50 years ago, a small group of parents united because they wanted a better life for their children. Like all parents, they had hopes and dreams that their sons and daughters would be valued, develop friendships, and become part of the community. From this networking and advocacy, a daycare opened on Riverside Avenue and the Torrington Area Association for Retarded Children, as we were then known, was born in 1964.
In 1966, parents of adolescent and adult children saw the success of the nursery school program. As a result of their networking, Lark Industries, a sheltered workshop for individuals began. Over the years, LARC emphasized competitive employment for individuals in the community.
Between 1984 and 1989, four community group homes were developed in Torrington, Litchfield, Harwinton, and Winsted. A program supporting individuals in apartments soon followed.
LARC ran a successful day camp for 45 years for children with special needs. Camp LARC, as it was then known, was a partnership with other organizations. At that time, Camp LARC focused specifically on children and teens with special needs. In 2011, LARC formed Camp MOE, and outdoor day camp for all children. It is one of the first camps in New England that provides an inclusive setting where all campers are welcome.
Today, approximately 570 adults and children throughout Litchfield County benefit from LARC's programs and services.
"LARC and my son came along about the same time fortunately. LARC was born in 1964, and he in 1967. He entered the LARC preschool program on Riverside Avenue at ta time when the Torrington public school system had no program for children with disabilities. LARC gave us both - my son and our family 0- an organized preschool learning group and later a summer camp and Special Olympics, as well as respite, guidance, and support. I have watched the organization grow and expand into something of which the community can truly be proud."
Joyce Peck, Parent and Past President (1974-1976)