CLASS has provided services to individuals with disabilities for more than 40 years.
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In the mid-1970s, a group of families in the Merrimack Valley began to talk about opportunities for their children with disabilities. Historically, options for families were limited to placing children in institutions or keeping them at home. This group of families had a vision that their children may one day live in a more homelike setting, be provided the opportunity to learn, grow, thrive and work, and have rights like any other person. By 1976, those family members, along with community supporters, established the Citizen's League for Adult Special Services – now known as CLASS. Original enrollment was six individuals.
Over the years, the agency has grown and diversified. We now serve more than 400 individuals and their families throughout the Merrimack Valley and northeastern Massachusetts. Additional programs and services have been added to meet the growing needs and numbers of the vulnerable population supported by CLASS each year. Today we offer Adult Family Care, Autism Support, Community Based Day Services, Day Habilitation, Employment and Career services, clinical and case management support, and Transportation services.
In addition to providing services to individuals who attend CLASS day programs, we also provide support services to the families of individuals with disabilities in the Greater Lawrence community, as the Arc of Greater Lawrence (ArcGL). This family support division of CLASS's mission is to ensure people with autism and intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families receive culturally competent services, and learn new daily living skills to strengthen their ability to direct their own lives.
The mission of CLASS/Arc of Greater Lawrence is to support, promote and facilitate the inherent rights of individuals with disabilities to experience a life of opportunity for personal growth and active, meaningful engagement in their community.
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