Before the mid-1960´s, care, education and basic human rights for people with disabilities were limited to individual communities having passion and creating opportunity. More often than not parents were encouraged to institutionalize children with any disability as asylums and institutions were the norm. Parents that kept their families intact faced incredible challenges as information and services were extremely difficult to acquire.
In the late 1950´s there was little to no availability of organized services or education for children or adults with disabilities in Washington County. Parents were forced to turn to their own resourcefulness and resilience to find solutions. Created in the hands of progressive families within the community, resources were organized and the first school in the area, our organization, was founded in October of 1959. (It was not until 1974 that students with intellectual and developmental disabilities were able to receive an education in the area public schools.)
Parents that kept their families intact faced incredible challenges as information and services were extremely difficult to acquire.
In November of 1959, the Beaverton Kiwanis Club donated the land and construction that was the beginning of the facility that was previously known as the Association of Retarded Children (The Arc), is today known as Imagine Possibilities. With one paid staff member, parents and community members volunteered at the school to teach classes, dig ditches, make repairs, and created a community where families could come together for support, education, celebration, and the feeling of normalcy. The founding families were instrumental in many firsts within the community for children and adults with disabilities. They organized to bring the Special Olympics to Washington County with retired Blazers as coaches. They were instrumental in changing laws, pressuring the school system for better educational opportunities, creating training programs, and establishing group homes. Many of the people that were instrumental in the early years are still working hard to ensure progress doesn´t stop within the disability world.
It is a history we are proud to continue to build upon. Imagine Possibilities is committed to celebrating the progressive spirit of the founders by working to strengthen the beautiful and safe community we make up and to ensure it is connected deeply within all of Washington County.