In 1957, three Douglas mothers had a vision. These mothers of children with special needs were determined they could make a difference in the lives of the children, and those in similar circumstances. In 1958 Douglas ARC became a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. It took a lot of work to search the Douglas area for other children who could benefit from the programs they planned to initiate. And their resources were limited. But they had a wealth of volunteer help. Up until 1957, children with special needs had been hidden away, or kept at home as was the custom at that time. The children learned counting, drawing, puzzles and singing. Soon people of all ages with Developmental Disabilities started to attend the program. In 1974 it became a Federal Law that all school aged children with or without disabilities had the right to attend School. Douglas ARC transferred all of their school age children to the public school, as required by law. About this time the government let contracts to programs that were working with adults that had Developmental Disabilities. Since the amount of volunteers had decreased due to the loss of the children to the schools, Douglas ARC entered into it’s first government contract. This contract allowed Douglas ARC to have paid staff.
Through the years people were taught how to do decoupage, make pottery, ceramics, how to re-web lawn chairs and gardening. The products from these classes were sold, but there was not a large market. Looking for real work Douglas ARC ventured into the landscaping business. We are currently providing all the ground maintenance for the low income housing for the city of Douglas, we also have over 65 private customers. Soon after that Douglas ARC was contracted to cook meals for the senior citizen program. Both programs teach people needed skills and also paid them for working. The two programs have proven to be a huge success, they allowed our people to become taxpayers instead of tax takers. The skills learned in the kitchen continue to be carried over to their personal life, whether it is to cook a meal for 300 people to cooking for themselves at home.
Our ultimate goal is to place our people in jobs in the community.
Currently the Douglas ARC has a Board of Directors of 15 members with 3 of those members Clients that we serve.