The Arc of Greater Tarrant County
The Arc of Greater Tarrant County Logo


The Arc of Greater Tarrant County advocates on behalf of and in collaboration with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families to improve their quality of life and to expand opportunities to participate actively in the community. We do this by supporting and educating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, service providers and the community, and by providing or helping community efforts to provide needed supports and services.


Our vision is to have a website that can do several things.

First, it would look better and be a bit easier to navigate than the one we have. In addition, it would have a section for providers of services to present their services in a "virtual provider fair" where potential consumers can see video's of an agency's services, see descriptions of programs, and hear testimony from consumers so as to inform them in their search for services. That search for services is overwhelming in a community where "If I don't know what there is, how can I ask for it?" We want to bring all of the complexity of searching for services, determining benefits, and navigating a system that is by-and-large fragmented and not user friendly into one user friendly, simple vehicle.

Secondly, the website would have the capacity to allow basic resource data input such as the names of community resources, address, etc, plus details on their clients, customers and services, and have that data automatically convert into a format which creates a directory of services. Not only could people see and search the directory online, it would allow us to print out a hard copy directory with a table of contents, appendix, pages of directory information, etc... It would be able to produce individualized sub-specialty directories by themselves. It would be able to print a directory categorized with agency services in chapters (day habilitation programs; sheltered workshops; dentists who accept people with disabilities; etc.). In a way, it would be a directory version of QuickBooks. It would be able to print directories for specific counties (we cover five). In addition, we would prefer it to have the capability to be a searchable directory on our website.

We have over time developed a 200 page directory of services for our five counties. Maintenance, updating and adding new services, however, is a nightmare. A software program built into our website such as that proposed could be a Wiki-style process where anyone on staff could add to the data base and the directory would be automatically updated. We use Access for our statistical reports and services tracking but have been told that neither Access nor Outlook can do what we need for our dream directory program and web site.

Next, we would like the program you design for us to have major heading sections/pages where we can create a comprehensive forest of clearly identified links to other sites, such as state informational sites, national advocacy sites, and related. Rather than have just a page of links, this capacity would be creative, colorful and informative so that even the least among us could navigate it to obtain information and guidance.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a gold mine of information, connections to information, and even e-learning topics to increase our consumer’s capacity to self-direct and become active partners in the community. Sources of information now, quite frankly, are fragmented, difficult to find and use, disconnected with each other, and boring. We want to have a site that overcomes existing barriers to effective information and support.

Now here is the twist in our application. We were honored in 2008 to be selected to have all of the above done for us. However, the development of our website reached only about 75% completion and we have never been able to use it. We have the almost-finished site available ( ) but we never knew how to get it started or move forward to include the virtual fair, the searchable directory, or the ability to post video informational and training programs for parents, families and professionals in the field. We got an email regarding a license but we weren’t sure what it was for – and the email had the following message – “A policy violated file was detected and removed”. Ultimately, we simply imploded at that point. Our application for the 3rd Annual Charity Challenge is, therefore, to complete our site and give us some guidance on start-up. We have found a volunteer who is pretty good with computers but he said that since he doesn’t know what was done to get us to where we are, he couldn’t do anything until it was ready. So our plea is – finish us!

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