In early 1982 a group of parents, church members, and civic-minded Fredericksburg residents determined Gillespie County’s disabled citizens were being overlooked by our community. Most intellectually and developmentally disabled (IDD) citizens stayed home, excluded from community involvement, and lacked advocates, resources for finding jobs, training, and health support services. These citizens needed opportunities to participate in our community, contribute to the work force, interact with peers, and recognize their full potential. Families wanted tools to help their children become productive members of the community. Few IDD resources existed in Texas, and none were available in Gillespie County.
A local group of like-minded volunteers began the work of informing our community about the need. Over thirty speeches were given to civic associations, social clubs, and city and county government organizations, raising awareness about our disabled citizens. Early fund raising and awareness programs included, bake sales, bean soup mix sales, cookie booths at Oktoberfest, prize drawings, softball contests, and sponsor of the month opportunities.
Initially the volunteer group provided financial support directly to families and disabled citizens. Start-up funds were used to create a Homespun Early Childhood Intervention program for infants, birth to age three. Additional funds were allocated to the Hill Country Special Education Cooperative for children age 3 to 21 to support a vocational training project.
In 1986 The Texas Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC) conducted a survey that formally identified the need for a developmental and vocational training center in Gillespie County. This center would provide employment opportunities for disabled residents, promote inclusion into mainstream community life, and support living options for adult-age citizens with developmental disabilities
From 1988 until 1990, volunteer citizens and the ARC focused fund raising efforts towards the construction of our first building on Green Meadows Boulevard. This small building became the primary point of contact for many disabled citizens and quickly reached full capacity in terms of usable space and available training opportunities. However, the building remained in operation for fourteen years until enough donations could be collected for a larger facility.
In November 2004, New Horizons was finally able to make major progress towards our mission when we completed our current building at 107 Industrial Loop. Thanks to generous contributions from the people, businesses, charitable organizations and foundations of this community and surrounding area, the project was completed debt-free. This progress would not have been possible without the support of the following entities:
The Hal Charlie Peterson Foundation
The Meadows Foundation
The Dian Graves Owen Foundation
Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country
San Antonio Area Foundation
St. Luke’s Lutheran Health Ministries
Debt-free does not mean expense-free however. Each year our volunteers work hard to raise operating funds and donate hundreds of labor hours to keep the building open, safe, and supporting the needs of our disabled citizens.
Our non-profit 501(3)(c) employs charitable donations, volunteers, and fund raising to maintain the building, and partners with the Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) to provide on-site medical and rehabilitation services for our disabled citizens.
New Horizons is grateful to our community for the support we receive for our on-going operations. Our day-to-day operations are made possible through annual donations received from individuals, churches and businesses who make both small and large contributions of time and money. Our local radio station, KNAF, has provided support since 1988 during our major fund-raiser, the New Horizons Community Concert and Radiothon. In addition, they provide other support such as public service announcements throughout the year.
Copyright 1988, ARC of Gillespie County dba New Horizons