Heritage and Achievements
On June 30, 2010, our agency began a new chapter in our distinguished history. CARC will change its name to become "Envision Unlimited."
CARC--or formally the "Chicago Association for Retarded Children," formed in 1964 from the merger of three small organizations. These "three organizations" were essentially three groups of parents who banded together with a goal and a dream. Their goal was to create educational programs for their children with developmental disabilities.
This was no small task.
Until 1975, special education was not mandated; singular school districts decided if they would offer this service. At the time when CARC formed, 4 out of 5 school districts chose not to provide special education. Working together, the goal of the families was realized. Their dream was that children with special needs were not forced to attend private scholastic programs; but rather, they could simply go to the same schools as their non-disabled peers. While it would take 50 years, this dream was achieved as well.
There have been many extraordinary developments since CARC formed. Today, virtually all children with special needs attend public schools. Today, most adults do not spend their lifetimes in institutions but reside in the community in small group homes or apartments. Today, many men and women have "regular" jobs within the neighborhoods in which they live. The families who united to found CARC would most likely be astonished to see the fruits of their labors.
Yet there is much work to do and the agency's most important days are still before us.
The name change to "Envision" is cause for enthusiasm. Our immediate goal is to divest ourselves from the word "retarded"—a word which conveys a disparaging connotation and is in no way reflective of the dignity, diligence and abilities of the individuals we support. The "R" word conjures images of the discrimination that was often imposed on persons with developmental disabilities in the past. We believe "Envision" speaks of brighter futures– of hope, possibilities and innovation—and most importantly, articulates the inherent promise carried by each and every one of the 1,500 people in our programs.
"Envision" will continue to provide the highest quality services to persons with developmental disabilities that promote choice, independence and community integration…and do so with a name that inspires self-esteem and respect.
As of June 30, 2010, CARC becomes "Envision." We are the same strong agency and we remain the primary structure of support for more than 1,500 of Chicago's most vulnerable citizens. We stride confidently into this exciting new era with the self-confidence and knowledge accrued through a 45-year history of responsive service.
Envision is a responsive, successful agency with numerous major achievements. Organizationally, we have received the highest possible accreditation scores from the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in ten consecutive surveys in a time-span traversing 30 years. Envision has been honored as The Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities' (IARF) "Agency of the Year." Further, several of Envision's consumers, staff and board members have received many awards for excellence, including:
Northwestern Mutual Foundation National Community Service Award
IARF's William M. Schneider Achievement Award
Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Program
AAIDD–Illinois Chapter's Direct-Service Professional Award
Kohl/McCormick Early Childhood Teaching Award,
Illinois ARC's Volunteer of the Year Award
Gubernatorial appointment to the Illinois Disability Services Advisory Committee.