For all our upcoming events - from board meetings and fundraisers to picnics, holiday galas and more, please see our calendar. Thank you!

Arc Gateway Receives New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles from WFRPC

Pensacola, Fla. - Through the help of the West Florida Regional Planning Council (WFRPC) and the Florida-Alabama Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), Arc Gateway received two passenger vehicles equipped with wheelchair lifts to transport persons with disabilities from their homes to job training programs at the non-profit agency.

As part of their mission to provide options to the transportation disadvantaged, which includes persons with disabilities, the TPO applied for the funds through the federal Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program. Arc Gateway then submitted a grant request with the TPO. Arc Gateway matched 20 percent of the funds for each of the two lift-equipped, 2014 Chevrolet "Cutaway" vans. The vehicles can be configured to transport two individuals in wheelchairs plus five ambulatory riders or one individual in a wheelchair and seven ambulatory riders. 


"The TPO has been so helpful on this project," said LaRae Laurent, Arc Gateway transportation manager. "The new vans will give us the opportunity to provide transportation options to even more individuals with developmental disabilities."

In addition, Arc Gateway will soon receive a 12-passenger van for a group home through the same program. The agency will match approximately 20 percent in funds and the TPO will pay the remaining 80 percent plus provide 50 percent of the operating costs as long as the funds are available. This is not the first time Arc Gateway has benefitted from TPO efforts; the agency received a lift-equipped van from a previous grant awarded by the TPO in 2011.

WFRPC provides staff services to the TPO through its transportation division. The WFRPC is a multi-purpose regional entity supporting Northwest Florida, recognized by the state. WFRPC plans and coordinates intergovernmental solutions to growth-related problems, provides technical assistance to local governments and helps meet the needs of communities across the region. For more information, visit or call 850.332.7976.

Now in its 60th year, Arc Gateway provides services to more than 800 people with developmental disabilities in the greater Pensacola area. For more information on Arc Gateway programs, visit or call 850-434-2638. 

Arc Gateway Accepts Grant from Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation

Arc Gateway is proud to announce the Bi-Lo Holding Foundation is investing $5,000 to help Arc Gateway provide the best possible. The funds provided by the Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation will benefit the Pearl Nelson Child Development Center.


About the Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation:

Established in 1943, the Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation is a nonprofit organization 501(c) (3) dedicated to making communities we serve a better place to live. The Bi-Lo Holdings Foundation awards grants to organizations that support programs and initiatives helping to foster healthy and thriving communities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Pat Young Sworn in as Arc of Florida President

Pensacola, Fla. - Pat Young, president of The Arc Gateway, is doubling her efforts to take advocacy to the state level. Earlier this month she was sworn in as president of The Arc of Florida at their annual convention in Gainesville. The position is a two-year term and overlaps her current office as president at The Arc Gateway which ends in April 2014. With the support of the staff, the board, the foundation and 500 members at Arc Gateway behind her, Pat's focus will be to bring state attention to the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities - especially in the Panhandle where budget cuts have been felt more deeply.


There are approximately 40 Arcs throughout Florida and each has representation on the board. As part of her duties as president, Pat will preside over quarterly meetings and represent Florida at national Arc meetings. She will travel to the state office in Tallahassee during legislative session - an area in which she has much experience having served as assistant to former Representative Jerry Maygarden. Pat will also travel throughout the state visiting local Arc chapters to talk about national branding, increasing state funding for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and - an issue close to her heart - the misuse of restraints and seclusion rooms.


In 2011, Pat's grandson, Carson, was placed in a seclusion room after suffering an outburst. Carson is on the autism spectrum and anger outbursts resulting from the frustration of living with autism in not uncommon. The door was slammed on his hand and he broke his foot trying to kick the door open to free it. Pat is working to eliminate seclusion rooms and expand the law covering special needs students to require all teachers in the state, both in public schools and private institutions, to be trained in the proper use of physical restraints.

Arc Gateway recycling Mardi Gras beads - seeking bead donations and collection sites

Arc Gateway is looking for donations of Mardi Gras beads and organizations to volunteer as collection sites. At Arc Gateway's Pollak Industries, adults with developmental disabilities sort and package donated beads for resale to Mardi Gras krewes and other organizations. The program not only allows them the opportunity to earn their own money while gaining valuable vocational training, it also supports local recycling efforts and helps generates revenue for additional services at Arc Gateway.

Collection boxes can be found in the following locations:
Barnes – 1301 North 9th Avenue, Pensacola

Beach Community Bank - all Pensacola branches and Gulf Breeze

Becky's Eatery – 5 Interbay Parkway, Pensacola

City Grocery – 2050 North 12th Avenue, Pensacola

Evermans Foods – 315 West Garden Street, Pensacola

Food World – 4320 Lillian Highway, Pensacola

Head Hunters Hair Salon – 205 South Baylen Street, Pensacola

Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce – 117 West Garden Street, Pensacola
Publix – 2180 West 9 Mile Road, Pensacola
Publix – 9251 University Parkway, Pensacola
Seville Quarter – 130 North Government Street, Pensacola

Steinmart – 1660 Airport Boulevard, Pensacola
Winn Dixie – 4751 Bayou Boulevard, Pensacola

Winn Dixie – 5975 Mobile Highway, Pensacola

WXBM – 6085 Quintette Road, Pace
Organizations interested in serving as a collection site may call 850-438-5022 to arrange for a collection box. Bulk recycled beads are available at discount prices through Pollak Industries, 2313 Truman Avenue in Pensacola. 

Governor Scott and Commission Recommend Strategies to Improve Employment for Floridians with Disabilities

Tallahassee, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott and the Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities released its 2013 annual report on August 15.


Governor Rick Scott said, “I want every Floridian to have a job. That is why my Florida Families First Budget invests $36 million so individuals will be able to receive critical services that enhance the quality of life for families. Our budget also includes $500,000 to provide job training services for those who want to work. This funding will help another 200 people obtain jobs and live their version of the American Dream.”


Governor Scott created the Commission through Executive Order 11-161 to develop and recommend public policy solutions that will improve employment opportunities for these citizens. The Commission provides recommendations to help persons with disabilities better compete in the workforce and assist employers in recruiting and hiring candidates with disabilities who are willing and able to work.


These recommendations are intended to serve as critical steps to fulfill Governor Scott’s vision of improving employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities. These strategies are designed to assist organizations, both within and outside of state government, to carry out these initiatives and create a business environment that is amenable to hiring persons with disabilities.


Moving forward, the Commission intends to continue its mission in identifying additional public policy solutions that will tackle the barriers confronting these individuals in the workforce.