3901 Emerald Drive Suite B, Kalamazoo, MI 49001


The Arc Community Advocates

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilitiesFor people with intellectual and developmental disabilities



Sheldon Schwitek

Executive Director
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Sheldon comes to Community Advocates with more than 30 years of experience supporting people who experience disability which began with the birth of his youngest brother when he was 13 years old.

With a firm grounding in Person Centered Work through long associations with Inclusion Press and the Toronto Summer Institute, Sheldon’s focus has always been on encouraging people to “dream bigger” as a pathway to true citizenship. He is passionate about people living meaningful lives of contribution in their communities.

In 2011, Sheldon began to work with The Center for Positive Living Supports and their implementation of a Culture of Gentleness in Michigan. This work solidified his knowledge that relationships and community connections are fundamental to a safe and happy life. 

Recently, Sheldon has been working nationally and internationally weaving together his experience in Person Centered Work and mentorship as exemplary tools to assist people to realize full potential as citizens. 

The key message in Sheldon’s work is that all people can lead lives that are rich and meaningful and that this is the our most important work. He is excited to continue to deepen his practice and understanding of this work at The Arc Community Advocates in Kalamazoo; a community that is committed to social justice for all.


Beverly McBrien, LMSW

Director of Advocacy
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Beverly brings fifteen years of experience as a school social worker.  As a school social worker she employed a wide variety of assessments, interventions and strategies to remove barriers to learning and promote active student participation in the general education curriculum. She brings experience conducting behavior assessments, developing behavior plans and coaching for students to reach their goals. As a special education advocate she sits beside parents at all kinds of meetings offering support and helping to focus discussions on the needs of the student. Her favorite part of the job is connecting with kids and their parents through conversations about their individual learning profiles, interests and future.


LaTaynia Conant

Marketing & Communications Coordinator
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LaTaynia has over 10 years of non-profit experience, specializing in event planning and management, social media marketing and maintaining large databases including data entry and reporting. In her experience she has helped raise thousands of dollars for non-profits through an Annual Auction, Annual Golf Scramble, Luncheons, and many other events. LaTaynia has always worked in a non-profit whose focus has been community inclusion which is why having her at The Arc Community Advocates will help us achieve our mission. 


Anne Gaertner

Individual & Family Advocate
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Annie joined The Arc Community Advocates on January 16, 2018. She has extensive knowledge of community resources, and has experience advocating for families that are in need. Additionally, Annie has a long history working with children in Special Education, and adults with Mental Health diagnosis. Annie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health Education and Promotion from Central Michigan University. In her spare time, Annie is an accomplished musician, performing in local concert bands and theatre pit orchestras. She enjoys spending time with her family, attending music festivals, and thrift shopping.