Fred Robinson, ARC’s executive director, addresses the large crowd that attended the open house of ARC Ventura County Photo by Don Johnson

ARC celebrates Kay-Smead Center, 50th anniversary of service

April 30, 2003
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesARC of Ventura County officially unveiled its Hazel Kay-Dorothy Smead Heritage Valley Community Integration Center and honored two longtime supporters during a celebration held April 25th at the 10th Street facility, the former home of the Santa Paula Chronicle now containing a museum of the defunct newspaper.Both Kay and Smead were on hand for the dedication of the center that honors their deep commitment to ARC on a local and state level, activism prompted by the needs of their children.The event also marked the 50th anniversary of ARC-VC providing an array of quality services to improve the lives of the developmentally disabled in Ventura County.“I’m real pleased that the building has found such a great use, and I’m amazed at what ARC has done,” said Kay.Hundreds of people attended the grand opening and dedication, which served as a backdrop to show ARC services from reading and writing to money management skills.ARC Job Coach Ruth Rope was showing off the gift shop open to the public weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and stocked with imaginative items made by ARC consumers.“This is a wonderful day for Santa Paula and the Santa Clara River Valley,” noted Fred Robinson, ARC’s executive director. “Santa Paula is where ARC started 50 years ago,” in a garage where concerned parents vowed to broaden practical services for their children.“We’re honoring Hazel and Dorothy for their years of dedication to ARC; they’ve given generously of their time and support,” Robinson said.Kay established the first special education programs for developmentally disabled in Culver City and has served three terms as ARC-VC president and twice as President of the Tri-Counties ARC; she was also a founding member of the ARC Foundation.Smead was instrumental in creating special education and camp programs in Santa Paula and was an early ARC member, said Robinson. She also served three terms as ARC-VC president, and like Kay, has held state ARC offices and is a founding member of the ARC Foundation.Also in attendance was Marian Hadley, “the founding president and the reason we’re all here,” said Kay, who introduced other guests including ARC California State President Shirley Dove.
Hadley noted that she was told by a doctor in the early 1950s that her own developmentally disabled daughter would not live past the age of three: “She’s in her 60s now. . .it’s a real pleasure to be here and I congratulate all on the work you’ve done.”Mayor John Procter and Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause also attended the dedication that included musical entertainment by singing duo Dawn Badger and Meghan Finn and soloist Trieana Moon.“Dorothy and I are honored and humbled,” said Kay, who, with characteristic humor noted that the two have often butted heads. “But part of my pride is my association with Dorothy; we’ve worked together over 35 years on this.”Kay and Smead received numerous proclamations including one from the state ARC.“It’s hard to believe that 50 years past there was an answer to our prayers,” with the creation of ARC-VC, noted Smead. The original budget of $2,000 has now grown to $9 million and the consumer base from seven to over 900, she said. “Our thrift stores are the main thing that keep us afloat,” although some ARC programs have been lost to troubled economic times.“This honor bestowed and us is humbling but appreciated,” said Smead.Robinson noted that as a Santa Paula youth he became Chronicle paperboy. One of his clients was the straight-talking Smead who had such a strong influence on him that “I owe all to Dorothy!”Robinson said ARC’s desire to “retain the flavor of their building and Santa Paula’s history,” led to the rehab of the building and the creation of the Chronicle Museum.Ann Phillips, who was married to Ross Phillips and the daughter-in-law of C.E. Phillips, both who were editors and publishers of the Chronicle publishers for many years, thanked ARC for honoring the newspaper and its history. “My husband and father-in-law would be happy to see what has been done.”Phillips was instrumental in creating the museum, noted Robinson.

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