This year NCC celebrates its 65th Anniversary.
As we reflect on the current national and global state of affairs, we are reminded how fortunate we are - not only to be fully operational, but also to have staff, partners and supporters still fully committed to actualizing our vision. Indulge us as we reflect on our roots, celebrate our progress and enthusiastically chart our path forward.
The National Children’s Center, Inc. (NCC) was founded in 1958 by Hyman S. Paper and a small group of local citizens. It was called the Jewish Foundation for Retarded Children. These visionary leaders recognized the need for an organization that would provide community-based services for children with special needs and their families.
In 1970, the organization changed its name to National Children’s Center, Inc. (NCC) to better reflect its expanding mission, vision and values. Today, with the guiding principles of inclusion, compassion and empowerment, NCC supports children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, grow and thrive in their community through our Early Learning And Early Intervention Center (ELC) and Adult Community Support Services.
NCC continues to broaden its reach as an organization by creating new and expanded programs, including Vocational Day Services, Residential Programs, Baby Bloomers Urban Farm & Fruit Orchard and other home and community-based services. Since inception, these personalized services have benefited thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing educational development and life skills that have led to empowerment, employment and independent living.
Our Vision for the Future
- NCC partners with the people that we serve, their families and others in the community, to work toward a clear vision for the future. In pursuit of our vision that all people with developmental disabilities should have every resource necessary to live, learn, work, grow and thrive in their community and to ensure long-term organization sustainability, NCC’s overarching strategic goals and strategies include:
- • Revenue Growth & Diversification
- • Technology Incorporation
- • Beneficiary Support & Attention
We continue to utilize our innovative strategies, core values and guiding principles to expand our outreach to the community we serve. With our core values in mind, we look forward to expanding services and resources that help children and adults lead fulfilling and productive lives. We embrace, encourage and help all people and support them to become stronger and more confident contributors to society - and we look forward to doing so then, now and always.
Our Progress and Growth
NCC celebrates 65 years of enhancing the lives of people of all ages, diverse backgrounds and differing abilities through inclusive opportunities. Each year, we serve hundreds of people throughout the DC metropolitan area, offering early childhood education and early intervention, school programs, community residences and supports, day services and supports to include individualized day supports, work readiness training, supported employment, and vocational training.
As a community partner we work to ensure each person, regardless of abilities, is embraced and valued as a contributing member of society. NCC employs people who are inspired by the challenge of meeting the daily needs of those with differing abilities and provides extensive training and support to all staff in order to ensure the highest quality outcomes for the individuals we serve.
We are proud of our first 65 years in service. As we look ahead to the next 60+ years, NCC will continue to leverage technology and innovation to deploy resources and support our community to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Our service to the community began more than 60 years ago, when Mrs. Gertrude Saidman sought to create a “home” for children with special needs after having trouble finding services for her daughter. Together with Rabbi Chaim Williamowsky and Hyman Paper, they create our predecessor, the Jewish Foundation for Retarded Children, which was incorporated in 1958.
In just a few short years, the organization secured 6200 2nd Street NW–which sat about 13 miles from the current Early Learning and Early Intervention Center (ELC)–to serve as a private residence and school for children with mental disabilities. In June of 1961, 25 students started summer camp with the foundation, and the residential program opened a few months later in September
The Foundation, which changed its name in 1970 to the National Children’s Center, was truly before its time. At the height of civil and racial unrest around the country, the organization did not enforce segregation and made sure all people knew they were welcome. It honored not only its Jewish heritage with a Kosher kitchen, but also the rules for other religions’ dietary restrictions for its non-Jewish students.
A November 1976 issue of The Washington Post described NCC as equal parts “training center” and “treatment center,” as it integrated “training programs for people in all aspects of special education, from pediatricians to teachers, psychologists to speech therapists and social workers.” That ingenuity still inspires the leadership of the modern day NCC. With partnerships with local universities, including Howard University and George Washington University, NCC is still a fertile ground for medical professionals to learn and give back to their community.
Today, as a 501©3 nonprofit organization, NCC continues to be a refuge for thousands of individuals and families who are often underserved and overlooked. The ELC provides early childhood education to children ages zero to five in an inclusive educational environment. Students also have access to a variety of on-site therapies and healthcare professionals to ensure early detection and treatment. Initiatives like the Parent Café empowers parents and caregivers with the tools to support the growth and development of their children.
Community Support Services’ serves adults 18 and older through several core programs, including Residential Services, which allows those in our care live independently; Employment Readiness and Supported Employment, which helps those in our care overcome barriers to gainful employment; Community Day Services, which allows people in our care to be active outside the home; and the Day Habilitation Program, which offers ways to express creativity and build life skills.