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Enumclaw resident speaks at Legislative gathering

Monday evening, Robbie Wiese was standing before hundreds of King County community members, legislators, Olympia and Congressional staff at The Doubletree Guest Suites at Southcenter Parkway.

The Enumclaw resident, who has a developmental disability, was telling those gathered about his job at Trader Joe’s in Federal Way. Wiese has been a proud member of the Trader Joe family for a year and a half, getting up early twice a week to ride the bus to Federal Way to work with his family away from home.

The staff at Trader Joe’s has taken Wiese under its wing and helped him become a valued team member.

“He has all these friends who are taking care of him,” Wiese’s mother Melody Sells said. “It’s working really well.”

The group was gathered for the 20th Annual Legislative Forum. The free event is open to any interested party and is co-sponsored by the King County Board for Developmental Disabilities and The King County Parent Coalition, which is a program of The Arc of King County. The forum is the largest gathering of King County’s developmental disabilities community, and provides an opportunity for families and people with developmental disabilities to express their opinions about issues that impact them. The event allows discussion between family members, advocates, county, regional and state staff.

Established in 1936, The Arc of King County is the oldest local nonprofit organization serving children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. Developmental disabilities include Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, cognitive disabilities and other similar conditions, which occur prior to the age of 18 and are expected to last for life. The Arc promotes self-sufficiency and civil rights for people with disabilities through community partnerships, outreach, peer support and direct client support. Each year this organization serves thousands of individuals and their families.

The groups’ work will continue during the Legislative system, where supporters hope to raise debate about adequately addressing the needs of the early intervention system; establishing insurance parity and best practices for school-age children; building strong communities to address the needs of children and adults in crisis; expanding services for high school graduates; and addressing the growing aging population in the disability community.

Families from throughout King County will be speaking on these issues.

To contact The Arc of King County, call 1-877-964-0600 or visit www.arcofkingcounty.org.

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