Terrebonne Arc, also known as TARC, provides jobs, education, housing, and a variety of other services to people with intellectual and physical disabilities.
We asked Executive Director Mary Lynn Bisland to answer a few questions about the services and needs of the program. Here are edited answers. To learn more, visit terrebonnearc.org.
What services do you offer?
Terrebonne ARC’s growth is attributed to being up to date in 13 local businesses – social enterprises – and inclusive employment in our local community. We also offer day programs as well as housing and transportation services.
We create jobs and companies to employ as many people as possible with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Every company and program creates a culture of learning, training, personal development and independence.
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TARC’s social enterprises are specifically created to train people with significant professional skills in a supportive environment where they can thrive and earn their own wages.
TARC cares for approximately 150 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and another 175 people who are employed on our campus and throughout the community.
Our individuals live with their families in one of three TARC community houses or in their own apartments.
TARC has been in operation for nearly 60 years and is led by a nine-member board appointed by various local authorities and appointed by the local council for a three-year term. TARC also has a customer representative who is elected by its colleagues at TARC and who serves on the board for a year.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the people you serve?
In mid-March 2020, TARC received notification from the Louisiana Department of Health that COVID-19 poses a significant threat to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All providers should close their locations and services immediately. The order excluded our 24/7 home services, which include our communal homes and independent living.
The leadership team continued to work throughout the pandemic. As vaccinations became available and government restrictions gradually relaxed, TARC did the same. We are currently almost at the pre-COVID registration and service level.
What are the qualifications to get your services?
An individual must be diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability, must be at least 18 years old to find employment, and 22 years old for the day program. And they have to live in the municipality of Terrebonne.
How can someone apply?
A person or family seeking services can contact our Admissions Specialist Melissa LeCompte at 876-4465 or visit our office at 1 McCord Road near Houma-Terrebonne Airport.
What’s your annual budget? Where does the money come from?
The bulk of TARC’s $ 13 million annual budget is funded by federal Medicaid, government funds from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, and local funds from a property tax granted by the Terrebonne Township government for those with intellectual and developmental Disabilities is levied. TARC also receives various grants and donations.
What is your organization’s greatest need?
We need them. TARC seeks to promote inclusion, independence and choice for people with disabilities. These values are at the forefront of our services, and connecting with you and our customers is part of our overall mission.
TARC really appreciates that community support continues to keep the people we serve in our local businesses engaged. Thank you for having dinner in our restaurant, Bayou Country Café. Training courses for waitresses, bussing tables, dishwashing and kitchen help are offered there.
Thank you for the donations to our thrift store, Cedar Chest Boutiques, which create retail work experience. Thank you for purchasing our tea cakes and candy from Cajun Confections and salsas and pepper jellies from Houma Grown so we can provide food, storage and delivery service. Thank you for purchasing Grand Designs t-shirts for your team, school, or organization.
Thank you for donating Mardi Gras beads throughout the year and during the parades. This helps us provide professional skills to sort and package pearls for our local carnival riders. Thank you for choosing Bayouland Yard Krewe’s lawn work and Lagniappe Cleaning’s janitorial services. Thank you for employing Creative Employment Opportunities people who would like to gain work experience in your workplace.
TARC is one of the most successful agencies of its kind at the national level and we couldn’t be where we are today without your support.
Does your group need volunteers? How can you register?
Volunteers can work in any TARC retail store or help out at one of the Let’s Get Together social events. Apply through our HR office.
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