To be organization of excellence that provides superior, individualized services to children and adults with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities, supporting their independence in daily life and maximizing their full potential.
When Joseph and Elizabeth Calabrese's sons were denied admission to public school because they were "mentally retarded," Joe Calabrese said, "If no one will take my sons, by golly, I'll open my own school."
The Calabrese's invested their life savings into establishing the first school in the Rocky Mountain region for children with developmental disabilities. In 1948 Laradon, which is named after the Calabrese children, Larry and Donald, opened its doors to three enrollments in a renovated home on Federal Boulevard in Denver, Colorado.
The Calabrese's had a vision that that if people with disabilities were given the same rights, privileges and opportunities as those without disabilities they could realize their full potential, contribute to their communities in their own unique ways and become valued members of society.
In the 1940s, there were little, if any, services available to children with developmental disabilities and the news quickly spread that there was finally a place for special needs children to recieve an education and training. For this reason, Laradon quickly outgrew the original home on Federal Boulevard. In 1951, Laradon moved to its current location at 5100 Lincoln Street in the abandoned Globeville school building.
In the beginning, Laradon only provided education and training to children, but as these children grew into adulthood, Laradon expanded its services to include adults with special needs.
The vision of the Calabrese's still drives Laradon's mission and goals today. We continue to grow and expand services and programs to reach as many people with special needs as possible, giving each participant the same rights, privileges and opportunities as those without disabilities.
Laradon serves approximately 500 enrollments annually to people throughout the spectrum of age and ability, in 13 unique programs. Laradon's comprehensive services and broad array of programs provide each participant with the highest caliber of training, therapy and support so that they can be successful in reaching their full potential and thrive in a dynamic world.
"They have helped more than they will ever know. I cannot thank Laradon enough!" Laura Patton, grandmother of Laradon school graduate.
"Without Laradon I wouldn't have had my first job, I wouldn't have known what it means to communicate with other people, I wouldn't know what it means to accept responsibility for the job. I would not have had the chance to meet my husband. We've got 36 years of a marriage and he is the best thing that has happened to me...outside of Laradon."
Pat P., former Laradon participant
"I admire Laradon staff. They always took such good care of my nephew. They helped him with everything he needed and wanted. I'm so thankful that they made such a nice life for him."
Lois S., aunt of Laradon participant
"I want to thank Laradon for all they have done for me!"
Dennis C., Host Home participant
"They taught me how to work and they taught me how to keep a job. If it wasn't for their help I wouldn't be here today."
Hugh P., former Laradon participant