Many disability groups are marking major anniversaries

Many disability groups are marking major anniversaries

The January issue of Access Press is a time to look forward to a new decade. It is also a time to honor some of the state’s community-based disability service organizations that celebrated key anniversaries in 2019 and to look at those who will mark major dates this year. 

2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of Udac providing services for Duluth-area individuals with disabilities. In 1969, United Day Activity Center was incorporated in Duluth as one of the first organizations in the state to offer out-of-home activities for children and adults with disabilities. 

In the 1970s, changes in federal law mandated public education for all children, regardless of the nature of their disability or severity of need. That changed the nonprofit’s focus to adults. Its name was changed to United Developmental Achievement Center of Duluth, Inc (UDAC). Supportive employment began in the 1980s. A national-honored mailing program began in the 1990s and the agency changed its legal name to Udac. 

In 2018 Joseph and Nancy Bullyan gave Udac $3,000,000, allowing for a new building to house its community integration and customized employment programs. 

Options, Inc. marked 40 years’ service to Sherburne County and the Big Lake area. In 1979, the Sherburne County Developmental Achievement Center opened its doors to nine adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, in a leased space at a local church. This was the result of a group of very determined parents who knew their children could live productive, inclusive lives in their communities. 

Forty years later, Options, Inc. continues its mission to empower and support people in living and working in the mainstream of community life. The nonprofit provides a variety of services to 260 people, working with 90 business partners in 20 communities. 

In 2020, Tamarack Habilitation Technologies will turn 30 years old. The company has been trusted by healthcare professionals worldwide to help improve mobility and protect skin. Products range from the original Tamarack Flexure Joint for custom orthopedic bracing to the company’s line of skin protection products for rubbing, blisters, and decubitus ulcers or pressure sores. 

Chrestomathy will mark 35 years’ service this year. Founded in 1985, the nonprofit has expanded from its original Minneapolis location to Eden Prairie and Dakota County sites. Chrestomathy provides day training and habilitation services, with a focus on individually tailored client plans and staff ratios to ensure success for those with complex needs. 

Vinland National Center will mark 30 years of operations in 2020. Since 1990, Vinland has provided drug and alcohol addiction treatment for people with cognitive disabilities. It was the first center in the country to design a treatment program to meet the unique needs of individuals living with brain injuries. It also has a strong focus on helping people with mental illness, learning disabilities, and/ or other cognitive disabilities, with its comprehensive approach to treatment. 

Vinland is based in Loretto and Minneapolis. 

One of the biggest upcoming anniversaries is the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, which will mark 135 years’ service in 2020. 

Have a major anniversary coming up in 2020? Contact Access Press Managing Editor Jane McClure at jane@accesspress. org or 651-644-2133. 


The History Note is a monthly column sponsored by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Partners in Policy Making