Portland, April 3rd, 2013. Excited supporters of the Edwards Center dedicated the new Aloha Community Center. The singers of the Voices Unlimited choir performed in the Community Center’s “Great Room”. The new center, dedicated by special guest Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten and Edwards Center founder Dr. Jean Edwards, hosted over 100 supporters, families, funders, and community members for a lively open house and dedication ceremony. Portland jazz pianist Tom Grant (a family member of one of Edwards Center’s clients) performed, as did opera singers Janet Chvatal and Marc Gremm. Chvatal and Gremm then introduced the Voices Unlimited choir to unveil the new Edwards Center theme song to the packed house.

Exterior of Edwards Center's Aloha Community Center

Exterior of Edwards Center’s Aloha Community Center

A longtime dream of its founders, this community center is a place where people with developmental disabilities can take part in a variety of activities including adult education, job training, nutritious meals, and community events. The building was built with a barrier-free philosophy, featuring accessibility accommodations for people with a variety of abilities, well beyond ADA requirements. However the vision for the center isn’t just a place where adults with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other conditions can feel welcome, but a resource for the wider community as well. By opening its services beyond its usual clients, Edwards Center is creating a place where people across a wide spectrum of abilities can interact and learn from each other. 

Dr. Jean Edwards prepares her remarks before the dedication.

Dr. Jean Edwards prepares her remarks before the dedication.

Janet Chvatal and Marc Gremm, two internationally known opera singers, perform during the dedication ceremony.

Janet Chvatal and Marc Gremm, two internationally known opera singers,
perform during the dedication ceremony.

A packed open house proceeded the event.

A packed open house proceeded the event.

About the Aloha Community Center

The 11,000 sq. ft. Aloha Community Center features four classrooms, a meeting space for community groups, a kitchen and dining room that serves nutritious, low-cost meals in partnership with Meals on Wheels People, and a cafe to enable job training for adults with developmental disabilities. Open 7 days a week, the center provides meaningful daily activities for people with developmental disabilities and increase interaction with the wider community. The center is part of a larger neighborhood development planned by Edwards Center called the Aloha Project. Later this year ten homes will be built on the adjacent property to support life-long, multi-generational family living for adults with disabilities.

About Edwards Center

Edwards Center has served adults with developmental disabilities since 1972, when there were few services outside of the state institution, the Fairview Training Center. Edwards Center began as a day program that served just 6 individuals and in 1975 opened the first group home in Washington County housing disabled adults in the community. Today they provide homes, jobs, and recreational opportunities in 18 locations serving over 300 Oregonians with disabilities in Washington and Clackamas Counties.

Edwards Center’s mission is to enhance the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities by helping them reach their highest potential through training, education, employment, housing and social opportunities in safe, healthy and stimulating environments.