The Arc of Allegan County was originally formed by 25 parents led by William Billings and Franklin Douglas in 1956. In 1957 we received official recognition from the IRS as a 501-(C)3 charitable organization.
The original programs and services were designed to help their children through a parent funded school program and later a sheltered workshop on Babylon Rd. and River Avenue in Allegan originally named “Precious Acres”. Services included education, work experience and social-recreational activities. These programs served children and adults from all over Allegan County.
In the 1970’s, The Arc of the United States worked diligently to pass one of the first and most comprehensive mandatory special education laws in the country, PA94-142, which is known today as .
The Arc members then worked to pass one of the first countywide millages for special education services and in 1974 The Allegan Intermediate School District (now AAESA) opened The Allegan County Development Center (Now called Hillside). Later The Arc hired its 1st part time director, began to receive United Way funding and participated in the start of the Special Olympics in Allegan County. The Arc helped start the Sunset House group home on land that it owned and later expanded its social programs to include annual vacation trips.
Today The Arc of Allegan County is located in downtown Allegan at 219 Hubbard St. and provides education, advocacy and services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
We have changed much over the last 50 years but our mission and our commitment remains the same -- to serve the new generations of children and adults with disabilities and their families.