The Arc – Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties began in 1960 with a meeting of local parents of children with developmental disabilities. These parents wanted to create opportunities to raise their children at home instead of institutions, for their children to have access to education, and for their children to be valued in the community. From that initial meeting, the parents voted to form an affiliated chapter of the National Association for R* Children. We were granted 501(c)(3) status in 1961 and finalized our incorporation in 1963. Over the years we have gone through numerous name changes, especially as the stigma of the r-word increased. In 2011, our members voted to change our name to “The Arc – Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties” aligning with the naming standards of our national affiliate.
For nearly 50 years, the core values of our founding members have continued to inform all of our organization’s activities. We have promoted reform in schools, the workplace, residential life, and in the broader community, all with the intent to promote independence and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. The Arc – Jefferson, Clear Creek & Gilpin Counties promotes inclusion for people with developmental disabilities through advocacy, education, resources, community-building, policy change, and family support. We serve individuals of all ages who reside in Jefferson, Clear Creek and Gilpin Counties. We assist individuals and their caregivers with issues related to education, health care, residential options, employment, legal concerns, and systems navigation, as well as social, recreational, and religious inclusion.
*Editor’s Note: Much has changed since The Arc in Jefferson County began its journey 50 years ago, including the language that we use to describe people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Though we deeply believe in the use of People First language today, it was unheard of all those years ago. In the context of the articles below you will find that we have made some modifications to the language used. The words “retarded” and “retardation” are completely unacceptable today and have been replaced in the text by the use of “r*”.