Providence Center, a non-profit organization that serves adults with developmental disabilities, will celebrate its golden anniversary with an evening honoring the organization’s first 50 years while also looking forward to its next 50. Providence Center’s 50th anniversary celebration will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2011, at Chartwell Country and Golf Club in Severna Park.
Providence Center was started in 1961 by several families and educators from the Anne Arundel County area that wanted better treatment and educational options for their children with developmental disabilities rather than simply institutionalizing them as was the common practice of the time. They included: Barbara Augustine, Betty Sadowski, Lorraine Bothe, Peggy and Thomas Baldwin, and Katherine Wilcox. They hired staff to work at the center, which was located in a home donated by the Baldwin family, and transported the seven enrolled children to and from in a van. The goal was to advance their abilities as much as possible while motivating them to achieve what they wanted in life.
Following the passage of the 1975 federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, public schools were required to provide special education for children with disabilities until age 21. At that time, Providence Center shifted its mission to serve adults with developmental disabilities.
Today Providence Center serves nearly 500 adults at five facilities throughout Anne Arundel County. Clients learn important skills and are guided to be fully-participating citizens of the world. Through its supported employment program, Providence Center individuals work in jobs, learn careers and trades, and pay taxes on their earnings. Providence Center also offers unique programs such as a Pottery Studio, Woodshop, Horticulture Greenhouse and Gardens, and a comprehensive Art Institute. Products produced by Providence Center individuals are sold in many retail outlets such as Whole Foods Annapolis and Homestead Gardens and proceeds directly benefit the individuals and programs and services. Other programs include enriching activity programs for those with medical needs, as well as a Seniors program.
“Fifty years ago, people with developmental disabilities were not given much hope and their futures were uncertain outside of institutions and sheltered workshops,” said Chuck Coble, Providence Center Executive Director. “Today the nearly 500 adults that we serve, as well as the thousands we have served over the years, can not only dream but achieve their dreams as well. The mission of Providence Center has always been to provide the best service so that lives are improved and greater independence is possible.”
At the 50th anniversary celebration, Providence Center will present Thomas (Tommy) Baldwin with its Founders Award. Baldwin, who works in the Center’s Woodshop, was one of the original children that Providence Center was founded to serve.
“We started what is now Providence Center because we wanted what every parent wants: the best for their children,” founder Peggy Baldwin said. “My husband and I are so proud of what it has become and the promise it offers to those who attend. The world has opened up to my child and all of those with developmental disabilities because of the important work of Providence Center.”
Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information, contact Aimee Bullen in the Development Office at (410)766-2212 ext. 110 or at [email protected].