GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Many young parents are wiped out by the end of the day, tucking their kids in bed by 9 p.m. and then zonking out, head heavy on the pillow. Not Pat Clapp.
The feisty mother of three went to work after her kids went down for the night, doing research often until 3 a.m.
"I just knew we needed change, I had this drive and I knew it needed to happen," said the now 87-year-old Clapp, who lobbied across the country for The Right To Education Bill that helped give students with disabilities access to education in public schools. "Back then, it was just so different."
Clapp's second child, David, has Down syndrome. He worked as a longtime bagger at a grocery store, had a mail route, worked at Hobby Lobby. As he grew older, according to Pat, the now 60-year-old David didn't have as many opportunities for work. She turned her kitchen into a makeshift bakery and created ArcBarks, an all natural, handmade dog treat company in Greensboro that employs people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
"It's not just about working, it's learning how to work in a professional environment, how to contribute, it helps with self-esteem and they do such a great job," said Clapp. ArcBarks ships the adorable dog treats all over the country.
Clapp says lobbying and public speaking didn't come naturally or at all easily for her. "I would just stand there and shake in the beginning, but I knew it had to be done. I had to speak up on behalf of other families in the same boat. I never had any notes, I would just speak from the heart. That's the key. Parents need to let go of the need to be perfect and just take risks and not give up."