MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - Advocacy was in the air on Friday, June 26, as individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities learned why it’s important to be a strong self advocate at The Arc of Union County’s annual summer luncheon and conference at L’Affaire in Mountainside.

Approximately 130 individuals receiving residential support services with The Arc, and employees, attended the event to learn the skills necessary to being a good self advocate. The Arc Advocates for Equal Rights and Opportunities (AEROS), who are led entirely by Officers with special needs, and elected by members with special needs, listened to a presentation titled “I’ve got you covered,” explaining how everyone in the Agency helps support one another.

Attendees also gave their time to a very special service project – symbolically tying knots on blankets – which will later be donated to those in need at Runnells Specialized Hospital in Berkeley Heights.

Sign Up for E-News

“The Arc AEROS have adopted a philosophy that in order to receive service, they should, in turn, serve others.  Through this community outreach project of creating blankets to help ‘cover’ others, the AEROs are meeting their Pay It Forward motto,” said Susan Luckman, Assistant Executive Director For Quality Assurance, the Arc of Union County.

“Their demonstration of giving service to others through selfless acts speaks volumes of their efforts in Advocacy – the best Advocate is the one who demonstrates the importance of the act itself.  In this case, the Advocacy effort was that of support,” she said.

The Arc AEROS weren’t all business though. The group took time to honor those members who had passed during the year with a memoriam. Attendees later enjoyed music and dancing to close the event.

About the Arc of Union County

With more than six decades of service, The Arc has grown into Union County, New Jersey’s, largest provider of on- and off-site educational, recreational and support services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. A registered 501c3 non-profit, the organization serves more than 1,000 children and adults annually through a continuum of comprehensive programs geared to assist clients and their families throughout all stages of their lives. For more information, visit, or call 973-315-0000.

For more information about The Arc AEROS, please contact Stephanie D’Souza, Director of Development and Communications, at 973-315-0020, or