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Thank you to advocates and mothers like Nancy!

The Arc Minnesota honors the many parent advocates who have been part of our community since we were founded 75 years ago. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating several moms who have been powerful change-makers in Minnesota and beyond.

Today, we honor Nancy Altman Zuber – mother to The Arc Minnesota’s CEO, Andrea Zuber. Here’s what Andrea says about her mother and her incredible impact.

“My mom was Nancy Altman Zuber. She was a social worker at Ramsey County in the 1960s, and worked in what was then called the “MR unit”. When the county got a call that a baby was born with a developmental disability, one of the things my mom had to do was go to the hospital to visit with the parents. She was instructed to tell them that the best thing for them to do was to send the baby to the state hospital to live. She was told to tell the family that it would be easier for everybody that way. My mom‘s heart broke every time she had to do that.
She started to hear about the “parents movement” and The Arc. Across the nation, parents were starting to fight to keep their babies at home, and were fighting for support. My mom asked her supervisor at Ramsey County if she had heard of the “parents movement” and if they could look into it so that could stop telling parents to give up their babies with IDD. Her supervisor said, “Nope – that’s just the way we do it here.” My mom thought that was ridiculous so she joined SPARC –  St. Paul ARC.

With SPARC, my mom sat around kitchen tables with some of the pioneer moms that started The Arc’s work, and did what she could to support them. Once the movement had progressed, my mom‘s job shifted to supporting families to bring their kids home from the state hospitals. She instilled in me a belief in inclusion and belonging, and a spirit to fight for human and civil rights. Thank you for all you did, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!”

Nancy and Andrea in a tropical setting at sundown, smiling