Arc of Buffalo County

The mission of The Arc of Buffalo County is to help children and adults with developmental disabilities secure the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they want to live, learn, work, and play.

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Address: 4511 6th Ave Suite 204
Kearney, NE 68845
Phone Number: 308-237-4343
Fax: 308-237-4344
The Arc of Buffalo County is a non-profit organization that provides respite, recreation, advocacy, training, and information to more than 200 adults and children with developmental disabilities in our area.

The Arc's Core Values:
• People First
• Democracy
• Visionary Leadership
• Community Participation
• Diversity
• Integrity and Excellence

Dustin is a once shy young man who moved with his family to Nebraska. After settling in and becoming acclimated to the Kearney area, Dustin joined The Arc of Buffalo County and started participating in various Arc activities and attending community events with staff. As Dustin developed friendships and a sense of belonging in his community, his self-confidence also improved. With his family's support and encouragement, Dustin decided to take the next step of adulthood and move into his own apartment, where he continues to enjoy living alone with minimal support.

Next step was to find satisfying work. Dustin began by improving his workplace skills in a volunteer position with the Kearney Jubilee. He then tried his hand at competitive employment in the cleaning and housekeeping arena's, however, he discovered his niche of being an entrepreneur by serving as a year-round dog-walker and a summer lawn-mower for community members. This has helped Dustin to develop social and money management skills as well as providing additional income.

Giving back to the community and finding his voice were important to Dustin and to that end and with encouragement from his Arc friends, he became active in People First, an organization dedicated to self-advocacy. Starting as a soft-spoken member, then as a local representative for People First of Nebraska, followed by an elected position to the Community Advisory Board for MMI at UNMC in Omaha, and in 2015 serving as a voting member for the Arc of Buffalo County Board of Directors. Dustin has lost most of his shy-guy demeanor and found it replaced by an out-going fellow with a voice and a purpose. He is very involved in the work and activities of The Arc, however, he still feels the best perk to his work in advocacy was getting to meet the band 'Great White' while staying at an Omaha hotel. Dustin bravely approached the band and shared the message of self-advocacy and presented the guys with some wearable "bling" celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At the 2015 People First of Nebraska Convention, Dustin was presented with the 2015 Self-Advocate of the Year award. This came as a surprise to Dustin, and for a brief moment we again caught a glimpse of our formerly shy friend whom we have observed grow into a confident young man.

Dustin has traveled extensively in his role as ambassador for People First and as a Special Olympic's athlete who competed nationally in Las Vegas this past spring. He enjoyed the sights, but, decided gambling is not his thing!

Dustin continues to use his voice to encourage others to challenge their fears as he has done, reminding them life is better with friends.