Coarc was established in 1965 by a group of concerned parents in whose children had disabilities. These parents believed that every child deserved a healthy, happy, productive life, but at that time there was no organization or agency in Columbia County, NY, that offered services or programs for children with disabilities. This parent group established themselves as the Columbia County Association for Retarded Children and received an official charter from NYSARC, Inc., the state association, on May 5, 1965.
From this beginning of a few employees serving four individuals with disabilities, the parents worked together to ensure that their children would have the opportunity to grow and reach their maximum potential in life and in the community.
Highlights of 45 Years of Coarc success:
- Camp Mahican, a summer day camp established in 1966, is currently a four-week program serving children with disabilities from ages six to sixteen.
- The Community Workshop, now known as The Training Center, opened in Hudson in 1971, moved to Mellenville in 1976, and currently employs over 150 individuals in Coarc Contract Manufacturing molding, packaging, assembly, sewing, and decoration jobs.
- Community Residences were established to fulfill a variety of individual needs. The first home opened in Hudson in 1976 and the thirteenth opened in Claverack in 2008. Since 1985, the apartment program has offered residential choices for more independent individuals.
- Promenade Hill Center, a day activity program, opened in 1981 and expanded in 1997; Evergreen Hall opened in 1987, and then relocated to a larger space in 2003. Dove Hall, Cardinal Hall, Falcon Hall and Blended Services also offer day programs.
- The Early Intervention Program (children's services) was established in 1983 and evolved into The Starting Place in 1994, providing home-based and center-based care for children. The program also offers universal pre-kindergarten classes and day care.
- Injection molding machines arrived at Coarc to ensure a steady supply of assembly work for employees. Coarc Contract Manufacturing has achieved the ISO 9001-2008 certification, making Coarc one of only a few nonprofit agencies in the nation to be accredited with the International Standards Organization (ISO) in manufacturing.
Coarc is a strong advocate for the rights of individuals experiencing disabilities, an activist for changes to legislation and public policy, and a developer of programs and services for individuals who are underserved.
As the second largest nonprofit organization in Columbia County, Coarc has grown to one of the county's largest employers. Over 400 full- and part-time employees work to provide a vast array of programs and services that benefit more than 500 individuals experiencing developmentaldisabilities.
Coarc is the Columbia County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., the largest not-for-profit organization serving people who have developmental disabilities and their families.