President's Message - "What is KCARC For Life?"
Recently I was asked, “What is KCARC For Life ?” The individual who posed the question indicated that she had seen KCARC For LIfe printed in multiple locations and venues. She wondered what is that and what does it mean, how is it a part of people’s lives?
Many years ago, it occurred to me that KCARC was important in the lives of people with disabilities and their families at different stages. The Civitan Children’s Center is well known in the Knox County community and it has been providing early childhood programs since 1972. Currently it is located at the corner of Washington Avenue and St. Clair Street in Vincennes and has been there since 1987. It was the first early childhood development program in the state of Indiana to be fully integrated with children with disabilities and those who are typically developing. KCARC’s residential programs have been around since 1974. KCARC’s Manufacturing operations have been around since 1976, although Opportunity Industries, the first sheltered workshop, began in 1972. These various programs have served kids from infancy to 6 years of age and then post high school through the remaining years of their lives. As I pondered what KCARC does, it occurred to me that KCARC is an important place in the life of people with disabilities and their families. More, it seems that KCARC is a major factor in how people live their life and where they go for structure, program, purpose, fun, employment, education, developmental progress, enjoyment, support, shelter, and assistance. As I contemplated what all of this might mean, it appears that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Notice please, in the previous paragraph I failed to mention people who are employees at KCARC. KCARC is now institutional in the Knox County community. It is a stable, successful, integral part of the Knox County Community. Not only do individuals with disabilities and their families benefit from KCARC, but so do the employees and their families. Personally, I have been KCARC’s President for 46 plus years. That is a lifetime of labor and as such, KCARC For LIfe has meant a means to support my family, my church and many worthwhile organizations that are part of the fabric of our community. KCARC For Life means different things to different people. Most of all, it conveys dignity and respect for others. This is manifested in the KCARC mission statement which is: To advocate and provide opportunities in a dignified and respectful manner for the total well-being of individuals and families with special needs.
So when you see KCARC For Life someplace, hopefully you will think of individuals with disabilities and their families receiving help for their particular place in life and you will think of a stable organization employing over 400 people, which is an economic asset to our community. KCARC is a special place in the lives of many.