The United Arc - April 2021 Newsletter

The United Arc provides quality services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families since 1951.  We provide services to individuals and their families in Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester Counties of Massachusetts.


Our Mission: The United Arc supports people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in achieving the universal goals of inclusion, choice, and independence.

Our Vision: All people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve the fullest expression of their lives.


Happy Spring!  I hope you are well and smiling.  We have some exciting things happening in our programs.  We are excited about our recent Coffee & Conversation virtual event.  Make sure to click on the link and watch the video.      

Please stay healthy and safe,

Lynne Marie Bielecki
Executive Director

Welcome to The United Arc Team

Hired September 2020:

Saida David,

Positive Parenting, Holyoke, Caseworker


Hired February 2021:

Robert Byrd,

Adult Services, Residential, Direct Support Professional
Hired March 2021:

Jeremy Dearborn,

Adult Services, Residential, Direct Support Professional



Fred Warren, Director of Human Resources


Are you interested in joining our fabulous team or know someone who is looking for a career opportunity that makes a difference in lives of others? Check out all the wonderful jobs we are currently offering by clicking the "Career Opportunities" button below.

Juli Moreno, Director of Adult & Support Services


Full Time Nurse

We are beyond happy that our per diem Registered Nurse, Doreen, has decided to be with us full time! There was rejoicing in all the programs when Doreen came aboard.  She has single handedly navigated the Medication Administration Program testing and compliance.  During the pandemic, all the processes for staff, from education to testing, was done virtually.  Doreen would observe as staff uploaded videos of themselves dispensing medications.  The testing was also done virtually, and while anxiety runs high passing the written and practical pieces, Doreen was present for each step.  Managing technical issues was not easy, but as a team we got through. The importance of qualified staff to dispense medications safely and correctly is crucial to the overall health and well-being of the individuals.  Doreen’s efforts have been successful, with a 90% pass rate of staff becoming certified to pass medications.   

Doreen oversees the group home medical and health needs and can be found in the sites chatting with individuals and staff, checking on everyone’s state of health and over all well-being.  Outreach staff and individuals also rely on Doreen for consultation and medication questions and issues.  She is always available, always answers her phone, and will always make you laugh.  She will also not hesitate to set anyone straight on what needs to happen, and while we adore Doreen, we do what she says 

Having a Registered Nurse on premises is crucial to a program’s overall health.  For us, Doreen provides genuine and authentic support and guidance.  Her sense of humor and sass help make living in a pandemic an easier pill to swallow.  

One Year Later 

Last St. Patrick's Day the United Arc group homes decided to be safe and pro-actively “locked down” to visitors, outings, day programs and the structured life we all knew and relied on. The individuals and staff found creative means to stay busy and have safe, distanced fun. Some took up fishing, others art, and many participated in Zoom Clubs or day programs.   

Unlike many programs across the state, we have been blessed with a low positivity rate area.  This combined with efforts by all, helped us avoid any quarantine. None of our individuals in the group home setting tested positive for the virus. The individuals and staff successfully managed pop-up testing and the group home staff continue to have to test every two weeks to ensure health in our homes.  

CVS and OmniCare partnered with us to conduct three vaccination clinics.  All the individuals and most staff successfully completed the full round of vaccinations.  For everyone involved it felt as if we were one step closer to the “back to normal.” Many of the activities and life lessons learned throughout the past year may now be part of our new normal.   

Throughout this time, we have welcomed two new individuals to our residential program, and they have become part of the family already.  Hope they like to fish.... 

Some of the most valued people are often found in the background, supporting and enhancing the lives of the individuals they live with.  Shared Living providers have had the challenge of providing 24-hour care throughout this pandemic.  While many across the state withdrew from being providers, The United Arc providers have not only stuck it out, but helped individuals make strides in areas of exercise and health.  Shout out to Dan and Chris who participated in the Coffee and Conversation video, expressing what it has been like throughout the pandemic, as well as the challenges faced with working and trying to not only maintain sobriety but learning to thrive while isolating.  Another shout out to Paula for the creative crafts and attending the Zoom Pioneer Club! 

St. Patrick's Day 2020, right before the shutdown, we were able to enroll a new individual and provider.  Leslie had been a valuable staff for the United Arc and made the transition to be a stellar provider.  She is now a provider for Patrick.  How fitting that he and Leslie became official on St. Patrick’s Day!    

Positive Parenting Update:

Exciting news as of March 1, 2021 the Positive Parenting Program has begun offering services to the DCF Office in the Berkshires. Staff from the Holyoke office currently provide In-Home Support Services and Supervised Visitation Services. The Youth Transition Services staff from the Turners Falls offices currently provide services to Youth in the Berkshires. Program Managers from Positive Parenting and Youth Transition are currently interviewing and seeking staff that live in the Berkshire area.

Susan Jones, Director of Family & Youth Supports

Update on the United Arc’s Grandparent & Kinship Care Resource Center

By Janet Doody

A year ago, the Grandparent Support Group at the United Arc held its last regular indoor meeting.  As most people, we did not realize at the time that we were about to enter into a whole new experience of meeting as a group.  Even though we were in lock down and could no longer have our monthly gatherings, grandparents were even more in need of support and connection as they endeavored to teach their grandkids at home, make them wear masks, and limit contact with their friends and relatives. The Grandparent Group held its first Zoom meeting in April, 2020. Although not all families were comfortable with the new format, we have been able to have some great meetings with our grandparents on Zoom. In September and October we even dared to meet in person, outside at a park in Turners Falls. Those outdoor gatherings were great fun as they included some of the grandchildren who were doing remote learning. We are looking forward to more in person meetings this spring and summer.

Our Resource Center is supported by a grant from Lifepath and the United Way. In addition, we receive resources and guidance from the Mass. Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren. The Commission has given us PPE supplies, craft materials for families and the opportunity to attend a wide range of great webinars. This spring they are providing funds for families to get a season pass to Look Park in Northampton.

We welcome all grandparents and kinship providers to join us. I am profoundly impressed by the courage and dedication of these folks who have stepped up to care for their grandchildren when their own children are not able to. It is very a challenging and rewarding job especially during a pandemic! I am honored to offer a forum where grandparents can share their experiences. I can be reached at

Grandparent Group Receives Grant

The United Arc’s Grandparent & Kinship Care Resource Center got the good news recently that we have received a grant from the Mass. Commission on the Status of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.  This grant will give each family in our group a seasons’ pass to Look Park in Northampton. Look Park is a beautiful large park that's perfect for the whole family. It has a wide range of activities, including a Steamer Train, Bumper Boats, Paddle Boats, Playgrounds and a Water Spray Park. We are planning a picnic for our grandparents and their grandkids this summer at the park. Many thanks to the commission for their support!


For information on Events, Membership, and Sponsorships please contact        Willow Ross, Director of Communications and Development at: or (413) 774-5558 x 1011.

View our 2020 Annual Report HERE


Watch the Coffee & Conversation video HERE.


Benefits of being a United Arc Member:

  • Additional Membership with The Arc of Massachusetts and The Arc of The United States
  • Recognition of your commitment to our work in the Annual Report Membership Roster
  • Invitations to Membership Only meetings and social events, including the Annual Business Meeting   
  • Coming soon: Access to the Membership Portal on our website, plus access to our Newsletter and our Mailings

Visit our MEMBERSHIP portion of the website HERE.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

A Hug for Everyone at The United Arc!


Looking for our program activities during the COVID-19 precautions?
Click one of the images below or visit

Achieve with us.


The United Arc
294 Avenue A
Turners Falls, Massachusetts 01376
(413) 774-5558


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