Executive Director Teresa McKeon accepts award from The Arc of NC Board Member Adonis Brown
The Arc of Davidson County received the Distinguished Affiliate Award at the 2012 Annual Meeting of The Arc of North Carolina. This honor recognizes the dedication, commitment, and the professionalism of the chapters of The Arc. A chapter that receives the Distinguished Affiliate recognition has met stringent criteria and has provided advocacy, instituted programs, encouraged diversity, participated in and supported activities that benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in their communities. The Arc of Davidson County was one of nine chapters out of 35 affiliated chapters state-wide to receive this recognition.
The Arc of Davidson County was also awarded with the Membership Award for the greatest percentage increase in membership.
Davidson County Parks and Recreation received the Inclusive Community Award. Nominated by The Arc of Davidson County for its partnership with the Summer Respite program, this award recognizes an organization that is building connections within the community to support and serve people with and without disabilities.
History of The Arc of Davidson County, Inc
The Arc of Davidson County was founded in 1964 by families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We are committed to securing for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to choose and realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, work and play. The Arc of Davidson County is an affilated chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States.
Initially, local meetings were held in homes of the members, and later in a courtroom at the Davidson County Courthouse. Members attended workshops and conventions across the state to gather information to benefit the local agency.
In 1970, members developed a plan and voted as their goal to open a daycare center. With no state funds available, members borrowed money from local banks for start up money, held fundraising events, recruited parent and volunteer support. This started what operates today as the Developmental Center at South Lexington Primary School. It opened in the First Lutheran Church in Lexington. In 1975, the Right to Education Federal Law was passed – school systems had until 1982 to provide programs within the school system. The Arc played an important role in the passing of this law in North Carolina. The Arc of North Carolina brought a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina, and the law is known today as the Public Law 94-142. In 1980, The Arc Board of Directors approached the Lexington City School System and asked them to take over operations of the Developmental Center. State and Federal funds were allocated to schools, and the City of Lexington did not have a classroom program in place. The agreement between the city school system and The Arc was that the program would also serve county children. The Arc went through hard times financially to keep the program in place.
With the help of the Davidson County 4 – H Extension office in 1976,The Arc organized 4-H clubs for the children with disabilities in Lexington and Thomasville. This was the first 4-H program in the state for people with disabilities. The group met and attended 4-H summer camp with typically developing children for 11 years– this was the beginning of inclusion into the statewide 4-H program. Persons who are no longer a part of the 4-H program are now members of the Self-Advocacy Program.
The Arc opened its first office in 1978 on West Center Street in Lexington, staffed by volunteers for the first year, and then with a part-time Director. Later, the office was moved to a Talbert Boulevard location and shared space with the then Lexington Area United Way. After this building was sold, the office moved to the old Grimes School and shared space with the Area Mental Health Program. In 1981, the Area Mental Heath Program approached The Arc to take over operation of two (2) group homes that were being licensed by the Department of Social Services.
Remodeling had to be completed along with numerous improvements, again board members signed notes at the bank to borrow monies to be used as operating funds. The Arc purchased the home located at 6 Vance Circle with a block building in back. The building was renovated and housed The Arc administrative offices. The home was remodeled and begin operation as a group home with residents being moved from one of the original homes through mental health. The Arc is the owner of both the Vance Circle home and the office building in the back of the home. Purchase of the home was made possible through fundraisers and agency solicitation.
In 1982, The Arc filed an application with Arc/HDS for a grant to build a new group home. Between 1982 and 1996, funding has been received for four (4) new group homes supporting 23 individuals with disabilities. The people who once lived in the Vance Circle home moved into that last group home that was built in November, 1996. The administrative offices are now housed at the Vance Circle location.