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Celebrating 70 Years of The Arc of San Diego

The Arc of San Diego is ecstatic to celebrate our 70th Anniversary this year! This important milestone dates back to 1951, when a small group of parents, at the Ocean Beach Junior Women’s Club were concerned about the lack of resources for children with disabilities. They decided to reach out to others interested in helping children with developmental disabilities reach their full potential. After meeting, the “Society for Exceptional Children” was created and voted into existence, and The Arc of San Diego as we know it commenced.

Starting in the early 1950s began the struggle to organize and set policies in place. It wasn’t until the 1960s when The Arc of San Diego was able to change public attitudes, influence legislation, and recruit professionals into the field. In the 1970s, legislative successes were encouraged to then create statewide delivery of services systems. An era of mergers, program growth, expansion and improvements followed the next decade. The 1990s began a new shift in thinking to empower individuals with developmental disabilities and change the way services were delivered which then gave The Arc of San Diego a new direction.

In the new century, we changed our mission statement to expand services for other disabilities and initiated a new, major federal food service contact at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Today, The Arc of San Diego is the largest, most comprehensive provider of services to children and adults with disabilities in San Diego County.

For 70 years, The Arc of San Diego has remained committed to its mission of supporting and empowering individuals with disabilities to achieve their life’s goals. Through perseverance and determination, we have overcome tremendous obstacles to expand the knowledge and importance of these individuals within our society and government. We serve more than 2,000 individuals countywide and continue to help each individual reach their fullest level of independence. This year we will reflect on all the achievements we have attained and celebrate the years to come!