LiveWorkPlay was founded in 1995 by the husband and wife team of Keenan Wellar and Julie Kingstone, supported by a small group of individuals with intellectual disabilities, their family members, and various professionals in teaching, social work, and other community services.
The organization had attracted a core of families that did not see a systems future for their children. Designed from the beginning to be an organization that improve by listening, responding, and acting, growth came in a series of small steps over a short period of time: part-time programming for teens and adults grew into a full-time program for adults and a series of exploratory projects in the areas of employment and housing.
The mission statement “Helping the community welcome people with intellectual disabilities to live, work, and play as valued citizens” offers powerful guidance as to our perspective on exclusion and our strategy for inclusion. They have clearly situated the barriers (and solutions) to exclusion with the community, and our role is not only to help people with intellectual disabilities overcome these barriers, but also – and most importantly – to help the community understand their role in ending exclusion and appreciating people with intellectual disabilities as valuable members of the human family.