The Arc of Loudoun on Paxton Campus? Then come to our VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION, on Monday, June 19th from 6:30-8:00pm in ALLY Advocacy Center. 

At the orientation you’ll tour the campus, learn about the different 2017 volunteer opportunities, and learn more about Paxton’s mission and various programs! 


Please contact Tammy Goddard with any questions: tgoddard@paxtoncampus.org 

*NOTE* if you only volunteer at Shocktober you do NOT need to attend this session. There will be a separate orientation at “Ghoul School” for Shocktober volunteers.