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March 2019 News and Updates
March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
LIFE Mower County is proud to join advocates across the country to recognize March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.  The month will commemorate the progress in improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and highlight the challenges that remain in achieving full inclusion for this constituency.  Advocacy efforts around the country were crucial to President Ronald Reagan’s signing of a proclamation in 1987 affirming that “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that such disabilities need not keep individuals from realizing their full potential in school, at work or at home, as members of their families and of their communities.”
And now, LIFE Mower County will continue these advocacy efforts through raising awareness on the rights of people with I/DD to live, learn and work as they choose in the community.  People with I/DD deserve and demand respect, and while there have been many positive strides, there is still much to be done.  For the more than 7 million people with I/DD and their families, respect is hard won and is possible only by changing attitudes and creating opportunity.  They want to lead self-determined lives, be fully included and enjoy their civil liberties -- just like every other American.
Developmental Disabilities Month is our time – join us in raising awareness through any of the following ways: volunteer, donate, speak up against the use of the r-word, speak out to elected officials on issues impacting people with I/DD, and more. Visit to learn what else you can do to help continue to change hearts and minds in March.
The Arc Mower County changes name to LIFE Mower County
Austin, MN – February 14, 2019 – At a Special Meeting held on Tuesday, February 4, the membership of The Arc Mower County approved a name change, as recommended by the Board of Directors, to LIFE Mower County.  LIFE stands for Learning, Inclusion, Fun and Empowerment.

The Mission Statement has been changed to “Our mission is to expand opportunities, empower people, and enrich lives for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families by providing a better quality of life through Learning, Inclusion, Fun and Empowerment”.

The Arc Mower County was one of 12 Arc chapters in the state and was an affiliate of Arc Minnesota.  After 2 years of meetings and much in depth discussion with the Arc Minnesota and chapters who were considering the possibility of merging as a Statewide Arc the board of directors decided that the local organization could best serve the community as an autonomous entity.
By being independent, we can ensure there will always be a local presence and local management of resources.  In addition to all resources staying right here in this community, we also have a lot more flexibility in determining our course and adapting to the immediate needs of this area.

It is believed the new name and mission statement better describes who and what the organization stands for today and getting away from the “R” word associated with the Arc name.  All programs and services will remain the same.  Programs and services include: Advocacy and Family Support Services, Mower County Special Olympics (i.e. bowling, bocce, softball, basketball, track & field), Our Place Recreation Center, People First Aktion Club, Vacation Opportunities, Health and Education classes (i.e. 4-H Adventures Club, Learning for Life, Kitchen Creations, Creative Arts), Social Events (i.e. monthly dances, bingo, movies).  LIFE Mower County exists because people with developmental disabilities need help to ensure that their rights as citizens of the country are protected, and they are supported to live, learn, work, play and worship as they choose.  Benefits of membership with LIFE Mower County include a strong connection to a wide range of supports, resources and information.  Members of LIFE Mower County are well informed on the latest issues, policies and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.  They also enjoy reduced costs for a variety of activities, conferences, workshops and other special events.

How does LIFE Mower County help?

From early childhood to school age, during the transition to adulthood and ensuring a safe and secure senior life, LIFE Mower County is there to help children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families across the life span.  LIFE Mower County provides information and one-to-one assistance, connecting people with community resources and helps them navigate services such as early intervention, education, housing, employment, health care and community recreation.  Public policy advocacy is also a core service to LIFE Mower County, which works with and for people with disabilities and their families to secure, preserve and enhance services and supports that are essential to a safe and fulfilling life in the community.  The Arc Mower County now LIFE Mower County was established in 1952.  The organization has 264 members, 150 of which are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and membership is welcome to all.

​More information on the new look (logo) of LIFE Mower County will be available soon.
For further information contact:
Dawn Helgeson
Executive Director
People First Aktion Club members and volunteers served some awesome chili and chicken dumpling soup to about 170 people on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 raising money for their group and the Paint The Town Pink.
Members enjoyed seeing the Monster Energy AMA Supercross which is the most competitive and highest-profile off-road motorcycle racing championship in the world at the U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, February 9, 2019.
Listen to KAUS 1480 AM on the first Monday of the month
at 10:30 AM for the LIFE Mower County Radio Show!
24th Annual Rose Sale
February 18 - March 22, 2019
Delivery/Pick-Up:  Tuesday, April 9, 2019 | 10:00am-6:00pm

Rose Sale Volunteers are needed throughout Austin and the surrounding communities to coordinate rose sales at local churches, businesses, etc.  If you have any questions or are interested in volunteering to help sell roses, please call 507-433-8994 or email info@lifemowercounty

Order forms will be available online at, at the LIFE Mower County office and at businesses throughout the community.
Mark Your Calendars - Save The Date!!!
9th Annual Taste of Mower County
Sunday, April 28, 2019  |  4:00pm-7:00pm

Enjoy unlimited tastings of signature items from the finest home and restaurant chefs in Mower County and the surrounding area.  Food Tastings by Area Home and Restaurant Chefs, Wine & Craft Beer Tastings, Live and Silent Auctions, Entertainment, Door Prizes and Cash Bar.  

Become a chef, sponsor or donate to the live/silent auction at

Tickets Go On Sale March 1 at 12:00 am at  Use this promo code “TOMC2019” to receive 10% off per ticket.  Discount available for the first 100 tickets.
LIFE Mower County is always looking for instructors (Yoga, Zumba, Music, Cooking, Special Olympics Coaches) and new activity ideas.  Do you have a talent to share, or an idea for an activity you would like to see in an upcoming activity guide?  Send an email to or call 507-433-8994.
Dawn’s 30th Anniversary Open House
Monday, March 18, 2019  |  4:00pm-6:00pm

Dawn started working at The Arc Mower County on March 7, 1989 as the Bookkeeper/Office Manager and became the Executive Director in 1995.  Join us to celebrate Dawn’s 30th Anniversary and have some cake and light refreshments.
  • Dawn's 30th Anniversary Open House - Monday, March 18
  • LeRoy Community Theater - Saturday, March 23
  • Harlem Globetrotters - Friday, March 29
  • Minnesota Twins Game - Saturday, May 11
  • Rapid City South Dakota Spring Vacation - Monday, May 13 - Thursday, May 16
  • Rochester Honkers - Saturday, July 7
  • Roots and Boots Tour (Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye) at the Freeborn County Fair - Wednesday, July 31
  • Brindley's Harbor Resort Fall Vacation - Tuesday, September 3 - Saturday, September 7
Click here to see the complete calendar.
67th Annual Meeting and Awards
Monday, May 20, 2019  from 6:30pm-8:00pm  |  FREE

RSVP by Thursday, May 16, 2019 by contacting the LIFE Mower County at 
507-433-8994 or

This meeting is open to all members, donors, volunteers and supporters of LIFE.  Celebrate our accomplishments from 2018 and see what LIFE has planned next.
Do you know someone who is making a difference for our community?  The Arc’s awards are a  special way to recognize exceptional people in our community who have given of themselves to make a difference in the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), and/or assisted the families and organizations that serve them.  Contact LIFE Mower County for a nomination form.
We Need Your Help To Get To The Minnesota Twins Game!

We need your help to raise $700.00 to rent a Coach Bus to get to the Minnesota Twins Game on Saturday, May 11, 2019.

With the convenience of a coach bus, we will be dropped off right at Target Field and we don't have to worry about securing a seat on the return train trip back to the Mall of America.  We have 25 people attending the game and we need your help.

If you can help, please mail your donation to:  LIFE Mower County, 401 2nd Avenue NE, Austin, MN 55912 with Twins 2019 in the subject line or you can visit for other ways to make a donation.

If you have any questions, please call 507-433-8994 or email
Does the winter weather have you feeling blue?  Turn that frown upside down and take a sneak peek at the Spring 2019 VISIONS Newsletter and Activity Guide by visiting
Spread The Word To End The Word
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The R-word is the word 'retard(ed)'. Why does it hurt? The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It's offensive. It's derogatory. This campaign asks people to pledge to stop saying the R-word as a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. Language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions. Pledge today to use respectful, people-first language at

Public Policy

Here you'll find the information you’ll need to advocate on all issues that are critical to the intellectual and developmental disability community:
Activity Guide & Newsletter
Wish List

Volunteers Matter

If you are interested in volunteering, please email,  
call 507-433-8994 or visit for more information.
  • 03/05/19, 04:00-PM,05:00 PM, Shamrock Shuffle Dance, Set-Up and Decorate
  • 03/05/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, Shamrock Shuffle Dance, Activity Assistant
  • 03/12/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, Bingo
  • 03/15/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, Open Center
  • 03/22/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, Spring Birthday Bash
  • 03/27/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, Open Center
  • 03/28/19, 06:00-PM,07:30 PM, * Date Change * Creative Arts: Chipped Inscriptions Painting
LIFE Mower County is a United Way funded agency.

Copyright © 2019 LIFE Mower County, All rights reserved.

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