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Art Hutton elected board president for Village Community Services
Arlington Art Hutton was elected president of the board of Village Community Services recently, succeeding Vicki Adams who passed on the gavel after leading the agency for nine years.
Huttons son, Ken, is served by Village Community Services residential and vocational programs and his wife, Jackie, is an active volunteer with VCS. The Huttons are owners and operators of Arlington Pizza Factory.
Adams would not step down from the position for just anyone.
I entrusted Art with the position because he was president of Sherwood [Community Services] for 12 years, Adams said. I feel very comfortable that he will do a fine job with VCS. I know he is committed to seeing it succeed because he has a son in the program, she added that all of the directors have children being served by VCS.
It is Huttons concern for his son and other adults with developmental disabilities well being that motivates his presidential term. He has been an advocate for people with disabilities since his son Ken was a child.
He stopped learning soon after age 3, Hutton explained, adding that Kenny has Williams Syndrome with is caused by a mutation in his genes.
Williams occurs once in 2,000 compared to once in 800 people for Downs Syndrome, Hutton said. All Williams people have heart problems and scoliosis, which causes trouble with balance, he said.
Huttons earliest experiences with these kinds of social services was with Opportunity Village ARC in Nevada where he worked with other parent advocates to pass special education legislation for children with developmental disabilities.
As a result of his efforts, a state law was passed requiring the public school system to serve developmentally disabled children beginning at age 3. Previously, disabled students in Nevada were not served until the first grade.
After moving to Washington state in the 1980s, Hutton joined the board of Sherwood Community Services in Lake Stevens, where he served as board president. He was recruited to the Village Community Services board after his son transitioned from the family home to his own home. Hutton said that he has accepted the leadership position because his son needs the services provided by VCS.
VCS has been helping Kenny for almost five years, Hutton said.
Now age 39, Ken lives with two other fellas, Hutton said, in one side of a duplex. He gets 24-hour care with his meals, personal hygiene and other basic needs.
But there are things he can do, Hutton said. His son holds down a job, riding a DART bus to work daily.
One of Huttons first actions as board president was to establish the Employment Transition Task Force to explore new vocational opportunities that meet the terms set by the Washington state Working Age Adult policy.
There are a variety of tasks that these clients can accomplish. Sherwood even had a contract with Boeing for some services, he said.
I am especially concerned with helping young people transition from high school special education programs to adult vocational and residential services, and ensuring that those with the most significant disabilities continue to lead productive and fulfilling lives both at home and at work, Hutton said.
For me its a question of making sure that services are provided to adults and to make sure the government is aware of the need.
He said that VCS has helped Kenny tremendously in socialization skills and the music program has widened his horizons, although his son cant perform music.
Hes an active listener, Hutton said.
While Adams is stepping down as president, she will remain actively involved as long as her two sons are around.
Im still on the personnel and family relations committees and will continue working with the music program. Adams said. The best part about it is that now I can speak up and say my piece, she explained, noting as president of the board she could only vote to break a tie.
Founded in 1964 as a not-for-profit organization, Village Community Services mission is to support adults with disabilities and other life challenges in achieving their personal potential at home, work and in community life.
I have to thank the Arlington community, especially the congregation at St. Andrews Orthodox Church, Hutton said.
They love Kenny and accept him, Hutton said. They have learned to understand his behavior and dont get upset when he gets lively during service.