CLASS has provided services to individuals with disabilities for almost 40 years.
In the mid-1970s, a group of families in the Merrimack Valley began to talk about opportunities for their children. 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 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 services include Employment, Production, Day Habilitation, Community Based Day Services, Family Resources and Advocacy, Adult Family & Foster Care, Clinical & Case Management Support, and Transportation.
In addition to providing services to individuals who attend CLASS programs, we also provide support services to the families of individuals with disabilities in the Greater Lawrence community. The Arc of Greater Lawrence (ArcGL) is the family support division of CLASS with a mission of ensuring that people with 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.