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.”