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A wonderful thing happened September 29, 1958. On that cool fall evening, a small group of families, with support from concerned citizens, formed the organization known today as The Resource Center.
Our founders were motivated by a desire to create better lives — and greater opportunities — for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Back then, public schools did not have to accept children with severe intellectual disabilities, and there were few jobs for people with special needs. As a result, many families either sent their children to live in institutions or kept them home, where they had limited opportunities to become involved in their community.
“There was no place for our children to be,” said the late Freda Eddy, one of the people who was involved with The Resource Center when it was formed. “They just sat there at home in a corner and watched TV.”
Within a few months, TRC opened a classroom in the old Medical Arts Building on Pine Street in Jamestown. Celia Fisher of Mayville, a retired teacher, volunteered her services as a teacher; parents paid a nominal fee to cover Mrs. Fisher’s transportation costs and to pay for supplies.
Things certainly have changed during the past 60 years!
Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated employees and the support of families, area residents, businesses, and organizations, The Resource Center has improved the lives of thousands of Chautauqua County residents with all types of disabilities. Today, people with special needs enjoy opportunities that would have seemed unattainable in 1958. They work, volunteer and are valued members of society.
The Resource Center has changed, too. What began as an organization run by volunteers has grown into one of the largest employers in Western New York. And we don’t just provide services and supports to people with disabilities and their families. These days, The Resource Center is a strong manufacturing force and a key component of Chautauqua County’s health care system, providing a range of health and counseling services to more than 10,000 area residents.
As we begin a yearlong observance of our 60th anniversary, we invite you to join us in celebrating our first six decades. We hope you’ll share some of your memories of The Resource Center — perhaps you or a family member has received supports from TRC, or maybe you were present for an important event in The Resource Center’s history.
To share your TRC memory, or to tell us how The Resource Center has made a difference in your life or the life of someone you know, click here. You’ll also have the option to send us a photo. We plan to publish some of the responses we receive, so please be sure we have permission to publish the names and photos of the people you mention in your TRC memory.
As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we invite you to show your support for The Resource Center and people with disabilities by becoming a member of The Resource Center. Membership dues are $10 per year, and TRC members enjoy discounts at about 20 local businesses. Click here to become a TRC member.
Throughout the year, we’ll be sharing other highlights from The Resource Center’s first 60 years. To everyone who has helped be a part of The Resource Center’s success over the years …