When a group of parents of young children with developmental disabilities formed the Oklahoma County Council for Mentally Retarded Children in 1953, they wanted a safe and caring place for their sons and daughters.
That same year Dale Evans Rogers, one of the most popular celebrities of her time, published Angel Unaware, an inspiring account of the life of her daughter Robin. The child was born with Down syndrome and died just before she turned two. Yet her life, though brief, brought great joy to her family. For the rest of her life, Dale Rogers attributed her family’s strong values and their faith to Robin. Angel Unaware opened the door for changes for people with disabilities as it reached millions who admired Dale and Roy Rogers for their candor and their devotion to their daughter. As a tribute to Dale, the parents named the school after her.
By 1975 the young children of the families who founded the original Council were well beyond the age for public school. For their sake, and for hundreds like them, the Dale Rogers School began its transition from a school to a vocational training and employment center.
Over the years the Dale Rogers Training Center, Inc. (DRTC) has grown at a steady pace, acquiring federal contracts, winning awards, and implementing mobile workforce groups. The Board of Directors does not want the agency to be perceived just as another charity. They want DRTC to earn its own way, to show that people with disabilities can do quality work, and – to a great extent – earn their own way. The self-sufficiency of the agency, as well as the individuals, continues to grow. In fact, some individuals at DRTC even choose to give volunteer hours to other nonprofits to benefit those less fortunate than themselves.
With more than 65 years of service, and continuing growth as an agency and as individuals, DRTC is proud to say we are the largest agency of our kind in the state of Oklahoma. How proud those pioneering parents and advocates from the 1950s would be now! With the continued support of the Oklahoma City community, there is no limit to what DRTC can accomplish in the future as we continue blazing trails and building independence.