FRANKLINTON — On Tuesday morning, students from Franklinton High School visited the North Carolina Legislature to advocate for individuals with disabilities in partnership with The Arc of North Carolina — a statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The visit was coordinated and led by John Nash, Executive Director of The Arc of North Carolina. Jennifer Dale’s adaptive curriculum students from FHS joined Nash on Tuesday to distribute Arc materials to legislators and their aides. The experience, Nash said, provides much-needed context for policy makers as they enact laws that affect individuals with disabilities.
“First off, this is a learning opportunity for these students,” Nash said. “But when somebody shows up and says ‘this affects me,’ all of the sudden it goes from being a policy to a person.”
After a brief introduction to organizers and Arc staff members, students and other Arc supporters divided into groups and walked the halls of the legislative building with information packets and handmade Valentine’s Day gifts for state leaders and their staff.
The experience is one that Nash and school leaders in Franklin County say will not only help shape the educational outcomes of students who participated, but could help impact statewide policy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We already know that if we have the ability to impact their learning experience early, we will never take away their disability but we can mitigate many of the impacts and challenges to change the life outcomes for many people,” he said.