Families Paving the Way
In 1956, two mothers started looking for support for their children and were told to start a local Association. These moms brought together a group of eleven people, including parents and concerned citizens. Sitting around a kitchen table together, they decided to take a leap of faith to change the path for their children living with a intellectual disability.
THEIR MISSION: to make these children and families part of the society of their time in the community, in the school and at work.
The first goal was to obtain schooling for their children. Since regular schools would not allow children with disabilities to attend, the Association decided to form their own school. Within nine months of forming, the Association had created a class for children with disabilities in the lower hall of the Royal Canadian Legion. In 1960, the Royal Canadian Legion built a school for the children at 306 Jemima Street, with the assistance of the Town of Selkirk and volunteers.
In 1967, after strong advocacy efforts by many groups, the Department of Education assumed responsibility for the education of children with disabilities and a special education unit was opened at Daerwood School.
The Royal Canadian Legion School became an Activity Centre for adults living with an intellectual disability and over the years became a pre-vocational training centre known as ARC Industries.
The first residence in Selkirk was opened in 1973. The Association had an overriding desire to bring people living in institutions back to their home communities, and support people living with families to move back into their own homes in their communities. Our second residence was opened in 1984 and was a part of the Provincial Welcome Home project that assisted communities in bringing people home from the Manitoba Developmental Centre. In 1987, two homes were built to support people from our community.
We need to thank the families that had the vision and strength to tackle the systems that were in place and created a better life for their children. These first steps are what created the pathways we are now walking down.
This story is proof that FAMILIES ARE THE STRONGEST ADVOCATES.
To see where these families and all those who have worked and volunteered their time have taken us, check out current service options in the main menu's SERVICES dropdown menu.
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