From day one Living Well has been dedicated to caring for those impacted by disability with dedication and kindness. We believe everyone deserves a life filled with opportunities, joy, confidence, pride, and dignity.
We can only imagine what the founders would say if we got in a time machine and went back to 1972 to tell them how much disability awareness and care would change. And how Living Well would now be serving 300 people and hundreds of families — including 39 people who have been with us since the beginning!
We are thankful for everyone who saw the need and showed up time after time to help. We hope you enjoy this journey through time.
1972: Dakota’s Children becomes a non-profit organization.
1973: Marie Avenue children’s home dedicated and opened, one of the first community-based residential facilities for children with Developmental Disabilities in Minnesota.
1976: Dakota County Trails Association begins what became a 27-year snowmobile fundraising event for Dakota’s Children to raise money for accessible vans at every home.
1976 to 1983: Thompson, Victoria and Kennelly homes open serving 23 people.
1985: First written mission statement – Dakota’s Children is committed to providing an innovative, quality service and advocates for the rights and dignity of people who have disabilities. It is also challenged to the continued development of an organizational system having the greatest potential as an evolving response to the changing needs of the people we serve.
1987: Paul’s Place (formerly Cheyenne) home opens serving four people.
1990: Larpenteur, Cope, Brookview homes open serving 16 people.
1991: East Emerson and Diane Road homes open serving 12 people.
1991: Dakota’s Children now has 10 homes with a staff of 300.
1993: France, Lyndale, Edgewood, 75th Avenue, 3801/3807 Broadway, Powell, Douglas, and Central homes join Dakota’s Children.
1993: Mission updated – Dakota’s Children Inc. purpose is to assist people in the greater metropolitan area who have disabilities to maximize their potential in life.
1996: Brunswick opens to serve four of the last eight females residing at Faribault State Hospital.
1996: Dakota’s Children begins a formal Legacy Circle endowment program and changes name to Dakota Communities – continuing the mission of building partnerships with people.
1997: Values established: Commitment, Excellence, Innovation, Integrity, Respect, and Stewardship.
1998: West Emerson and 32nd Avenue homes open serving eight people.
1999: Marie Avenue children’s home begins transition of children and young adults into smaller homes in suburban neighborhoods.
1999: The Therapeutic Gardening program made possible by private donations begins.
2000: Casey Court, Poppler, Maryland, Mary Adele, Upper 55th, Highview, Congress and Schletty homes open providing services to 42 people.
2001: Marie Avenue officially closes its doors with the opening of Carmen Lane home serving six people.
2002: Dakota Communities introduces in-home services to people with disabilities and their families.
2002: Organization wins ANCOR moving Mountains Award for its emphasis on continuing education for employees in the field of disabilities.
2003: Group from Dakota Communities goes on Boundary Waters winter excursion.
2004: Claremont home opens.
2004: Inndale home opens serving four people with multiple sclerosis.
2004: Dakota Communities STARS self-advocacy group is formed.
2006: Dakota Communities begins focus on new technology and accessibility upgrades.
2006: Dakota Communities wins Community Inclusion Award from the National Recreation & Park Association.
2007: Mission updated – Dakota Communities partners with people with disabilities to realize their potential in their lives and communities.
2007: STARS self-advocacy group visits Washington DC to rally rights for people with disabilities.
2008: Dakota Communities creates wellness and wholeness culture.
2009: Vision updated – Be a model of excellence in a world that creates possibilities for people of all abilities.
2011: Elgin Court home opens serving four people.
2012: Mission update – Deliver exceptional services that transform the lives of people impacted by disabilities.
2012: Values Revised – Advocacy, Community, Compassion, Joy, Integrity, Leadership, Stewardship, and Wellness.
2014: Dakota Communities becomes Living Well Disability Services.
2019: Westchester home opens serving four people.
2020: Southcrest and Orono Woodlands homes open serving ten people.
2021: Mission updated – Living Well Disability Services transforms the lives of people impacted by disabilities through the delivery of exceptional services.
2021: LWDS services and supports begin for two people at Woodgate home.
2022: Living Well Disability Services celebrates 50 years!
2022: Victoria Road closes while Cloman, Mears and Selkirk open serving 12 people.
2022: Living Well Disability Services wins Non-profit of the Year from the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce.
In our next 50 years, we stay dedicated to our vision for a day when all people impacted by disabilities and our employees live well. We’re excited to have you along with us on the journey. Thank you for your continued dedication and support.