History

The ARC Imperial Valley is a leading nonprofit corporation in the Imperial Valley. The Imperial Valley is located in the south eastern deserts of California with San Diego to the west, Yuma to east, the Coachella Valley to the north and Mexico to the South. Although a desert, the Imperial Valley is a major agricultural area irrigated by the Colorado River through the All American Canal and related canal systems.

The Imperial Valley is made up of a number of communities. The largest city is El Centro, followed by Calexico and then Brawley. The population is approximately 160,000 people.

The local grassroots movement which later formed the ARC Imperial Valley began in 1963 when a group of concerned parents met to discuss the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities. With the growing involvement and enthusiasm of more individuals and favorable public policy, the formal organization which later became the ARC Imperial Valley incorporated in 1973. Known as the Imperial Valley Association for the Retarded, the service provider component of the ARC was established with 20 program participants.

The first ten years of the Imperial Valley Association of the Retarded was marked by steady growth. This included the opening of residential facilities in 1984, the vendorization of a small transportation department in 1985, the expansion of the existing of the existing work activity center in 1986, and the creation of an adult development center. An important event also occurred in the early 1980’s, the Imperial Valley Association for the Retarded change its name to the Association for Retarded Citizens Imperial Valley joining hundreds of affiliated organizations throughout the United States.

Through the late 80’s and early 90’s, the emergence of the ARC Imperial Valley as a leading non profit in the Imperial Valley continued. ARC Industries, which had recently been accredited by CARF, received its first JWOD contract with the Navy Air Facility close to the town of Seeley in 1988. The Agency’s activity center known as the Transition Unit was also opened as was the Agency’s recycling center. These times were filled with opportunities and a number of significant challenges to overcome.

In 1992, the Agency was awarded its first GSA contract through the JWOD program to provide janitorial and lawn maintenance services for the Calexico Port of Entry (West). In 1994, Transportation added the AIM and Med Express to it contracts. This was a major turning point in the Agency’s ability to provide services to individuals with disabilities that were not specifically intellectual and to expand the visibility of the Agency in all areas of the Imperial Valley. It also marks the year that the Agency’s first aid and CPR training program included referral services to create the HEART Unit. In 1999, the Association for Retarded Citizens changed its name to the ARC Imperial Valley reflecting a growing national trend in which individuals in our programs provide significant input as to how they will be served. The name change was program participant driven.

In 2000, the El Centro and Imperial Dial A Ride services were added and the first fully accessible home is built for Agency’s residential program in the city of Imperial. In 2002 a second accessible home is built. After a number of years of saving, the Agency built a 22,000 square feet facility on 5 acres in the City of El Centro to house the majority of the Agency’s operations. In 2004, the ARC Imperial Valley was nominated as a Center of Excellence by NISH. The Westshore Dial A ride was added in 2006 and over $2.6 million dollars has been awarded to the Agency in 11 consecutive FTA section 13 grants for the transportation department. As 2007 came to an end, the ARC was accredited by CARF with Governance Standards Applied making the ARC Imperial Valley one of the few agencies having this distinction in the State. As 2008 began over 160 employees provide round the clock service to the various ARC activities and over 2000 individuals per month received ARC services.

Helping Mentally and Physically Challenged People Achieve their Potential

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