Arc of Acadiana discusses Iota location with Rotarians
By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – Iota is known for its Mardi Gras and its historical buildings, but now its known nationally for something bigger.
When The Arc of Acadiana, formerly known as The Arc of Iberia, took over the Acadiana Region Supports and Services Center in Iota through a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state of Louisiana, doubts on whether privatizing a developmental facility could work ran rampant. But now, Iota houses the first successful case in the nation of such a venture.
Mike Sonnier, director of health services, and Katherine Simoneaux, director of employment services, were on hand to discuss The Arc of Acadiana and, specifically, it’s work in Acadia Parish with its Iota location and other new opportunities to the Rotary Club of Crowley Tuesday.
“I can understand how other companies have failed in this endeavor,” said Sonnier. “Now it’s thriving, and not only are we providing the same type of services that were provided there before but we are also growing it as well.”
The Iota campus is about 200 acres, on which it has reopened The Gardens, which is gearing up for a spring sale after a successful fall sale last year, and the addition of a larger pond that is handicap accessible and a family clinic in Iota. The location now also houses a computer lab specifically designed to help people with developmental disabilities communicate.
The Arc of Acadiana’s philosophy is that people with developmental disabilities have the right to live, work and participate in the least restrictive environment possible, and that these individuals deserve professional training and support services that enable them to make responsible, informed choices and live the life they choose.
With that in mind, The Arc of Acadiana continues to offer many opportunities to its clients including a day program which can include leisure activities or work readiness programs. The work readiness program is something it is particularly proud of as it gives people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to work if they so choose and can handle it, helping give their clients a purpose.
The clients work in The Arc’s retail stores, one of which opened recently in Church Point and another which will open up in Crowley, as well as in other ways like document shredding and recycling.
Their latest endeavor involves recycling Mardi Gras beads for sale next year through a collection and sanitation process.
“We are always open to new opportunities for our clients,” said Simoneaux.
Earlier in the meeting, Taylor Longon, president of Ross Elementary’s Early Act Club, presented a donation to the Rotary Club of Crowley for PolioPlus.