By Alan Gionet
DENVER (CBS4)– A large tent full of people, some with severe physical and mental disabilities, cheered at the start of a new era for The Laradon School in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood.
They were excited about new building at the campus where people have been getting help for decades.
Laradon has been helping children and adults, many with severe mental impairments, since the 1940s.
Students come to The Laradon School when their needs exceed the school district’s resources to adequately support a student with developmental disabilities. It has been through many different forms as it has evolved. For a time, the school had on campus housing, but now Laradon provides housing in the community.
Laradon is building additional classroom space as well as a cafeteria and upgraded adaptive technology for students. This is just one phase of planned work. Some of that involves setting aside land for affordable housing for people with special needs, staff and people in the community.
“With fears of too much change in the neighborhood, Laradon is doubling down on its commitment to this vulnerable community and to empowering adults and children with disabilities to live life without limits,” said Laradon CEO Doug McNeill.
The Daniels Fund provided a leading gift for the campaign. There’s been a $6 million fundraising effort to accomplish improvements and expansion. The non-profit is seeking community support to complete its plans.
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CBS4’s Alan Gionet, emceed the groundbreaking event. He has a brother with severe autism.
Laradon was known as the Laradon School for many years. It was founded in 1948 by the parents of two developmentally disabled sons. Laradon was the very first charitable organization in the Rocky Mountain region to offer support, education, and training to children with developmental disabilities.
It is now the largest and most diverse service provider of its kind in Colorado, serving over 600 children and adults with developmental disabilities each year.
LINK: The Laradon School