Wednesday, June 19, 2013

50 Years, 50 Stories - The Timeline

This is the 25th installment of our “50 Years, 50 Stories” feature. We’re halfway there! I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have, and have learned more about the positive impact Imagine! has had on so many during our 50 years of existence.

To mark the halfway point of this series, we thought we’d do something a little different for this week’s installment. Instead of a person’s story, we thought we’d share a timeline of key events in the history of Imagine! and in the field of serving individuals with developmental disabilities. This timeline is another story, just a story told in a different way. It also helps give some of the other stories in this series perspective.

I want to note that some of the dates are approximate. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our work that we don’t properly record important events, or we might not even be aware the importance of certain dates until much later, when we have to rely on our imperfect memories to fill in the blanks. So if you see any dates you know are incorrect, or if we left something out, leave a note in the comments below and we’ll fix it.


President John F. Kennedy gathers a distinguished panel of experts to develop "A National Plan to Combat Mental Retardation." 
What is to become The Association for Community Living is formed in Boulder as a resource for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families, friends, and community.
On February 5, 1963, President John F. Kennedy makes a speech to the Congress of the United States, where he announces the panel's findings and asks for support for new resources to address the needs of people with mental retardation and mental illness: the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Act, which grants $265 million in federal aid over five years to support programs for the mentally retarded, and the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Construction Act, which grants $330 million over five years for new buildings to serve disabled citizens.
Colorado House Bill #121, providing for a pilot program relating to community centers for mentally retarded and seriously handicapped person, is passed. Boulder is chosen to administer the program, and the Boulder County Interagency and Citizens Council on Mental Retardation is formed. Ruth Wood is named Executive Director. 100 individuals are served.
The Civil Rights Act is passed. While this act helps end discrimination against African Americans and women in the workplace, it does not make any provision for people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities still lack opportunities to participate in and be contributing members of society, are denied access to employment, and are discriminated against based on disability.
A pilot program moves 90 residents of institutions with developmental disabilities into the community of Ft. Logan, within three years all 90 were living successfully in the community.
The Boulder County Interagency and Citizens Council on Mental Retardation is renamed The Boulder County Board for Mental Retardation.
The Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center of Boulder County, Inc., is formed by 20 interested citizens as an non-profit corporation to receive federal matching funds, foundation grants and local public and private support for the purpose of constructing a combined mental health and mental retardation center. Boulder County was the first community to consider a combined mental health and mental retardation center in the United States.
The President’s Committee on Mental Retardation is established by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
"Christmas in Purgatory," by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, documents conditions at state institutions for people with developmental disabilities.
A First Report To The President On The Nation's Progress And Remaining Great Needs In The Campaign To Combat Mental Retardation” is released.
Survey shows that 74% of individuals with developmental disabilities living in institutions in Colorado have no contact with anyone outside of the institutions.
Carmel House in Boulder opens its doors to 14 people who moved out of state institutions.
The Boulder County Board for Mental Retardation serves 140 individuals.
The Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 is amended to bring people with disabilities (other than blindness) into the sheltered workshop system
Geraldo Rivera, an investigative reporter for WABC-TV in New York, conducts a series of investigations at Willowbrook State School in New York, a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities, uncovering a host of deplorable conditions, including overcrowding, inadequate sanitary facilities, and physical and sexual abuse of residents by members of the school's staff. The exposé, entitled "Willowbrook: The Last Disgrace," garners national attention about the conditions in institutions. In New York ARC v. Rockefeller, parents of residents at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York file suit to end the appalling conditions at that institution.
Social Security Amendments of 1972 creates the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The law relieves families of the financial responsibility of caring for their adult disabled children.
U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies.
Boulder County Board for Mental Retardation moves from the old county hospital building to the newly built Mental Health and Mental Retardation and Sundquist Rehabilitation Center on Iris and Broadway and serves 180 individuals.
The Boulder County Board for Mental Retardation is renamed The Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities.
Education for All Handicapped Children Act requires all public schools accepting federal funds to provide equal access to education for children with physical and developmental disabilities. This act is later revised and renamed as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990.
The Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities begins providing Early Intervention services and serves 250 people overall.
Don Coloroso becomes Executive Director of The Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities.
The White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals 3,000 disabled people to discuss federal policy toward people with disabilities. It results in numerous recommendations and acts as a catalyst for grassroots disability rights organizing.
The National Council on Disability is established as an advisory board within the Department of Education. Its purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all people with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability, and to empower them to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.
Part B funds create ten new centers for independent living across the U.S.
The Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities serves 420 individuals.
The International Year of Disabled Persons begins. During the year, governments were encouraged to sponsor programs bringing people with disabilities into the mainstream of their societies.
The parents of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington, Indiana are advised by their doctors to decline surgery to unblock their newborn’s esophagus because the baby had Down's syndrome. Although disability rights activists try to intervene, “Baby Doe” starves to death before legal action is taken.
A group of parents of children with autism, along with the Colorado Chapter of the Autism Society of America, establish Chestor House, Inc. as a single group home housing eight people with disabilities.
John Taylor becomes Executive Director of Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities.
The Boulder County Board for Developmental Disabilities is renamed The Developmental Disabilities Center. An Adult Day Services program is established, forming the foundation of what is to become CORE/Labor Source.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 600 individuals.
The Air Carrier Access Act is implemented, which prohibits discrimination by domestic and foreign air carriers against qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities. It applies only to air carriers that provide regularly scheduled services for hire to the public. Requirements include boarding assistance and certain accessibility features in newly built aircraft and new or altered airport facilities.
The Alliance for Technology Access is founded in California by the Disabled Children’s Computer Group and the Apple Computer Office of Special Education.
Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 is passed. This piece of legislation increases access to, availability of, and funding for assistive technology through state and national initiatives.
The Developmental Disabilities Center opens the Red Balloon Daycare Center, the first local day care that integrates children with and without developmental disabilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is signed into law, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 750 individuals.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 780 individuals.
The Developmental Disabilities Center’s Early Intervention service program is renamed Dayspring.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 840 individuals.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 870 individuals.
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 900 individuals.
The Telecommunications Act passes and requires that computers, telephones, closed captioning, and many other telecommunication devices and equipment be made accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The Developmental Disabilities Center’s Out & About program is formed, providing community-based services within a therapeutic framework in response to the requests of community members with disabilities and family members who care for those with disabilities.
The Developmental Disabilities Center draws up blueprints for a new building in Lafayette.
In Olmstead v. L.C., the U.S. Supreme Court rules that unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities constitutes discrimination and violates the ADA, that individuals have a right to receive benefits in the "most integrated setting appropriate to their needs," and that failure to find community-based placements for qualifying people with disabilities is illegal discrimination.
The Developmental Disabilities Center moves from Boulder to Lafayette.
The Developmental Disabilities Center establishes an endowment with the Boulder County Community Foundation and initiates efforts to establish its very own Developmental Disabilities Center Foundation (later named The Imagine! Foundation). 
The Developmental Disabilities Center serves 1,100 individuals.
The Developmental Disabilities Center’s residential program is renamed Innovations.
The new Developmental Disabilities Foundation (later renamed The Imagine! Foundation) has a very successful first year, raising over $175,000.00 in 2001-02.
The Developmental Disabilities Center runs a very successful mill levy campaign in Boulder County, which increases the stability of services for people who live in Boulder County.
The Developmental Disabilities Center is renamed Imagine!.
Imagine! Behavioral Health Services (IBHS) is created.

A coalition of disability rights advocates and organizations holds the first Disability Pride Parade. Organizers expect 500-600 people to attend the event, which is designed to "change the way people think about and define disability, to break down and end the internalized shame among people with disabilities, and to promote the belief in society that disability is a natural and beautiful part of life." Almost 2,000 attend.

Imagine! engages in negotiations with the Mental Health Center to be the Medicaid contract entity for people with developmental disabilities who are dually diagnosed.

Imagine! serves more than 1,800 individuals.

The Road-to-Freedom tour kicks off. This 50-state bus tour and photographic exhibit chronicles the history of the grassroots "people's movement" that led to passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Imagine! creates a new “Department of Program Integrity” to include Quality Assurance functions, ethics, and corporate compliance

Mark Emery becomes Executive Director of Imagine!.

Imagine! breaks ground on its first SmartHome, the Bob and Judy Charles SmartHome in Boulder.

Imagine! breaks ground on its second SmartHome, the Charles Family SmartHome in Longmont.

Imagine! pilots “The Companion Home Model,” services to individuals (adults) living in their own homes or the homes of their family members.

Imagine! serves 2,600 individuals.

Imagine! serves 2,800 individuals.

Imagine! serves more than 2,850 people and their families.

Imagine! celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

Are you interested in sharing your story for “50 Years, 50 Stories?” If so, contact Caroline Siegfried at or 303-926-6405. We’d love to hear from you!

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