Our History

The Association for Retarded Children was started by Vita Bryant and others, mostly parents of children with disabilities.

Nevins Center was started as a sheltered workshop for individuals with moderate retardation, ages 16 and up.

Ramsey Kindergarten was started at Park Road Baptist Church.

The Arc, in cooperation with the Junior Women’s Club, sponsored the first day camp for children with mental retardation in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-six children were served.

Ground was broken for Phase One of the Center For Human Development. This new concept was to provide day care and other work for individuals with disabilities.

The Auxiliary for the Retarded, which assisted and supported individuals in the community with disabilities. Most of the members were not parents of children with disabilities.

The Arc filed a lawsuit against the State of North Carolina demanding appropriate education for children with mental retardation. The state Arc picked up the lawsuit after this.

Myers Street School was given to the “Trainable Retarded”, but the building was unsafe. This led to the starting of Metro School.

St. Marks was started by St. Marks Lutheran Church. This day program was for individuals with more severe retardation.

The first group homes were started.

Mecklenburg Respite Care started under the leadership of Arc President, Chuck Boles.

Metro School was started.

Public Law-142 was passed guaranteeing individuals the right to free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment, regardless of type or degree of disability. The community colleges began serving those who had not received an appropriate education.

The Autistic Group Homes were founded.

Howell Center opened.

During these years, Arc members were busy. They worked with legislators to facilitate building the Marion Diehl Recreation Center, they assisted the county in developing a centralized waiting list to document the need for residential services, and they started Operation Santa Claus, among other things.

Arc members received training in Circles of Friends and began the first circles in NC.

A community liaison program through a grant from Elizabeth Crockett Fund was started to pair people with MR with volunteers from the community to help them learn to access their community. The program was turned over to RSS.

The Arc Dream Team (now The Advocates Powered Up), an adult self-advocacy group, was formed.

Formed a pilot project for First in Families, a program that uses cash grants, vouchers, and community resources to help people with MR and other DD meet their needs with less red tape.

Purchased 4 condos jointly with RSS.

Received grant from DD council to start My Future, My Choice, a program aimed at transitioning students with severe disabilities to help the find competitive employment.

Family Support Network of Mecklenburg County was started.

Self-Determination/Power Project was developed and implemented. This pilot project was then turned over to RSS.

Latino Outreach activities, including education, advocacy and support group functions, were outsourced to a Lifespan employee.

Started Project IMPACT, a collaborative project with The Children’s Law Center. IMPACT provides a trained volunteer to accompany parents to their child’s IEP meeting.

Started Aktion Clubs, a joint venture with Kiwanis clubs. Started the Arc Leadership Initiative Project.

Partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in the community for individuals with disabilities and their families. Partnered with Substance Abuse Prevention Services and the Chemical Dependency Center to form a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Committee for Mecklenburg County.

Expanded the Aktion Club to North Mecklenburg. Formed a partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Council for Children's Rights (previously the Children's Law Center & The Council for Children) and Disability Rights & Resources (formerly Programs for Accessible Living) to expand our Partners in Justice project to help individuals with disabilities avoid the criminal justice system and to learn their rights.

Coordinated and facilitated a successful WrightsLaw workshop at Queens University in partnership with the Council for Children’s Rights. 360 Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys attended for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. NICU project at Presbyterian comes back to life with the help of the United Way's Leading the Way Team. Habitat for Humanity Home for an adult lady with disabilities scheduled to be built by end of summer!

The Arc of Mecklenburg County in partnership with The Lake Norman Kiwanis Club chartered the Lake Norman Aktion Club.

The Arc of Mecklenburg County in partnership with the Charlotte Kiwanis Club and the Mecklenburg Kiwanis Club chartered the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Aktion Club that meets twice a month at the Nevins Center.

The Arc of Mecklenburg County received a grant from The Mecklenburg County ABC Board to combat instance of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in our community. This funding allowed us to host educational workshops in our community and create female focused ad campaigns to educate the general public about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

The Arc of Mecklenburg County received a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation through The Arc of the United States to create a resource website related to transition for youth with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities from the high school setting to adult life. Doors 2Life is a website dedicated to helping students, parents and employers understand the transition process better. The website contains "doors" specific to these segments of the population and each are filled with information particular to their interests and needs.

The Arc of Mecklenburg County expanded our Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders project by creating new media ads that targeted men. The funding for this was provided by The Mecklenburg County ABC Board.