History of OH

1957 – Four couples/families come together to start the “DeKalb County Association for the Mentally Retarded” to care for their family members.

1963 – Opportunity House, Inc. was incorporated with its own Board separate from the DeKalb County Association for the Mentally Retarded, and they began a Workshop at the Old South Sycamore School.

1967 – Began residential living program with females at a Sycamore farm house and males at a house on West State Street, Sycamore. Also, Workshop moved from the Old South Sycamore School to 202 Lucas Street.

1969 – Department of Mental Health began funding two Community Living Facilities

1970 – Began Leisure Time Activity Service

1971 – Began Work Activity Service

1976 – Began series of purchases of the Administration Building, including additions, as well as CLF Residences.

1978 – Received first Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities(CARF) accreditation for 3 years in 4 areas – Vocational Development, Sheltered Employment, Social Adjustment, and Work Activity.

1985 – Began Supported Employment Program for 8 clients to work in the Community with 2 Job Coaches.

1989 – Completed another series of purchases including the Chicago and Northwestern Transportation property on Page Street, an addition to the main building, and another residential home. OH also received an award from the State as one of the Top 10 Supported Employment Programs in Illinois.

1995 – Began Special Olympics Sports (basketball)

2005 – Completed purchase of more homes in response to a growing demand

2006 – John Kroos retires after 36 years as Executive Director

2007 – Purchased the old Duplex building at 357 N. California Street in Sycamore through a Capital Campaign.

2008 – Began remodeling as part of the Capital Campaign to house the Developmental Training program.

2013 – Purchased 2 more houses in response to the demand for group housing (CILA).

2016 – Launched Capital Campaign to consolidate all operations, including Work Services, OH Industries and administrative staff, into one building (357 N. California Street) through a remodeling construction project scheduled to be completed in May of 2017.


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