Vincent is a Providence Center consumer. He goes to work each day at Baldwin Industries. While at work, Vincent noticed the high cost of snacks. He decided to start his own business selling snacks to the consumers working at Baldwin's, but at a lower price. Then Vincent needed financing to get his business venture off the ground. So he went to his director, laid out his plans and asked for a loan of $45. With loan in hand, Vincent set out to realize his dream.
Like Vincent, each workday more than 450 adults with developmental disabilities ride a Providence Center van to their respective programs or to their place of work. For several hours each day, Providence Center is their home, their workshop, and the place they come to meet their friends, discover their talents and share their lives.
Since its beginnings, Providence Center has been a recognized leader in developing programs and services that allow adults with developmental disabilities to enjoy increased self-determination in leading a more independent, valuable, and functioning role in society.
The Center first opened its doors in 1961 to seven children with developmental disabilities. In response to a lack of learning opportunities available in Anne Arundel County, the Center's founders, six concerned citizens and a prominent educator, envisioned a future for children better than that available in state run institutions. In its infancy, the Center provided the only services for children with developmental disabilities in Anne Arundel County. However, in 1975, with the passage of the equal right to education law, the youngsters were admitted to special education classes of the public school system. At that time, the Center's mission shifted towards providing services to adults with developmental disabilities.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, the Center evolved to meet the dynamic needs of a steadily growing population. In response, numerous programs and services were developed. These included Production Centers, Pottery and Woodworking studios, and three corresponding retail outlets. During those years, the Center's transportation service grew from a single donated Dodge station wagon to the forty vehicles that now travel more than 1.2 million miles per year. The Center has seven facilities throughout Anne Arundel County providing a wide variety of opportunities for its consumers.
The Earthtones program develops consumers' skills in ceramics, horticulture, handicrafts and woodworking. Earthtones operates a retail outlet in the Festival Mall in Pasadena where visitors can come to view and purchase these products. The Horticulture program grows wetland grasses that are vital to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants. These programs provide support and employment opportunities for the Center's consumers.
The Center also operates Baldwin Industries, a vocational-training facility that provides paid work to consumers while increasing their skills and self-confidence. Baldwin Industries operates a flourishing subcontracting business providing a diverse range of services - mailing, packaging and assembly - to businesses and agencies throughout the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
The Center's Employment Service assists consumers in obtaining challenging jobs within the community. This service pairs an individual's preferences, interests and skills with a positive work environment. Should an individual require additional training to attain his or her preferred job, Work Adjustment Training services are provided. The Center strives to provide individuals with the best job matches for their long-term success. Once a consumer secures a job, the Center's employment staff provides job development, job placement, case management, and on-the-job coaching to assure continued success in the workplace.
The Providence Art Institute nurtures consumers' creative and artistic abilities by providing professional, comprehensive and integrated instruction in the visual and performing arts. Consumers' artwork has been displayed in over twenty galleries in the Baltimore area. Individual artists have sold more than 125 pieces valued at over $6,000.
Volunteer opportunities abound for those in the community interested in lending a helping hand. Annual fundraising events such as the Annual Golf Classic and Fabulous Hubcaps Benefit Concert offer the community opportunities to support the Center while having an enjoyable experience with friends and business associates.
Learn more by visiting www.providencecenter.com or by calling 410-757-7800.