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Who We Are


The Arc has carried out the mission and vision of helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their parents and siblings, for 70 years.

Our History

  • The Arc of the South Shore has been providing services for over 66 years of service to individuals with developmental disabilities. History dates back to the early 1950's when a group of courageous founders set forth to found what is now The Arc of the South Shore. During the mid-20th century, parents had two choices for their children with developmental disabilities: 1) Keep the child home with no outside help or support, or 2) Place the child in an institution where care and nurturing was significantly lacking.

  • A group of parents felt these options were completely unacceptable and started their own services. In May 1951, they incorporated as a nonprofit organization named the South Shore Chapter of the Association for Advancement of Exceptional Children. Their mission was to promote the welfare of exceptional children and their parents by providing educational programs, home training, recreational facilities and specialized teacher training. They also wanted to encourage general research and help create a better understanding among the general public of their unique circumstances and needs.

    The founding parents continued their mission by searching for collaborations with state and national associations with similar ideas, as many other groups were forming nationwide. This movement was exponentially growing and by 1953 the association changed its name to The South Shore Association for Retarded Children.

Public school education during this time was mandated for "trainable retarded" children, but parents were finding it nearly impossible to get their children into school classrooms. A group of parents started a separate school and in 1967, the town of Weymouth transferred the deed of a parcel of land on Main Street to a nonprofit named, Jaycees Memorial School, Inc. for the purpose of building a school for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The memorial school finally opened in 1970 and during that time, it served more than 400 students annually. Jaycees Memorial eventually transpired into The Arc of the South Shore's current Early Intervention program. 

In 1977, The Arc of the South Shore was deeded a piece of property at Webb State Park. The newly obtained property gave the agency a permanent home and space to expand programs. By the end of the 1980’s The Arc of the South Shore became a multi-service agency. Since then the agency has been continuously adding nurturing programs, completed a successful capital campaign that raised $1.5 Million and completed a $500,000 expansion of our building on River Street in Webb State Park.

Today The Arc of the South Shore is one chapter in a loose affiliation of 700 independent state and local grassroots chapters nationwide. We have accomplished much as separate organizations and so much more as a united advocacy network. We have influenced the tremendous growth of community-based services, and the establishment of many state and federal policies and laws that have advanced the rights of individuals with disabilities in education, employment, housing and health care.

In 70 Years we have...

  • People Helped


  • Volunteers Engaged


  • Local and National Partnerships


  • Communities Served


Our Partners