70 Years

Rooted in the Community

Thank you to all who have been and continue to be a part of The Arc NCR’s mission. Whether past or present, an employee or community member, more lives have been impacted through this organization than can be shared.

Celebrate this milestone with us.

It all started back in January of 1953. Gas was 28 cents per gallon. Color television sets went on sale for the first time, and 71% of all television sets across the country tuned in to watch, “I Love Lucy.” This was also the time where the Civil Rights movement was gaining traction in America and beginning to grow. But, behind the scenes, these were the times of institutionalization. People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities were institutionalized as a normal thing to do, and they were largely hidden from view. The stigma around disabilities was detrimental and suffocating for both those with disabilities and their families.

The “normal” of 1953 is far from what it is today, but 10 families stood against that “normal” as it was not good enough for their children, and so they decided to make a change. On January 23, 1953, the organization now known as The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region was formed and began to empower people with differing abilities to live, work and thrive in the community.

Today, as The Arc NCR has been rooted in this community for 70 years, it is also important to see how the organization has helped to root those with differing abilities in this community. From helping parents and Treatment Foster Care parents navigate and plan for their children to have the best life possible, to adults landing their first job and finding a home of their own, these supports help people with differing abilities also be rooted in their community. A community where we are all included and have the opportunity to live a personally valued life.

Live. Work. Thrive.

The vision for people with differing abilities to live in the community began with funding for a residential center in 1968. Land was bequeathed by a family receiving support from the agency in 1972, and a ground-breaking ceremony for group homes and an activity center, known as Brook Forest, took place in 1976. Today, The Arc NCR’s Community Living program serves over 90 people and over 30 homes throughout the community.

Employment was a goal early on for our founding families. In 1965, a sheltered workshop was created in a private home in Havre de Grace, producing rubber doormats. Today, The Arc NCR’s Employment Services program supports over 175 people and 62 employment partnerships across the community. Additionally, The Arc NCR’s partnership with DORS supports over 160 people.

After getting the basics in place, empowering people to live and work in the community, people began to thrive — expanding their horizons. In 1988, People First, an advocacy group was formed to engage in the community and over the following years, the remainder of The Arc NCR’s programs began; Community Partners, Family Support Services, Personal Supports and Treatment Foster Care. Learn about our services through the services tab in the website menu.

Milestones through the Decades

Click a decade below to learn about what was happening at that time.

Our organization, now known as The Arc NCR, is established by a group of parents seeking educational and vocational opportunities for their children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The original name of our organization is The Northern Maryland Association for Retarded Citizens (NMARC).  

The first meeting was held at the Bodts’ home in Otter Point. 

Har-Haven School, the first school for children with disabilities, is founded. The school is held in Havre de Grace Baptist Church for 12 children.  Claire Gray is the School Director.   

The group joins The National Association for Retarded Children. 

Har-Haven School is incorporated into the public-school system, later to become John Archer School (renamed to Harford Academy at Campus Hills in 2022).   
President Dwight Eisenhower declared the first National Children’s Week. 

An application is made by the agency for a sheltered workshop. A sheltered workshop refers to an organization that employs people with disabilities separately from others and pays sub-minimum wages. The agency joins The Maryland Association for Retarded Children. 

Bill #221 passes which permits school attendance to age twenty-one. 
Harford County day care is established. 

The first summer camp is at Emmorton Special School.   

Religious classes and scouting is started by the agency. 

The sheltered workshop, called NMARC Industries, is started in a private home in Havre de Grace. The first product is rubber doormats.   

The Maryland Trust for Retarded Citizens is conceived as an offshoot of NMARC, which provided support for the lifetime of a person, when parents are unable to provide care. 

NMARC Industries, the sheltered workshop, is moved to the Aberdeen Municipal Building.  
Cecil County starts their first activity center. 

The first county funding is given for the sheltered workshop.  The first supervisor is hired.   
In December, the winter recreation program is started and a Director is hired for this program.    

The first funding for the residential center is received on July 10, 1968. 

Cecil County families “break away” to form their own association.   
The first vocational rehab, DOR’s, is funded. 
A workshop director is hired. 

The first vocational evaluator is hired. 

In November, the Work Activity Center is state approved. The Work Activity Center is a training center for individuals with disabilities to help develop skills that would aide in finding outside employment. 

The Work Activity Center is opened as a program of the sheltered workshop, NMARC Industries. 

In April, fifty acres was bequeathed to NMARC by a family of someone the agency supported, for group homes and an activity center, later known as “Brook Forest.” 

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, also referred to as the Civil Rights Act for Handicapped Individuals, provides protection with regard to employment, accessibility, education; and health, welfare and social services. 

The Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act mandates that each state establish a state protection and advocacy agency. 
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures that all children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. 

Groundbreaking ceremony for Brook Forest takes place. 

Colonel Robert McEvoy is the Executive Director. 

The Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments provides comprehensive services focusing on independent living and a revised definition of developmental disability.  

The month of March becomes Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, designated by The Arc US and The Advertising Council. 

NMARC seeks a waiver to use federal dollars for construction of a community home. 

Five individuals from NMARC repair autos at Gulf Station. 

House Bill #662, which redefines habilitation, moves towards de-institutionalization.  

Richard Blair is the Executive Director. 

The Planning Committee presents a 5-year plan to the Governing Board for NMARC Industries. 

Vocational news: The annual customer billings total $61,000, annual client payroll is $31,000, floor space occupied is 5,300 sq. ft., the largest contract is Murray Corporation (packaging and assembling car parts), and the janitorial crews clean 3 sites occupying 12,000 sq. ft. weekly. 

The Developmental Disabilities Act established the concept of supported employment, independence, work and community integration. 

The Habilitation Amendments Act of 1984 establishes the client assistance program. 

John Archer School has four graduates to NMARC’s Training Program, known as the Work Activity Center.   

There are two graduates of the Work Activity Center training program. 

Janitorial services secured the contract for the Mary E.W. Risteau District Court and Multi-Purpose Center. 

Bob Hockaday organizes the first job development resulting in individual placement at the U.S. Postal Service. 

NMARC purchases the Granary Road facility in Forest Hill. 

NMARC moves to Forest Hill.  There is a dedication of NMARC’s new building at 501 Granary Road. 

The first work group placement is held at Marriott Travel Plaza. 

NMARC introduces “Family Support Services” for families with children under the age of 21. 

Harold Lootens is President of the Governing Board. 

The Fair Housing Amendments Act provides stiffer penalties for discrimination and expands the coverage to individuals with disabilities and families with children. 

NMARC submits the request for state funds to renovate the lower level of the facility.   

NMARC buys an agency van to be used for the janitorial crew. 

People First of Harford County is formed. People First is a self-advocacy group comprised of individuals with learning difficulties, people with intellectual disabilities, people with developmental disabilities and/or people with disabilities who speak up for themselves and work to improve the lives of their members. 

The Residential Services Program provides services to 50 individuals and opened 3 new Assisted Living Units (ALU’s) in the community. 

The Bel Air New Car Dealers sponsor NMARC’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament. 

Vocational News: The annual customer billings total $260,000, annual client payroll is $115,000, floor space occupied is 14,000 sq. ft., the largest contract is Risteau/District Courthouse at $84,000, and the janitorial crews clean 18 sites occupying 500,000 sq. ft. weekly. 

Transitioning youth funding through the state is approved and NMARC accepts first transitioning youths.  A transitioning youth is a student with a disability who is three years from graduating high school.  It is when the individual, along with family members, the school system, and service providers, begins to plan for life after high school. ​ 

Tim Quinn is the Executive Director. 

President Bush signs the American with Disabilities Act on July 26, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, public services, transportation, and telecommunications. 

Richard Kolchin is President of the Governing Board.  

In July, The Work Activity Center merged with the NMARC Industries’ sheltered workshop. 

In January, Job Coaches move to NMARC. 

NMARC Industries share “Top Honors” at the Annual Awards Banquet of Harford Community on Employment of People with Disabilities.   

“Reruns Thrift Store” is named and opens its doors for business. Reruns Thrift Store sold apparel and other home items that were donated by Merry-Go-Round retail chains when their operations closed.  Reruns Thrift Store is owned by NMARC, employs supported individuals, and proceeds go directly back to supporting individuals within the organization.   

“Person centered” planning program begins. 

NMARC’s five-year plan includes opportunities for children with disabilities.  

NMARC celebrates its 40th anniversary. 

NMARC Industries is recognized by the Harford County Department of Economics Development and the Chamber of Commerce as an outstanding business for contributions to employment.  

Lorraine Bergkvist is President of the Governing Board.  

Following the lead of The Arc of the United States, 150 local and state chapters by July had changed their names from Association for Retarded Citizens to The Arc.  NMARC changes its name to The Arc of Harford County. 

Vocational Services works with DORS to access services for people with low or no vision.  Eleven folks that receive services of The Arc of Harford County apply. 

Money Magazine ranks The Arc US as the fifth of thirty-two organizations in the social services category with 87.9% of its funds spent directly on programs and services.  

“Teens First” meets for the first time in August. Teens First is a self-advocacy group for teenagers with disabilities.   

The janitorial crew has been providing janitorial services at the Mary Risteau building for 10 years. 

NCE honors Tim Quinn, The Arc of Harford County’s Executive Director, for outstanding professional achievement for inclusive programs. NCE is a professional development program for staff of all chapters of The Arc. 

Kelly McElwain is President of the Governing Board.  

The Governing Board votes to discontinue sheltered employment at NMARC Industries.  

New jobs are created; 5 at McCormick & Company, 12 at Warner Brothers and 5 at Frito Lay. 

The Arc of Harford County introduces the theme, “Rising to the Challenge.” 

Reruns North East Thrift Store opens in January. 

The Arc of Harford County provides job placement and training services to people on the job. 

The Arc of Harford County introduces the theme, “The Power of Stories.” 

Jeffrey Foucault is President of the Governing Board. 

The Arc of Harford County introduces the theme, “Building Bridges.” 

The membership of The Arc of Harford County votes to change the name of the agency to The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region (The Arc NCR).  2023 is the 25th anniversary of the agency’s name change. 

Major Jesse Bane is President of the Governing Board. 

The Arc NCR administrative offices experience a devastating electrical fire in March.  The administrative offices move to the O’Neill Building in the Forest Hill Business Park for a four-month period. 

The administrative offices move from Forest Hill to the newly renovated offices in July. 

The majority of vocational services move to the administrative offices in September. 

Transportation, Meaningful Day, and Janitorial Services remain at the old site of the sheltered workshop, formerly known as NMARC Industries. 

The Arc NCR hosts its first Cecil County golf tournament at Chantilly Manor in Rising Sun. 

The Arc NCR wins the 1999 MACS “Innovation Award.” 

The Arc NCR introduces the theme, “Focusing on the Future.” 

The Arc NCR forms a Futuring Committee. 

Accelerating onto the world’s “information superhighway’, The Arc NCR acquires an Internet address and its own homepage on the worldwide web. 

The Arc holds a membership meeting in February to discuss the following: 

  • Direct Care Campaign – goal is to bring staff wages up to $9.50 for direct support to be competitive with other similar human service wages. 
  • Futuring Committee – addresses future issues and scenarios and how people we employ and support will be affected in the new millennium. 

The Arc NCR implements MANO’s Standards of Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. 

The former site of NMARC Industries officially closes its doors as a sheltered workshop and begins a community based program. 

The Treatment Foster Care (TFC) program opens to assist children with disabilities in finding a safe, supportive foster care home. 

Nancy McKee is President of the Governing Board.  

The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region’s Foundation and its supporting Foundation Board is established. The first Chair of the Foundation Board is Ken Kozel. 

The organization is now in the preliminary stages of a capital campaign to fund the construction of a new building as well as renovate existing office space, a project of 21,000 square feet.  The project will cost a total of $2.78 million, of which $1.47 million in matching funds will be provided by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for FY 2003 and will be available in July 2002. 

Patricia Ourednik is President of the Governing Board. 

Psychological Support Services begins at The Arc NCR. 

Michele Stutzer is President of the Governing Board. 

Home and community based services become a formal state plan. 

Ray Maskell is the Chair of the Foundation Board. 

Patrick Neary is the President of the Governing Board. 

The state of Maryland announces the closure of the Rosewood Center, an institution for people with developmental disabilities.  The Arc NCR begins accepting individuals from Rosewood Center. 

Rosewood Center officially closes its doors. 

Sandra Kyle is the President of the Governing Board. 

In January, Tim Quinn, The Arc NCR’s Executive Director of nearly 20 years, passes away. 

Rosa’s Law” becomes a federal law.  The law removes the terms “mental retardation” and “mentally retarded” from federal health, education and labor policy and replaces them with People First language “individual with an intellectual disability” and “intellectual disability.” 

Mark Dardozzi is Chair of the Foundation Board.  

In August, Shawn Kros becomes the Executive Director/CEO of The Arc NCR. 

Nancy Brugh is the President of the Governing Board.  

Gary Stokes is the President of the Governing Board.  

Brad Stover is Chair of the Foundation Board. 

The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act passes in to federal law.  The ABLE Act allows for the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Millions of individuals with disabilities depend on a wide variety of public benefits for income, health care and food and housing assistance. Eligibility for these public benefits require meeting a means or resource test that limits eligibility to individuals to report more than $2,000 in cash savings, retirement funds and other items of significant value. To remain eligible for these public benefits, an individual must remain poor. The ABLE Act recognizes the extra and significant costs of living with a disability.  These tax-advantaged savings accounts can be used to cover qualified disability expenses such as, but not limited to, education, housing and transportation not covered by insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.  

The Ethan Saylor Alliance was passed and was aimed at providing increased training for members of law enforcement and other public service entities on specific needs of those with developmental and intellectual disabilities. 

The ABLE Act passes into state law. 

The Arc NCR receives the “Provider of the Year” award from Maryland Works. 

The ABLE Act is open for families and individuals to begin participating. 

Brad Stover is President of the Governing Board.  

Kathy Proctor is Chair of the Foundation Board. 

The Arc NCR receives the Moving Mountains award by the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP).

The Arc NCR purchases a home in the Aberdeen community and renovates it to be the first fully accessible home owned by the agency. The Dresher Foundation helps fund the majority of costs to purchase and renovate it. 

The Arc NCR receives the first ever Andy Klein Legacy Award from the Harford County Chamber of Commerce.

In March, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spreads across the globe. All The Arc NCR’s services, except for Community Living and medically essential supports in Personal Supports, are temporarily closed.  Nonessential services were ordered to remain closed by the state of Maryland. Restrictions would only begin to lift starting in May 2020. The agency adapted to be able to continue providing support to people, including providing virtual supports. The Arc NCR would continue to deal with the impact of the pandemic for the next several years, including continued closures and reopening, adjusting supports, and bringing people back into services. 

The Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, formally recognizes Direct Support Professionals as essential workers during the pandemic. 

An internal Social Justice Committee is formed to provide a safe space to discuss and learn pressing cultural issues related to social justice and inequity. The committee also allows team members to learn from other backgrounds and cultures, as well as better support one another while continuing to focus on the mission of The Arc NCR. 

Jeff Rink is President of the Governing Board.

The Arc NCR celebrates its 70th anniversary!

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