Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney was honored at the Arc Mercer Annual Fall Gala for his steadfast leadership in the Senate for individuals with developmental disabilities. He also joined with the Arc of New Jersey for its Family Caregivers Month Event.
At the virtual Gala, the Mercer ARC honored Senator Sweeney with its “Leadership Hero Award” for his long record of support for Mercer ARC and other agencies providing services to the developmentally disabled. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sweeney worked to maintain funding for Mercer ARC and its vocational Extended Employment program and fought to provide funding for increased wages for direct support professionals.
At the Arc of New Jersey Family Caregivers Event, Senator Sweeney, a dedicated advocate for people with disabilities, spoke with families to hear about their experiences and challenges they face.
“Throughout the entire pandemic, supporting individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities has remained a major priority of mine,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “We have to safeguard the supports and resources needed to protect the well-being of these individuals and do what is necessary to minimize the impact of this unforgiving virus on their community. The part that family caregivers play in these efforts and the importance of the support they provide for their loved ones cannot be overstated.”
The Arc Mercer and the Arc of New Jersey are committed to securing for all people with developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals. Programs are provided for those who need them and opportunities for integration in the larger community are sought. Friendship and support are offered to families, friends, and the community.
“Senator Sweeney’s dedication to upholding and protecting disability resources and rights, even in the height of a pandemic has been astounding,” said Steven Cook, Executive Director of the Arc Mercer. “Many individuals within our community have been able to continue their daily activities and programs in the midst of a major pandemic thanks in large part to the advocacy of the Senate President.”
The Caregiver Action Network, which spearheads the celebration of National Family Caregiver Month began promoting national recognition of family caregivers in 1994. President Clinton signed the first National Family Caregivers Month proclamation in 1997, and every President since has recognized and honored family caregivers each November.