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CRISP in Walpole Fundraiser and the Tyler Can! Initiative
October 20, 2020
Lifeworks Completes Merger: Advocacy, Empowerment And Opportunity
The Arc of South Norfolk and Lifeworks Inc., longtime affiliated nonprofit human services providers with shared missions of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, finalized their merger to become one agency, Lifeworks.
The merger, announced last summer and effective Oct. 1, 2020, comes after decades of shared history. To mark the occasion, Lifeworks rolled out a new mission statement: “Advocacy. Empowerment. Opportunity.” This statement defines the agency’s role as a leader in providing resources to, and a voice for, disabled individuals, their families, and any other supports they may have.
“Education of the community, as well as emphasizing that Lifeworks is still a chapter of the Arc, is important,” says Daniel Burke, CEO of Lifeworks, when asked how Lifeworks will keep the brand recognition that The Arc of South Norfolk and Lifeworks Inc had built in the Westwood area. “We have always enjoyed support from the town of Westwood, and Lifeworks is the same organization with the same staff.”
“The past few months finalizing the details of the merger has been an incredible way to look ahead at the future of Lifeworks and how we plan on building new partnerships, providing enhanced person-centered supports and continuing our relentless advocacy for the individuals we serve,” Burke continues. “We are so excited to make things final and to share our vision for how this new agency will better serve the community and the families we have come to know and love.”
Lifeworks also announced the winner of its Jane Forsberg Advocacy Award. At a Sept. 10 virtual event, Walpole’s Tyler Forgeron was recognized for his work collecting redeemable cans and bottles to raise money for local charities. Tyler’s Facebook page for this project can be found at Tyler Can.
Tyler, who was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old, started his collections after the movie theater where he worked closed because of COVID-19 restrictions. Each week, part of his fundraising is donated to Lifework’s Family Autism Center, where he has received services. Tyler has donated nearly $7,000, with over $2,000 given to the Family Autism Center. Other charities that have benefitted include a local animal shelter and food pantry and nonprofits fighting diseases like ALS and diabetes.
Tyler’s self-advocacy has led local businesses to express an interest in working with him in supporting autistic and other disabled people. As he accepted the Jane Forsberg Advocacy Award, Tyler said that giving to others makes him “feel great about himself.”
In October, Crisp Restaurant in Walpole will host a fundraiser to benefit the Family Autism Center in honor of Tyler and his work.
“We are inspired by people like Tyler who show us the power and love that individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities have for loved ones and strangers alike,” says Dennis Carroll, the Board Chair of Lifeworks. “The merger that has created Lifeworks will help programs like the Family Autism Center to reach more people and impact more lives.”
“[Due to the COVID-19 pandemic], we adjusted to bring support virtually with staff and groups through the Family Autism Center,” says Burke. “Families can pick up kits in our lobbies, and we have also provided families with PPE. At present, our day programs have reopened in person; however, virtual day programs are also available. These programs will prevent isolation for disabled people in our community.”
Lifeworks is building a new website (coming soon to www.lifeworksarc.org) that will serve as a central resource for families across Greater Boston. Designed by Arlington-based MetroCreate, the website brings together service and program information from the original websites for The Arc of South Norfolk and Lifeworks Inc., along with new features highlighting individuals and families served by Lifeworks along with its dedicated staff.