In Memoriam: Polly Arango

July 9, 2010

Grieving for Polly Arango: From the LEND Family Faculty

Last week we lost a friend, a mentor, a champion and a pioneer. Polly Arango was all of these to us. Without Polly and her trailblazing work institutionalizing family as a member of the interdisciplinary support team and as a professional discipline, many of us Family Faculty would be working other jobs in other fields. Polly helped bring attention and legitimacy to our cause and to our careers. We, as Family Faculty, will be forever grateful to Polly, as is all of the disability community.

While we would much rather have Polly with us, her legacy remains and we are all the better for it. I hope this will bring some comfort to Polly's family - please know, that she did good in this world.

From Family Voices: A Tribute to Polly Arango

Polly Arango The Family Voices network of family leaders and friends suffered a tremendous loss on Saturday, June 26th with the sudden, unexpected passing of our founding Executive Director, Polly Arango.

We struggle; we grieve. The words to express what our hearts are feeling are hard to find right now. Polly's impact on families and children in New Mexico, the United States, and around the world is difficult to measure or to match. The void her death leaves is immense.

Polly is remembered as a passionate, visionary, persistent, powerful, humble, and tireless mother, advocate, mentor and friend whose belief in the power of community was exemplified in her lifetime of work for families and children. Read more here.

About Polly Arango

For more than 20 years, Polly Arango, BA, has been a writer, speaker, and advocate for children and families in New Mexico and across the country with a special focus on making family-centered systems of care a reality for youngsters who, like her son Nick, have special health care needs. In 1992, she cofounded Family Voices, a national grassroots network with 45,000 families and friends working together to improve care for children and youth with special health needs. Arango served as its first executive director. Arango represented families and family-centered care issues in her own county and state, as well as on many national boards and commissions and in international forums. She was the coauthor of: New Mexico, a New Guide to the Colorful State; Touring New Mexico; Family/Professional Collaboration; and Partners at Work, as well as many articles on health care, New Mexico, and family.Longtime activist Polly Arango, who traveled the country and the world fighting for the rights of disabled children and their families, died Saturday in a freak accident in Colorado.

From the Albequerque Journal

Arango, 68, was vacationing in Colorado with her husband and two of her grandsons when she fell and hit her head on a car door, her daughter, Francesca Wilson, said Sunday.

Wilson said Arango, who lived in Algodones, was a co-founder of Family Voices, an Albuquerque-based national nonprofit dedicated to family-centered care for children and youth with special health care needs or disabilities, and of Parents Reaching Out, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit that helped educate and advocate for New Mexico parents of disabled children.

"She thought that the most vulnerable needed a voice," Wilson said of her mother. "She thought families who have children with disabilities are just pushed aside, and a lot of times they don't speak up for themselves."

> Read the full obituary in the Albequerque Journal.