History of The Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties
1959 – present
1959 – The Arc established in Calhoun County as The Association for Retarded Children by local parents of children with mental retardation.
1960 - The Arc incorporated
1960 – 1978 Agency all volunteer. Volunteers worked at state level to help pass Act 106, which established special education in Alabama; gave scholarships so that local teachers could be certified in Special Education; established a private school for children with moderate mental retardation – subsequently transferred into Anniston school systems; created social events for children enrolled in the school; changed the name of the agency to the Association for Retarded Citizens.
1978 - Hired a part-time director (Nan T. Christian). Office located in director’s home.
1978 – Became a United Way Agency
1978 – Began association with the Knights of Columbus and the KofC Tootsie Roll Drive
1979 - Established a pilot program with the local Girl Scout Chapter to sponsor a troupe of girls with mental retardation.
1980 – Took over full sponsorship of the Calhoun County Special Olympics Program, began with the athletics (track and field events)
1980 – Began the “Stepping Out” recreational program for adults with mental retardation along with the Anniston Parks and Recreation Department
1980 – Held a “Read-O-lympics fundraiser
1982 - Established the local Mental Retardation Advisory Council
1982 - Started association with Scottish Rite Masons to provide shoes for children with mental retardation
1982 – 1984 – Printed 26,000 bookcovers for distribution to local schools
1983 - Established a one-week summer camp for children classified as “TMR” or “trainable mentally retarded”
1983 – Expanded the Special Olympics Program to include swimming, basketball and bowling in cooperation with Anniston PARD and the YMCA (program has continued to expand through the years)
1983 – Moved office to 407 Noble Street in the (then) United Way building
1984 – Hired a part-time staff assistant
1984 – Day camp extended to two –week camp
1985 – Hired a part-time recreation aide and office manager
1985 – Moved office to Lyric Square
1986 – Held the first annual fashions show and awards banquet
1986 – Created the camp for children with multi-disabilities (Camp Sertoma), as an eight day camp
1987 – Camps become six-week day camps
1987 – Created first adult day camp with Anniston PARD (one week)
1987 – Held camp for “EMR” children (“educate able mentally retarded”)
1988 – 1989- EMR camps offered for 10 weeks
1990 – Arc-Way Employment Program established
1991 – First Arc-Way clients hired (adults with mental retardation)
1991 – Began local affiliation of The Kids on the Block international educational puppet program
1992 – Changed name to The Arc of Calhoun County
1992 – Hosted The Arc of Alabama State Convention
1992 – Held first Elks Language Summer Day Camp for students (Special Ed and regular Ed) who receive speech therapy services
1993 – Moved offices to 20 West 14th Street, Anniston
1993 – Arc-Way programs discontinued
1994 – Stated Preschool Day Camps for children ages 3 -5 with developmental delays
1995 – Started Service Coordination contract with the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, hired first case worker (Jill Stewart)
1996 - Alabama Education Trust Funds received, hired first family advocate and full-time program assistant/puppeteer coordinator (Di Lemons, Pati Tiller)
1996 – Changed name to The Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties
1997- Joined the group of non-profit agencies, known as the Calhoun County Alliance of Social Service Agencies, to try to establish a therapeutic service community on former Fort McClellan property
1998- Began a Sibshops Program for siblings of children with disabilities
1998 – Cooperated with the Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Opportunity Center on the implementation of the Milestones (Supported Employment) project in Calhoun County.
2001- Helped in the formation of the Calhoun County Autism Support Group
2003 – Sent two athletes (Ashley Scheid and Tina Allen) and a staff member (Pati Tiller) to the first Special Olympics World Summer Games to ever be held outside of the U.S. (had previously sent athletes to World Games inside the U.S.)
2004 – Nan T. Christian, first director of The Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties retires, January 30, 2004
2004 – Joanne Pope is hired as the second executive director of the agency
2004- Prevocational Trainer (Cathy Benton) hired to work with adults on a part-time basis
2005 – Hosted a record 181 athletes from local school systems at 2005 Special Olympics Athletics Events at Jacksonville High School
2005 – Kids on the Block International recognizes longtime Arc KOB volunteer Raymond Ervin by naming a puppet in one if its new programs after him.
2005 – Secured a grant through the VSA-arts program to offer weekly art classes for adult clients.
2006- Helped in the formation of the Sharing the Care Respite Program for caregivers of people with disabilities or long-term illnesses.
2006 – Created Camp Spectra, a summer day camp for school students with autism. The camp takes the place of the annual Preschool Camp and serves 11 children.
2006- Joanne Pope resigns as Executive Director after three years in the position. She works until January 15, 2007, through the transition of her successor.
2007 - Brenda Spurlin begins her job as The Arc’s third Executive Director on Jan. 3.
2008 – “Art Art” moves to the Arc offices at 20 W. 14th Street for classes, taught by Margaret McNaron. Artist Peg Tyler later takes over for Ms. McNaron.
2008 – Contract for Early Intervention Services awarded to UCP of East Central Alabama by AL Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Arc’s two EI staff members (Jenny Anderson and Kristy Souder) become UCP staffers as of Oct. 1.
2009- As part of a cost cutting initiative, the board takes over the duties of Executive Director beginning October 1.
2011- Following the retirement of longtime Family Advocate Janet Price at the last of February, Mindi Amberson is hired as the agency’s new Family Advocate in April.
2011- The Arc relocates is offices from 20 West 14th Street to 401 Noble Street, Anniston in May.
2011- Two local adult athletes, Raymond Ervin and Michelle Swain, win gold medals in their respective singles competitions in the bocce competition in the Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. Ms. Swain also earns a silver medal in team competition. Mr. Ervin gets the fourth place spot in team competition. The Games take place in July. Mr. Ervin wins his gold on his 42 birthday. The team sings “Happy Birthday” to him while he is on the medal stand.
2012 – The Arc’s summer camps for children and adults continue to grow. For the first time the four children’s day camps take place at the Bynum Community Center. Camp Spectra, the day camp for children with autism, splits into two groups with older children meeting in Session I during June and younger children meeting in Session II in July. Also in July the Adult Camp hosts a record number (31) of campers ages 17 and above.
2012 – In June, Mindi Amberson begins weekly support groups for parents of children with developmental disabilities. These groups meet each Tuesday in Calhoun County and each Thursday in Cleburne County.
2012 - Karen Chappell Davis is hired as The Arc's fourth Executive Director in September.
2013 - Dot Lovelidge retires in March after 21 years of service to The Arc. Betty Kelley is hired to assume the job of Administrative Assistant.
2013 - Tammy Moreno is hired as The Arc's Family Advocate, taking over for Mindy Amberson.
2013 - Tammy Moreno is hired as The Arc's Family Advocate, taking over for Mindi Amberson.
2013 – The Arc expands its educational outreach when in the 2013 -2014 school year; staff members begin programs at two local schools. Tammy Moreno begins a weekly Wednesday self-esteem program for at-risk students of Wellborn Elementary School while Pati Tiller instructs students in the self-contained unit of the Anniston Middle School each Tuesday morning as part of the Public Education Foundation of Anniston’s “Class Act” program.
2014- The Arc of Calhoun and Cleburne Counties holds its first “Day Out for Awareness” event in Anniston’s Zinn Park on March 29. The event, part of The Arc of the U.S. observation of March as ID/DD Awareness Month, attracts some 162 people despite being held outdoors during periods of pouring rain. The event attracts national attention on Facebook.
2014 – Also in March, The Arc supports the organization of “Fit Friends”, a non-profit organization designed to promote the health and nutrition of adults with intellectual disabilities through instruction and exercise. Staff helps promote the program and attend the weekly Tuesday night meetings at the Oxford Civic Center. (The Arc board members vote to adopt “Fit Friends” as an official program of The Arc at their November meeting). Fit Friends is created and led by Oxford Special Education teacher Shannon Bridges.
2014 – In June, The Arc assists the City of Anniston’s Therapeutic Recreation Program in sending three local athletes to the Special Olympics National Games in Princeton New Jersey as part of the Special Olympics Alabama Delegation. Raymond Ervin and Eugene Johnson become a part of the State’s bocce team, each winning gold, silver and bronze medals. Bowler Mark Dugans, won a silver and a bronze medal as well as a fifth-place ribbon. Anniston Therapeutic Recreation Program Director Bernadette Mack Burroughs serves as a bowling coach for the state team.
2014 – October 2, staff members Tammy Moreno, Karen Davis and Pati Tiller attend the first meeting of the “Circle of Friends” support group for parents of children with disabilities. The monthly meetings, organized by Melonie Jones, are held at Leatherwood Baptist Church.
2014 – Consumer Melissa Akles’ artistic submission, a self-portrait entitled “I Am Not Afraid” is selected as the official artwork for the Alabama Disability Conference in Orange Beach the week of October 31. Akles joins The Arc’s staff and four board members in attending the conference, where she is officially recognized. Two Arc board members, Jerry York and Mark Dugans, receive The Arc of Alabama’s Volunteer of the Year and Citizenship Award (respectively) at the same conference.
2015 – Michael Abrams begins his term as Interim Executive Director of The Arc on January 5. He takes over for Karen Davis, who resigned after her husband accepted another job in South Alabama.
2015 - Tammy Moreno becomes the fifth Executive Director of The Arc on April 1, 2015.
2015 - Debra Harvey, retired from 35 years of employment as a teacher and (later) a transition specialist at AIDB's Helen Keller School, joins the staff as Family Advocate on Spetember 1. Debra has previsouly spent several summers as director of The Arc's preschool camp and camp for children with multiple disabilties.