Celebrating 50 Years
(1967 – 2017)
Where We Were
Spring Dell Center, Inc. was created in 1967 to assist individuals with developmental disabilities. The agency originated in the basement of a church and has continued to grow since then. As other local programs began serving the most capable segments of the county’s developmentally disabled citizens, Spring Dell made efforts to serve the segment of this population that required more specialized and intensive services. The agency developed an expertise in using an interdisciplinary team approach and in developmental and behavioral programming.
Our growth and expansion has led us to where we are today, operating from a 30,000 square foot facility, employing over 100 staff and assisting over 200 individuals annually. It is through the generous support and dedication of the citizens of Charles County that we are able to provide new opportunities and choices for all individuals. Spring Dell Center, Inc., is in the 50th year of providing services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Spring Dell Center has been paying very close attention to the direction the State of Maryland is moving in regarding supports for people with developmental disabilities. The agency’s staff is working diligently to incorporate a new and innovative set of regulations that will fall in line with the state’s mission by 2019. We feel confident these changes will improve the supports for many people across the State of Maryland, not just Spring Dell Center. Within the next year, staff will continue to receive assistance from experts in the field thanks to two grants awarded, known as ODEP and the Kessler Foundation Grant.
Already, staff has had the opportunity to attend the Maryland Association of Community Services Transformation Retreat allowing for private consultants over a three day period. This gave the organization the jump start needed to move forward. Through this retreat, several goals were established that will lead the agency in its development process.
- Goal 1: Provide 100% Person Driven Community Supports
- Goal 2: Ensure Spring Dell is One Unified Organization
- Goal 3: Develop a Comprehensive Workforce Development Plan
- Goal 4: Develop a Comprehensive Technology Plan
- Goal 5: Define Outcome Data to Measure
- Goal 6: Provide Person-Centered Employment Plans
Remembering the Past and Building the Future
The 15th anniversary of Hooks and Hangers in La Plata was marked with a remodeling of the entire store and the introduction of the vintage boutique, known as Rustic Restorations. As for the agency, Spring Dell Center was named Charles County Chamber of Commerce Nonprofit of the year for all the supports provided for individuals with disabilities as well as the additional work was done to strengthen the surrounding community.
Spring Dell Center’s facility continued to expand with the construction of a canopy over the Wing 100’s Bus Lane and a 4 bay storage facility at the Radio Station Road location. The residential program also expanded with the purchase of a home on in La Plata and a new lease of a home on Old Washington Road in Waldorf. Additionally, Supported Employment started annual participation in the St. Mary’s County Veteran’s Parade and seasonal job placement began at Regency Furniture Stadium. Due to an ending lease the Use It Again store in Waldorf was closed.
Growth and changes within Spring Dell Center’s program warranted a change in communication, leading to an upgrade of the Center’s website thanks to a partnership developed with the Southern Maryland Give Camp.
Five MTA grants were received by the agency’s transportation department awarding a total of five buses, in addition to $80,500 in MTA preventative maintenance and 16 mobile surveillance bus cameras.
Spring Dell Center continued development of a partnership with Wayside Food Bank, which allowed the organization’s staff and program participants to supply Easter baskets, Halloween goodie bags, food donations, blankets, toilet paper, and laundry detergent. Additionally, 50 Christmas stockings including; candy, books, animals, gloves, hats, scarves, snacks and drinks were handed out. They then began contributing to the Farming 4 Hunger program, which led to the involvement of over 35 Spring Dell Center program participants and their staff. These individuals had an opportunity to work on a portion of 20,000 to 40,000 lbs. of produce daily, including removing excess stalks from ears of corn, stems which were connecting groups of string beans and culling potatoes. They filled six pallets equaling 120 boxes for small distribution, totaling 15 lbs. per box for potatoes and 10 lbs. per box for the ears of corn. Many other community partnerships began to spawn.
There was an increased connection with the St. Mary’s Bryantown School through Spring Dell Center’s beautification project. Program participants had an opportunity to visit the school to view their Wizard of Oz production. Groups decorated holiday cookies and a tree with Grace Brethren Christian Academy, catered the Teen Drug Court Steering Committee’s Luncheon and Silent Auction, supplied the Southern Maryland Business Network with desserts for their Basket Bingo Fundraiser, participated in the FB Gwynn Center’s Sensory Day and facilitated a joint Easter Egg Hunt. It also participated in the 2014 Wawa Food Harvest program, as well as continued participation in the Farming for Hunger program as they expand local distribution and the Greenhouse. Food Harvest participants included local restaurants such as Bob Evans, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn and Famous Dave’s.
As in previous years, the organization supported and attended community events including the Charles County Sherriff’s Office Torch Run, Christmas Connection, Patuxent River Appreciation, Thanksgiving Feast, United Way’s Day of Caring and more.
Spring Dell Center continues to grow! Funds were secured for a parking lot expansion, storage shed and landscaping of the Radio Station Road front entrance. Plans were also explored for the expansion of second-floor offices and program areas. Grant funds continue to enhance its programs, including a purchase of one Quadriciser, a unique piece of exercise equipment inclusive for all skill levels. Additionally, 5310 grant writing success led to collaboration with others seeking funds for transportation needs. A unique business partnership was also developed at the Westside Thrift Store. The store became a part of the agency’s weekly scheduled training opportunities for individuals in the organization’s retail curriculum. Additionally, the 11th group home on Linden Lane in La Plata opened, and Spring Dell Center established the Aktion Club, as part of the Waldorf Kiwanis Club.
This growth, accompanied with a rising population in Charles County led to a proportionate increase in the disabled population, causing Spring Dell Center to implement the agency’s first waiting list in 15 years. Spring Dell Center partnered with the Charles County Board of Education, by developing a Transitioning Youth Program, where the Board of Education’s staff work with special needs high school seniors to prepare them to leave school and enter an adult program. Spring Dell Center was honored to be a featured speaker at various State and National conferences. In 2007, Spring Dell Center celebrated its 40th anniversary as an agency.
Spring Dell Center took over ownership of the quality resale store, “West Side Thrift” in Bryans Road and opened a Quality Resale Furniture Store in La Plata, making this the 5th store operated by the center. Another lease for a home on Linden Lane in La Plata, Maryland was added to the list, and the house became known as Linden 2.
Overall the center received seven MTA grant award buses (two 16amb / 2wc & 10amb / 2wc, one 16amb/2wc, two 12amb, 2wc and one 8amb/4wc). The transportation fleet of forty-one vehicles provided 72,354 one way trips, traveling 400,000 miles, while in service for 25,841 hours. This included 14,871 wheelchair passenger trips. The center served as the initial recipient of TAM’s Human Service Partnership award. Program participants were placed in community employment opportunities at IHOP and Giant.
In 2008, Spring Dell Center began a relationship with Vacations for Veterans, located in St. Mary’s County. Spring Dell Center provides vehicles and drivers to transport wounded veterans from either Walter Reed or Ft. Belvoir to a designated camp in St. Mary’s County for a weekend with their families away from the hospital.
Funds were secured for the new building project through various resources including:
- Community Development Block Grants
- Department of Mental Health and Hygiene Funds
- VA Housing and Urban Development Special Needs
- Charles County Government
Spring Dell Center’s required matches were secured, but the agency still attempted to raise additional funds needed for the project. In the meantime, the center opened a new 15,000 sq. ft. Quality Resale Store in Charlotte Hall, totaling three stores in the county. This store provided training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, as well as additional revenue for the agency’s 20,000 sq. ft. facility expansion on Radio Station Road. The facility allowed opportunities to be offered to all individuals, regardless of disability. Thus, the Center changed its focus to curriculum driven outcomes.
The Center was able to increase enrollment and opportunities. The Greater Waldorf Jaycees Foundation committed a total of $150,000 in funds to the agency over a five year period. The funds were used for continued expansion efforts of the new facility. Spring Dell Center continued the Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group.
August 2003 was the official completion and move in date for the organization’s newly expanded and renovated facility. The agency was able to close its satellite location and merge all staff, individuals, and services.
The agency converted to curriculum-based programing and maintained a steady increase in new individuals seeking services. Spring Dell Center obtained donations from the community to purchase two Duet Cycles, which provided support with a seat for the driver and a separate seat for the rider. This allowed everyone the opportunity to enjoy the feeling of riding a bicycle. The agency also received an MTA grant award bus (8amb / 2wc.)
The employment training site moved to La Plata, Maryland where the agency was able to secure a 10 year lease with hopes of building its own new facility. Planning began for securing funds to expand an existing building the new facility and building on its existing 10 acres on Radio Station Road. The organization then expanded its La Plata Quality Resale Store. The agency continued to secure funds to expand its employment training site on property owned on Radio Station Road and a decision was made to bring the two centers together. Residential services also continued to grow from 2 homes in 1980 to 11 homes/apartments in 1997. The center developed partnerships with like agencies as well as opened a 7,500 sq. ft. Quality Resale Store in Waldorf. This store provided training and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, as well as additional revenue for the agency.
Spring Dell Center expanded into residential services by opening two wheelchair accessible homes in St. Charles. This was a huge leap for Spring Dell. It was one of Maryland’s first efforts to provide residential services to individuals with greater challenges in the community. This project is known as “The Southern Maryland Demonstration Project.”
The Center was also able to secure a contract to work with Division of Rehab Services. This became an additional source of revenue for the agency. The Center’s first, Employment Grant came from the Kennedy Institute to provided employment placement and job coaching services to adults with disabilities who were employment ready. This meant an additional 34 individuals received services immediately. In line with obtaining additional funding sources, while providing job skills, the organization opened a new Quality Resale Store in Waldorf, Maryland and an Employment Training site in White Plains, Maryland. These sites provided job training for individuals who wanted to work in the community. The center’s staff was able to begin bidding on additional mobile custodial contracts, and Transportation Services began for various employment opportunities. Furthermore, another grant was received from the Charles County United Way for growth and outreach of a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group.
The program expanded to twenty students and a long waiting list for entry. During this time a four-word motto developed “tell, show, help and let.” The center took over complete operation of the Kent Avenue La Plata Thrift Shop. Later, a deed was accepted for ten acres of land on Radio Station Road, which was donated by the Federal Government through the Health, Education, and Welfare Department. After construction in 1975, a Ground Breaking Ceremony for the new facility was held, and the center opened for services! Charles County was recognized as having the first completed building in the State of Maryland for disabled citizens. The organization began in its new facility with 14 staff and 31 eager children, ranging in ages from 6 to 20 years old.
Between 1978 and 1979, the Charles County Public Schools were required by law to provide schooling for all children, regardless of their disability. Spring Dell Center transferred 30 children from its program to the F.B. Gwynn Center and changed its focus to vocational and employment training for adults, while still maintaining a habilitation program for the severely disabled. The agency received supplemental funds from Charles County Government for program services.
Spring Dell Center, initiated by an eager group of parents in 1962, received its start as the HARC Day Care Center. In its beginning, the program was located in La Plata Maryland’s Shelton Building with two staff and six developmentally disabled children.
The program then moved to two different locations to provide service; La Plata Sacred Heart Church Hall and Port Tobacco School. In 1967, HARC Day Care Center was renamed to Spring Dell Center, Inc. The organization’s operations were transferred to the basement of the United Methodist Church in La Plata, Maryland. The teaching staff grew in five years from 3 to 14, including a physical therapist and speech pathologist. The organization gained tentative certifications from the Maryland State Department of Education and began planning in 1968 for a new permanent location.