As the Lehigh Valley’s only provider of advocacy services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties touches the lives of more than 1,500 local individuals and families each year. The Arc provides a variety of quality programs and services and serves as a clearinghouse of information on help that is available for people with disabilities across our community. We provide individuals and families the services and support they need to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live full and productive lives. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is affiliated with The Arc of Pennsylvania, The Arc of the United States and local chapters of The Arc across Pennsylvania.
As a national organization, The Arc has a rich history spanning 60 years and marked by accomplishment. We continue to carry out the mission and vision of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their parents and siblings.
The national movement started in 1950, as a small group of parents and other concerned individuals came together to act as voices for change. At the time, little was known about the condition of intellectual disabilities (at the time referred to as ‘mental retardation’) or its causes. There were virtually no programs and activities in communities to assist in the development and care of children and adults with intellectual disabilities or to support families.
It was common at that time for doctors to tell parents that the best place for their child was in an institution. Emboldened by their collective desire to raise their children in the home and their stubborn refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, The Arc’s founders fought even harder.
Like every parent of any child, they wanted more for their children. They wanted their children to lead fulfilling lives out in the community and not shuttered away in dark institutions. It was in that spirit that The Arc was born.
Our local chapter took shape in 1967, and was known as the Lehigh County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens, Inc. (LC PARC). We were officially incorporated on January 6, 1975. Since that time, the chapter has grown in scope and size, has changed locations several times and has undergone name changes in response to changes at our State and National organizations.
The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties is a non-profit organization as defined by IRS regulations. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.