(Alexandria, VA – May 4, 2011) The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), celebrates the release today of the novel, The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon. Best known for her memoir, Riding the Bus with My Sister, Simon calls upon her intimate familiarity with people with disabilities to capture their spirit and free will.
The Story of Beautiful Girl tells the tale of two individuals, a woman with an intellectual disability and a deaf man, who escape from an institution in Pennsylvania in 1968 with the woman’s newborn daughter. The story plays out over several decades, and includes many issues familiar to those in the disabilities field: the abuse and dehumanizing conditions in the institution, the advent of deinstitutionalization, and the value of dedicated Direct Support Professionals, who work to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. This account of triumph against the odds weaves in issues such as the right to community living, romance and sexuality, self-expression, spirituality and independence.
"This amazing story is a vivid illustration of many of the important issues our member agencies have been emphasizing for years," says Renee Pietrangelo, ANCOR CEO. "People with disabilities have the right to lead fully integrated lives in communities of their choosing, and when we support those choices, the entire community benefits."
Although many think of state institutions as relics of the past, there are still 162 state institutions in this country housing an average daily population of over 33,000 people. Only ten states and the District of Columbia have closed all their state institutions. Inadequate funding has denied many individuals with disabilities access to the supports and services that make community living possible. There are currently over 300,000 people with disabilities on waiting lists for home and community based long term services and supports across the country. The average wait is 8-10 years.
Ms. Simon discussed The Story of Beautiful Girl and autograph copies of the book at the ANCOR 2011 Conference: Leading Cultures of Innovation and Advocacy on June 7, 2011, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., in National Harbor, MD. ANCOR is pleased to partner with Ms. Simon to promote this important new work.
 Lakin, K.C., Larson, S.A., Salmi, P., and A. Webster. (2010). Residential Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities: Statues and trends through 2009. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration.
 The Arc of the United States, website page on Public Policy: Medicaid Issues for People with Disabilities.
ANCOR asked artists served by our member providers to create illustrations based on The Story of Beautiful Girl. More than 100 images were received, reflecting a wide range of artistic expression. Rachel Simon is using some of these images in her presentations about the book at events across the country. You can see all of the images in the gallery.
The American Network of Community Options and Resources is a national trade association representing more than 800 private providers of community living and employment supports and services to more than 400,000 individuals with disabilities. As a nonprofit organization, ANCOR successfully addresses the needs and interests of private providers before Congress and federal agencies, continually advocating for the crucial role private providers play in enhancing and supporting the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Through its National Advocacy Campaign, ANCOR seeks to obtain the resources to recruit, train and retain a sustainable direct support workforce.
Media contact: Jocelyn Breeland, Director of Communications and Marketing
"The Story Behind The Story of Beautiful Girl": The Story of Beautiful Girl is a moving portrayal of the overt and underlying institutional prejudices that continue to shape everyday life for millions of people with disabilities. The tale of Lynnie and Homan and their journey is but one illustration of how many people with disabilities have faced adversity and overcome injustices in our society. Click here for a look at the unsettling truths behind the fiction—and pass it on.
Promote the book on your website with The Story of Beautiful Girl icon and special ANCOR Foundation Amazon.com hyperlink. Post the icon on your website with the hyperlink that leads directly to the book on Amazon.com. Using this link results in a donation to the ANCOR Foundation of 6% of the purchase price.
To do so, simply copy this code in the correct place on your website. If you have difficulty doing this, please contact Tony Yu:
<a href=" http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0446574465?ie=UTF8&tag=a0b5b-20&linkCod... class="mceItem" alt="Rachel Simons' The Story of Beautiful Girl" BORDER=0 src="http://www.ancor.org/sites/all/default/story-of-beautiful-girl/files/rac... width=175 height=247></a>
Copying and pasting the above code into your website will yield you the below clickable image: