The year was 1973 when Leigh Derby founded St. Mark’s Center because five children were excluded from a Charlotte-Mecklenburg public school education to their significant developmental disabilities.
A group of concerned citizens form St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the Arc of Mecklenburg County formed a group and created an educational day program in the basement of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. The class was held in space donated by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Charlotte, and the name St. Mark’s Center was adopted in honor of the church and its members who helped.
Services for individuals 18 years of age and above begins on the campus of Myers Street School.
St. Mark's Center incorporates and forms its first Board of Directors.
St. Mark's Center, located at 601 North Graham Street in Charlotte, opens and enables our programs for adults and children to operate from a single location.
Five men become residents in our first group home on Windsor Drive in Charlotte.
Our Developmental Day Program expands to serve children ages three to four years.
Through the United States Department of Education grant # G008530079, together with UNC Charlotte, we developed a curriculum focusing on the relationship between parents and children (birth to three years of age). The Charlotte Circle Project, based on a model of reciprocity, taught parents how to care for their children’s unique needs, and how to work effectively with teachers.
Teachers learned how to support parents, provide training and information, and how to access community support. The program was based on 50% of children having developmental delays and 50% being typically developing. This project demonstrated that inclusion and positive approaches can succeed. The Charlotte Circle Project was replicated in seven states.
In August 1986, the adult program moved to the Lakeview Center, now Creative Campus West.
A group of our pre-school children experience inclusion by receiving services in traditional day care centers.
Our In School program begins, and our first enclave of individuals completes vocational training and are employed.
The name of our organization changes from St. Mark's Center to St. Mark's, Inc.
St. Mark's, Inc., begins a pre-school inclusion program known as the Circle School. The program enables children with developmental delays and children with typical development to learn side by side.
A $2.5 million capital campaign begins to build a school in Union County.
Employment services entered into Iredell County.
St. Mark's, Inc., expands into Guilford County.
St. Mark's Foundation is created to encourage community support.
St. Mark's, Inc., offers services in Surry County and begins operating two rest areas in North Carolina.
The name of our organization changes from St. Mark's, Inc., to LIFESPAN, Inc.
LIFESPAN, Inc. continues to expand services and develop programs.
LIFEPSAN, Inc. Circle School Indian Trail opens.
LIFESPAN, Inc. opens an Adult Enrichment Program in Waynesville.
LIFESPAN, Inc. begins operation of the Durham Enrichment program.
Expands services into Iredell County at the Troutman Enrichment and Circle School Statesville programs.
LIFESPAN, Inc. Foundation merges into LIFESPAN and the Department of Community Affairs & Development becomes the fundraising and marketing division of the organization.
LIFESPAN, Inc. begins operating Iredell Vocational Employment.
LIFESPAN, Inc. celebrates 30 years of mission driven service.
LIFESPAN, Inc. concentrates on quality programs and retaining and recruiting high quality staff.
Five LIFESPAN, Inc. employment programs receive the coveted CARF accreditation for three years.
LIFESPAN, Inc. acquires services at Cabarrus Workshop.
LIFESPAN, Inc. acquires services at Alamance Developmental Center for Children.
LIFESPAN, Inc. senior staff appointed to a state level work group that created an alternative service definition to sheltered workshops.
LIFESPAN, Inc. begins to transition services for adults from the Charlotte sheltered workshop to community- based services.
Federal Grant Contract # 2975-05-0081 for "RAISE: Reading Accommodations and Interventions for Students with Mental Retardation Program" between UNC Charlotte and LIFESPAN (2005-2008).
LIFESPAN, Inc. began its first business enterprise: Just Plain Country.
LIFESPAN, Inc. began providing pre-K services at a second school in Mt. Airy.
LIFESPAN, Inc. received Program of Excellence Award by the North Carolina Council of Community Programs for its work in transitioning adults from sheltered workshops to community-based services.
LIFESPAN, Inc. partnered with The College of Health and Human Services at UNC Charlotte to provide students clinical, internship, or field placement experiences (2006-2009).
LIFESPAN, Inc. is awarded a contract from Mecklenburg Local Management Entity (LME) through a Request for Proposal (RFP) to provide community activity and employment transitions services. This is the first pilot program in North Carolina that offers an alternative to sheltered workshops.
LIFEPSPAN, Inc. has transitioned all individuals from a sheltered workshop to community based supports in Charlotte. Discussions begin across LIFESPAN, Inc. service area to transition all adults into community supports from a sheltered workshop model of services.
LIFESPAN, Inc. returns the in-school programs for children with significant developmental disabilities over to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools after thirty-four years of service.
LIFESPAN, Inc. celebrates 35 years of service.
Combine adult services at LIFESPAN Mt. Airy at LIFESPAN Dobson.
Open LIFESPAN Arts in NODA.
LIFESPAN, Inc. has transitioned all adult services from sheltered workshops to community-based services. The final sub-minimum wage checks were issued for individuals that worked in our sheltered workshops.
LIFESPAN, Inc. makes a proposal to the Guilford Center LME for a pilot for community activity and employment transitions for 12 individuals. The Guilford Center funds a six-month pilot for Community Activity Employment Transition (CAET) services in Guilford from January-June.
LS Solutions is formed.
Begin offering Arts & Gardens curriculum training at all adult programs.
All adult facilities are upgraded to support the Creative Campus model.
Three programs in Guilford County combine into one location.
LIFESPAN Enrichment Charlotte at Providence Road moves to 601 N. Graham .Street and becomes a Creative Campus.
Launch of $1,000,000 campaign for Guilford County (36 months).
LIFESPAN, Inc. allows sub-minimum wage certificate to expire in January.
LIFESPAN, Inc. awarded a $100,000 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act grant through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to renovate the kitchen in Troutman and develop a culinary arts training program.
Rebranding with new logo.
Launch of a 12-month $300,000 campaign for residential services.
LIFESPAN, Inc. begins the Little Red Camera Journey.
Leigh Derby, Founder of LIFESPAN, retires after guiding the agency for over 38 years.
LIFESPAN Creative Campus-Center City named The H. Leigh Derby Center.
Davan Cloninger becomes President and CEO on March 1.
LIFESPAN, Inc. celebrates 40 years of service.
LIFESPAN Creative Campus Waynesville experiences phenominal growth and relocates to a larger building.
LIFESPAN opens a new Creative Campus in Andrews, NC.
Corporate Office moves to new location at 1511 Shopton Road, Suite A.
LIFESPAN begins management of 2 group homes in the West.
LIFESPAN acquires six 3-Bedroom Residential Homes in Charlotte.