Ontario County ARC has unveiled a new name and brand that lives up to the work it’s doing.

CANANDAIGUA — With a six-decade history of serving disabled and challenged children and adults, the non-profit Ontario County ARC has unveiled a new name and brand that lives up to the work it’s doing.

In years past, the ARC acronym stood for “Association for Retarded Citizens.” But because of the negative tone of the word “retarded,” Ontario ARC leaders have now rejected that in favor of “A Respected Choice.”

“A respected choice is a good choice — one that you can trust and one that you know is in a person’s best interest,” said Ontario ARC Executive Director Ann Scheetz. “Our team has more than 60 years of expertise in providing innovative programs and services, and we want people to know that they’ve made the right choice when choosing Ontario ARC.”

The new identity is also a reflection of the expanded services they provide to people without developmental disabilities.

“Along with our new name, we are redefining our vision,” said Scheetz. “We believe all individuals with disabilities or other challenges are one with their communities. This means that individuals are empowered to live up to their full potential and contribute to society.”

More than 1,000 individuals living in and around Ontario County are currently benefiting from the programs and services offered by Ontario ARC. The agency offers a full menu of residential, vocational, clinical and transportation services. For early childhood and school-age individuals, there are after-school programs, recreation, autism services and on-site clinical services. Program participants can find and maintain meaningful employment through training programs, job placement programs, job readiness, and Project SEARCH, a national program designed to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities.

“That’s why we come to work every day, to help people find fulfillment and reach their potential,” said Scheetz.

Ontario ARC also operates an assortment of business ventures that serve the community and provide work and experiences for program participants. 

“We ensure that individuals learn foundational life skills to promote independence, while finding ways to creatively express themselves and contribute to the community,” said Ontario ARC Intake Coordinator JoEllen Schaefer. “We are committed to providing a customized experience for each person.”

The agency provides services for people with and without a developmental disability, including aging education services — environmental assessments, support during times of grief, fall prevention education, senior companionship and recreational activities — for senior citizens and caretakers.

“Our name change reinforces what we’ve always believed to be important,” said Scheetz. “We believe in treating people with integrity and respect, and empowering them to be their best selves.”