In an era of social change, the 1950s and early 1960s saw the rise of a national parents’ movement demanding civil rights for children with disabilities.
Dr. Gunnar Dybwad (1909-2001), prominent and early advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, noted how “disability” is a natural part of the human condition. He framed intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) as a civil rights issue rather than a medical or social work problem. As he once stated, “There will always be people who are treated unequally because they are perceived as different.”
In 1962, a group of Venice area parents joined the growing national parents’ movement and sought to be the dominant voice in our community and advocate for educational and community services for their children; therefore, establishing the South County Association for Retarded Children, Inc., now known as the Loveland Center.
1983 – The Lovelanders, a nonprofit group consisting of parents, caregivers, friends, and community support is established to fundraise, provide social events for students, and volunteers to help Loveland Center.
2010 – Loveland Follies receives three International Community Theater awards.
2014 – Loveland breaks ground and begins construction of the residences.
2015 – Loveland introduces a new, multi-sensory room in Phase II.
2016 – In June, residents move into the Nancy Detert Residences at Loveland Village.
Carl Penxa announces his retirement. Daniela Koci steps in as new CEO.
2017 – Loveland Center celebrates its 55th Anniversary with a Gala – “Emerald Nights: Celebrating the Past and Ensuring the Future.”
Launch of the Hearty Kitchen Academy.
Loveland Center welcomes a new President and CEO, Patrick Guerin III.
“Equality Through Opportunity” sets the tone for the future of Loveland.
2018 – Loveland Center opens a new Adult Day Training program in the North Port Family Services Center.
2019 – Loveland Center transitions the ARC of Charlotte County’s Adult Day Training program to a Loveland Center program. This program located in Port Charlotte becomes the third Adult Day Training program operated by Loveland Center.
The HERO program an after hours program for kids 4-18 years of age opens.
For more than 58 years, Loveland Center has been an agent for change, fostering a social agenda aimed at destigmatizing and normalizing how our community views the population we serve.
Today, Loveland Center continues its quest to bring visibility and opportunity not only for our participants at Loveland, but for those in our surrounding communities.
Loveland’s programs provide various services that enable individuals the opportunities to discover untapped potential, build self-confidence, and further develop skill sets that allow for increased independence – creating the platform to advocate for themselves. Through self-advocacy, individuals are empowered to become a part of their community and not be apart from it.