Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is assisting The Arc Jacksonville with an invitation for community support to help citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities achieve their greatest potential.
Bortles headlines The Arc’s “What’s Next?” campaign, a multifaceted communications effort to increase public understanding of the capabilities of adults with special needs.
“I’ve always known that my next step would include football,” Bortles said. “But for people like my friend CJ, their future isn’t always so clear.”
Bortles saw CJ, who has autism, increase practical skills while living away from his family at Arc’s Summer LIFE program. He signed on to spread the word about how Arc can help others as part of his ongoing commitment to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in pursuit of full, independent lives.
“Summer LIFE is just one of Arc’s programs to assist people to optimize their capabilities,” said Jim Whittaker, Arc president and CEO. “We are very grateful for Blake’s willingness to help us deliver the message that Arc is here to guide and support adults making life choices that enable them to achieve at their highest level.
“We are also most grateful for Blake’s message of inclusion and acceptance that can sometimes be a challenge to overcome,” Whittaker added.
In addition to Summer LIFE, Arc also assists people through life junctures at its newly opened The Arc Jacksonville Village. The village was created at the request of young adults and their families seeking a safe environment where people in need of some lifestyle support could independently establish a home. An apartment-style neighborhood for 121 adults aged 18 and older, the village is working to become a national model for custom design in promoting socializing, sharing among residents and engagement throughout the surrounding community. Opened in May 2016, the village was fully leased by August.