In 1969 The Oregon State legislature took a giant step forward in recognizing the right to dignity and respect for individuals with developmental disabilities and closed the now infamous Fairview Training Center and decided that those individuals would be better served in alternative settings. At that time there were approximately 2300 individuals who met the definition of developmentally disabled.
In 1970 John and Willa Alvord embraced the vision of helping adults with developmental disabilities live more fulfilling lives and opened their first group home.
Fifty-two years later the almost 200 employees of Alvord-Taylor, Inc. remain committed to that vision which we have incorporated into our vision and mission of creating a vibrant community for all people and a spirit of endless possibilities- one person at a time.
The journey has not been an easy one. When I speak of what we do to others like myself who come from outside the DD community I describe it as physically, emotionally, and psychologically demanding.
Like other agencies in our field we never close. We provide support to those we serve on a 24-hour, seven (7) day per week, and 365 day per year basis.
People who embrace this work do so with a clear idea of what noted author Simon Sinek describes as our “WHY”. You don’t do it for the money, the field is not valued consistent with the importance of the work done here or for the glory. The work can be exhausting. You do it because you care.
The last few years have not been without challenges, but we have also achieved some major milestones of which everyone associated with the organization should be very proud.
We will continue to fulfill that vision, longer term not only working in support of the Developmentally Disabled community, but also collaborating with other organizations to address the challenges faced by other marginalized groups like the unhoused, people who have paid their debt to society and are trying to reintegrate and others.
We are proud to be inclusive. At Alvord-Taylor all means all in terms of both the population we serve and the staff who serve them. People have the freedom to express themselves and live their best lives without regard to the labels and barriers we might see in other parts of our society.
Many who are drawn to this work have suffered trauma or injury themselves be it physical, emotional, or both so they know the importance of compassion and inclusion and the opportunity to be part of a community with a shared vision and values.
It has been my privilege to lead the organization for the last five (5) years and I continue to remain humbled by the commitment and dedication that each of our staff display on a daily basis.
I suspect that like me, whether your association with this organization is long or short your view of people, inclusion, respect, and dignity will be forever changed and that is something to be grateful for as we each fulfill our own personal journey.
The road ahead of us is still going to have some potholes and challenges, but when we hit those let’s take a minute to look at how for we have come and keep our eyes focused on the endless possibilities we can continue to explore.
We are capable. We are strong. We are committed…….