The Arc of Atlantic County remains on the forefront of working with the 100,000 people in the communities served by the organization, with 14,000 in Atlantic County alone. Their partnership with Ocean Casino Resort has allowed their work within the community to flourish, while they work within the current challenges that all community organizations are faced with today.

We spoke with Mary Ruley Moyer, Director of Development & Community Outreach at The Arc of Atlantic County about Ocean Casino Resort’s ongoing partnership with them, as well as the members of their organization that are true “heroes” during the challenging year we have experienced.

How has your relationship with Ocean Casino Resort enhanced your services to the community? 

Mary Ruley Moyer: Communicating the types of support available to people and families impacted by intellectual and developmental disabilities remains a challenge. Oftentimes, those most needing support and service are not always aware of when assistance is available. Thanks to our partnership with Ocean Casino Resort, both their guests and the staff itself now have an opportunity to gain awareness of our brand and the services that The Arc of Atlantic County provides to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. 

What challenges have you faced during the pandemic in servicing the community? 

MRM: The Arc of Atlantic County is about helping people and families in their time of need. That was true prior to the pandemic, and will be so after. Like so many others in our community, The Arc of Atlantic County spent much of the past year working through challenges and adapting our practices in response to the public health crisis. Despite these challenges our most crucial services have operated ‘business as usual’ throughout the pandemic. We have continued providing support to the people and families who rely on our work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This could not have been done without the dedication and commitment of our Direct Support Professionals (DSP). When many in our community were staying home or working from home, our devoted Direct Support Professionals were  risking their own health and providing service and support to the people and families who rely on their work. As essential workers, these heroes deserve our recognition, admiration, and thanks. 

What do you feel is your biggest achievement and legacy as an organization? 

MRM: For 60 years, The Arc of Atlantic County has served people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families throughout our community.  From residential services, job training, recreational activities, and case management to family support services and other programs, The Arc has grown exponentially. We now are proud to serve and support over 1,000 people with disabilities and their families throughout Southern New Jersey. We continue to change with the service and support options that have also changed, and advocating for and offering services that are person-centered and meaningful.

At The Arc of Atlantic County we believe our community is strongest when all people, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, are included as engaged participants in the community. Identifying and/or developing community-based housing options that provides a person the support they need to live the life they choose, is by far our greatest achievement. While our work is far from complete, today more than 180 people throughout our local community live and thrive in safe, affordable support housing.

What has been the response you have received from the community during these challenging times when servicing members?

MRM: Every day we take calls from people, and families who need help and support. Some who contact us are trying to understand what services or support may be available for themselves or a loved one. Others who contact us are stuck, unable to navigate how to get help or overwhelmed by paperwork it takes to obtain services or support, Some that contact us are in desperate situations, others are homeless or at risk of homelessness, some are experiencing food insecurity, and some are in the midst of a family crisis. Regardless of the reason for outreach, The Arc of Atlantic County remains committed to providing support to those that rely on us.

The great thing about our community is that even in our time of need, friends like Ocean Casino Resort have been there for us, supporting our work, and believing in our mission. During these challenging times, without the support of partners like Ocean Casino Resort, we would not be able to provide the information, advocacy, and service the people and families we support rely on us to provide. We thank you for believing in our work, and supporting our mission.

The Arc of Atlantic County is a recipient of Ocean Cares’s “Change for Change” initiative. Learn more about Ocean Cares change donation drop boxes.