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|Meet the Benders!
Jean and Paul Bender were first introduced to The Arc Minnesota over 30 years ago when they joined a family support group after their son, David, was born. Since then, the family has been involved in almost every aspect of The Arc from hosting and facilitating support groups, volunteering, getting involved in advocacy and public policy, sitting on the Board of The Arc Minnesota, and using programs and services.
When David was a teenager, the Benders used planning services at The Arc. Using a person-centered program was important to them and they felt that the planning services they used at The Arc were crucial to David’s life as an adult.
“The process was about what do we, as the people who know David best, think he wants for his own future,” said Jean.
With The Arc, the family was able to figure out what they wanted and how they could make it happen. They were able to talk and agreed that the things we all value so highly needed to come first.
“We have a focus on personal health and keeping David in his own home without going to a day program or moving somewhere else,” said Jean.
Since meeting with The Arc’s planning team, The Benders have bought a duplex, so David could feel comfortable and safe in his home even if his caregivers change throughout the years. They also never had David participate in a traditional day program; David was able to do what he wanted and stay active with his friends in the community.
The Benders said lifetime planning meant knowing you are not alone. To families looking for connection and support with The Arc, the Benders offer this advice:
“Peruse the website, read a newsletter, there is something for everyone. Look at The Arc’s advocate support, self-advocacy groups, [the Arc Guides,] all of the behind-the-scenes work, and action alerts from the advocacy team,” says Jean. “I love the growth The Arc has made to serve everybody.
Thank you for sharing your story with us!