February was Black History Month and we commemorated the event, along with OPWDD, by celebrating black people with developmental disabilities. We know you will be as inspired as we are by these amazing people leaving their mark on our communities and our world. Throughout the month on our Facebook page, we highlighted some amazing people. including our friend Adrian West.


Adrian West, a good friend to many of us here at The Arc of Delaware County and a talented fiber artist, was happy to share about her life. Adrian loves to exercise and is very well known in her town because she can be seen walking and waving while she is moving along. She is one of Studio 190’s expert fiber artists. Sewing blankets and bags is one of Adrian’s favorite hobbies. She has sewn many beautiful floral designs. Her focus and dedication to complete projects are admirable.

Adrian is very proud of her reading progress. She set a goal for herself to learn to read because her dream is to be able to read children’s stories to kids. She likes to travel and is looking forward to an annual trip to Camp Arrowhead or a vacation. She loves collecting knick-knacks and photos from these trips.
Melanee Jacobsen, Life Coach Ten at Delarc, had this to share about Adrian, “Adrian is a woman who is proud of who she is and how she looks. Adrian often says that black is beautiful. One thing I truly admire about Adrian is her ability to stand up for herself and what she believes in. Adrian is a very strong woman and is one of the hardest working people I know.”
In 2017 Adrian was the recipient of The Arc of Delaware County Achievement Award. That year she was recognized for her positive attitude and making several new positive relationships. Adrian developed coping skills that opened up opportunities for her to meet new friends and to evaluate options before responding and making decisions. She has a great sense of humor and asks questions to gain a better understanding and shows an eagerness to learn and try new things.  That year Adrian was just exploring an interest in fiber art and now she is an expert fiber artist! Adrian also loves the color purple, and specifically asked that we share this picture with her story!


Adrian at the 2017 Annual Awards luncheon.


Visit the OPWDD website to read more about these amazing self-advocates having an impact on our world.


Read about Michelle King and you will understand why we count it such a joy to have had the chance to meet and engage with Michelle and be blessed by her talent during our two-year running Holiday Dance where Michelle performed with the band Flame!

We are proud to share Michelle’s story. A woman out there being her amazing, authentic self, living a personally fulfilled life by following her passions and in doing so, making a difference in our communities and in our world!
You will also find Chester Finn of Albany who has been leaving his mark as a strong advocate for people with developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. This amazing black man is leaving his mark on our historical landscape and has been for over 20 years! Chester is most proud of serving on numerous state and national boards, helping to advise disability policy. Chester is an inspiration to all of us to be the change we want to see!
Shameka Andrews, advocate extraordinaire and disability empowerment specialist, is an amazing advocate and champions everyone to create the life they love while she does the same. What a wonderful example for all of us to not be afraid to let our passion light shine! It might just light the way for others!
Ketrina Hazell is also in our spotlight. As Self-Advocacy Lead for the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation and a founder/ co-founder of her very own advocacy group called Voices of Power. Ketrina is a powerful self-advocate and motivational speaker. When speaking with other self-advocates, Ketrina reminds people to focus on their own wants and needs and what they want to achieve and voice those goals to their staff. She encourages people with disabilities to befriend people with and without disabilities and get involved in their communities.