Much has happened to benefit the developmentally disabled community since Villa Esperanza Services opened the first independent day school in Pasadena in 1961 for children with Down syndrome. Today, the developmentally disabled are no longer secluded but are visible members of the community where they work, attend school and live in homes in the neighborhood.
Villa Esperanza Services has been at the forefront of creating programs to give the developmentally disabled the chance to learn, work and play with others. Today, Villa serves 24 school districts and over 41 cities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Villa serves people with a wide variety of disabilities including autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.
In 1961 a group of mothers had a vision. They believed their special needs children deserved quality care and education and founded one of the first schools in Los Angeles County for children with Down syndrome. This school was a response to unmet community needs because no public schools at that time offered programs for children with developmental disabilities. The school was known as Pasadena Retarded Children's Foundation.
Through the years, the school gained widespread community support and in 1966 the name was changed to Villa Esperanza, meaning "House of Hope." As the children grew, Villa expanded its vision to include adult residential, employment services, day programs and new locations in Ventura County. In 2000, "Services" was added to Villa's name to reflect a new vision of providing a range of services to a diverse, disabled population across the age continuum. Integrated adult programs were added to serve our aging developmentally disabled adults, as well as vulnerable, at-risk adults and seniors.
Villa Esperanza Services remains true to its mission of Providing Love, Care and Hope for Individuals with Disabilities and their Families since 1961.