Due to the weather, the ODC is will be operating on a delay and opening at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 16

This year marks the 70th anniversary of The Occupational Development Center. The year-long anniversary celebration will include a number of landmark events and initiatives honoring the rich history of our organization.

The ODC provides high quality vocational training and employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It seeks to transition participants to supported employment throughout the community, and is the oldest facility of its kind in Pennsylvania.

“The work we do at the ODC has never been more in the spotlight than it is today, “says Executive Director Gregg Richards. “Employment services for individuals with developmental disabilities are expanding and changing. The ODC is expanding and changing as well. Change is inevitable. Change is good. But the one thing that will never change at the ODC is that we will continue to provide the highest quality service for each individual we serve and help them become the greatest version of themselves as possible.”

Originally called the “Help Self School” and “Child Development Center,” the ODC was founded in 1948 by Olivia Stoner and Marian Headrick, both of whom had family members with developmental disabilities.  For its first decade, the Center, which began with just two students, functioned primarily as a special education school for children. In 1958, the Center began to focus more on vocational training and employment for those graduating from area schools. We will be sharing some of these stories here on our blog throughout the year.

The anniversary celebration year will include opportunities for serving, special donor opportunities, an exciting new Food Truck event, and the presentation of the inaugural Stoner Award to area businesses and individuals.

Among the events and initiatives scheduled for this year are:

  • 70 Acts of Service – Our participants will be going out into the community to volunteer at area businesses and organizations to thank them for making our community great.
  • First Annual ODC Food Truck Fest at Stauffer Park – On September 29th we will be partnering with the Manheim Township Recreation and Park Planning Commission to host a Food Truck fundraising event. The event will include food trucks, entertainment, and more. Details will be announced later this year.
  • The $70 Challenge – In conjunction with our year-end annual appeal and the Lancaster County Community Foundation’s Extraordinary Give, we will be challenging our donors to give at least $70 (or increase their previous giving by $70) in honor of our anniversary. Those who give will be honored on a special anniversary wall in our building.
  • The Olivia S. Stoner Award – This will be the inaugural year for this new annual award. Two awards will be given: one to a business, and another to an individual, recognizing those who embody the spirit and mission of the ODC and Mrs. Stoner, who not only co-found the ODC, but was active in its operation for more than three decades.

Other events and initiatives will also be added throughout the year.