DENVER -- This year marks 30 years since President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the month of March "developmental disabilities awareness month." Today there are more programs, jobs and education opportunities for people with developmental disabilities than in the past. That's a credit to the countless advocates, non-profits and people who have fought for rights and support.
ARC thrift stores is one of the non-profits that has focused on that mission. The money shoppers spend at the stores supports many programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"We help fund advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, people who may have Down Syndrome or autism, or cerebral palsy and we help them find them jobs, housing, medical services and services in schools," says ARC CEO Lloyd Lewis.
Lewis began working with ARC after his son was born with Down Syndrome in 2003. He sees a more promising future for his son, with more opportunities.
"He's doing quite well in 7th grade. He's reading and doing math and social studies. And I want him to do well in high school and maybe think about going to college. More and more people with developmental disabilities are pursuing higher education opportunities," says Lewis.
March 1 is also "spread the word to end the word" day. This is a campaign to end the use of the "r-word" and educate people about how disrespectful and hurtful that word is.