For nearly 11 years, Tracy Schmidtka has been a part of The Arc Madison Cortland, where she has received services, lived in an Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) home, and worked through the organization's Integrated Business outlet.
In that time, Tracy has also enjoyed being a member of the Wind Dancers – an all-female interpretive dance troupe who perform throughout the community.
Members of the Wind Dancers, who all receive services from The Arc, choreograph routines for holiday events, dedications, and other celebrations. As a dancer, Tracy has tapped into her creative side, developed friendships, and learned valuable skills, while also gaining the satisfaction of performing for a live audience.
In addition to the troupe, Tracy is a member of the Madison County Motivators. Each month, the Motivators meet to discuss their rights and the future of advocacy, while also attending workshops throughout the year regarding self-direction, bullying, abuse prevention, and more.
As a Motivator, Tracy she is able to speak up for herself, as well as for others who are unable to speak for themselves. She emphasizes the importance of bringing awareness and advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In her down time, Tracy enjoys Arc outings, such as the Renaissance Festival, singing, scary movies, basketball, bowling, and gardening. She also values time spent with family going to dinner, church, watching movies, and vacationing.
“[The Arc Madison Cortland] has allowed me to make friends, to be respectful, and taught me skills to gain independence.”
In the future, Tracy hopes to gain the skills to maintain her job and eventually live independently.