History of the Arc and
The National Arc organization truly started as a grass roots movement. Families sought resources to help them meet the needs of their sons and daughters. small groups huddled together throughout the country formed what we know today as The Arc. As nearly as can be told, this grass roots movement began in the early 1930's.
After World War II, the first organized meeting was held around 1946, and each succeeding year an increased number of groups joined this new organization. The first glimmer of the need for a national organization for citizens who are mentally retarded/developmentally disabled came in 1947. the national organization was incorporated March 27, 1953. From inertia to momentum, the association gathered strength as it grew. The first professionally staffed national headquarters located in New York, under the name of the Association for Retarded Citizens, was opened in 1954.
The Arc of the United States came into existence like a small ripple on the surface of the American scene, an embryonic social movement of which few people were aware. But with the interest of our beginning members and their desire to bring about research, new lays, programs and professionals that resulted in permanent changes. Such social storm was worn when the National and State associations were born.
Subsequently, Louisiana joined other states in becoming affiliated with the national organization. A group of 40 dedicated citizens in Louisiana realized that if anything was to be accomplished for citizens with mental retardation, they must band together and become one united voice, which they did in May, 1954, when the Association of Retarded Children of Louisiana was incorporated. On one occasion, the National Arc President commended that Arc of Louisiana as ranking #4 in membership of all of the state associations as far back as 1971.
In 1962 the dream, vision and need for a local chapter began to evolve in the minds of the citizens of Beauregard Parish. It started with something as simple as a telephone call. Someone reaching out! Someone with a family member who had a disability taking that first step in trying to find someone or some agency to help. With much cooperation and encouragement from civic organizations, churches, and others, the Beauregard Arc was organized April, 1963 under The Arc of Louisiana.
In 1967 the Beauregard Arc filed the Articles of Incorporation with the State of Louisiana. Physical facilities were then offered to this new organization by the DeRidder Civitan Club. The Beauregard Arc hired staff and began the Beauregard Arc Activities Center on West Shirley St. the center has stood the test of time by going through many transitions during the years, always foremost in everyone's mind that the needs and purpose being the most important. Those who persevered and remained
strong are to be commended. People with mental retardation comprise one of the largest disability groups and yet the condition is often misunderstood.
A goal of a local chapter is to help make sure persons who need community based services or housing are served. Beauregard Arc is one of 1,200 affiliated chapters of the Arc of the United States which has 100,00 members nationwide.
Beauregard Arc's vision is founded upon the belief that citizens with mental retardation, developmental disabilities have the right to be a productive citizen in the community. In order to be a productive citizen, each person must be given a chance to utilize his/her skills. when these skills are utilized according to the person's abilities, the community is enriched by that person. Beauregard Arc's mission statement is to deliver vocational and/or habilitative training to those persons with developmental disabilities.
The year of 1998 brought a complete change in Administration. The Beauregard Activity Center became the Beauregard Arc Vocational Center under a new executive Director. The new director came with many years of experience in the field and immediately began to expand the vision for the center to teach work skills to adult persons with developmental disabilities. the consumers receive support and training in the development of skills which may include: attending to task, following directions, fine and gross motor skills, social skills, receptive and expressive communication and self direction.
Civic clubs, churches and citizens of Beauregard Parish continue to be enthusiastic in their support of Beauregard Arc. In considering the facrt that only 24 of the 64 parished have an Arc today, it is clear that Beauregard Parish can take pride in providing services for all its citizens.
Using the words of Votaire: "ther is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world, and that is an idea whose time has come." Our motto is BUILD IT---THEY WILL COME.
For more information on this center and it's programs please call the office.