“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sioux Falls in Minnehaha County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

South Dakota Achieve

South Dakota Achieve Marker <i>(Side one)</i> image. Click for full size.
March 26, 2022
1. South Dakota Achieve Marker (Side one)
Inscription.  Beginning in 1945 several proactive Sioux Falls women sought to dispel a widely held opinion: if a child were mentally impaired and unable to attend a public school, it was a hopeless task to try to train the child to live a useful life. Dorothy Hollister believed otherwise In 1945 she launched Hollister School, a private school and the first in Sioux Falls for children who were mentally retarded. It began with one room in her home and one child, her daughter. With the help of the Sioux Falls business community, she eventually enlarged her home to accommodate 42 children. Four years later, Mary Sweeney opened a second private school, again in her home and again for a daughter. Her Hope School included a unique Life Skills curriculum with arts and crafts, music, physical education, and language development.

In January 1955, Hope School parents organized a chapter of the National Association for Retarded Children (ARC) which is now the Sioux Chapter. An ARC Workshop for the mentally retarded began in 1958. It soon became apparent that children's lives were being enriched and that basic skills were being learned. In 1963 Lue Blegen, Nita
South Dakota Achieve Marker <i>(Side two)</i> image. Click for full size.
March 26, 2022
2. South Dakota Achieve Marker (Side two)
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Hatlestad, and Carmeta Ludeman organized Faith Preschool, the city's first licensed day care center for mentally challenged children.

Local surgeon Dr. Robert Giebank donated land in 1965 for the construction of Sioux Vocational Hospital and School for the Handicapped. Onsite housing was provided by purchase of four barracks from the closed Sioux Falls Army Air Force base. Renamed Sioux Vocational School, in 1979 it became the first agency of its kind in South Dakota to be accredited nationally.

A capital fund drive raised more than $900,000. These funds allowed expansion of the facility, including food services, a work activity center, a new medical and therapeutic wing, and a remodeled administrative area. A Foundation also was incorporated to raise, manage, and distribute funds. Soon every person supported by the services was paid a wage. In 1998 when a new Conference Center was constructed on Western Avenue, a revised and novel mission statement was chosen for the agency: "We find innovative ways for people with disabilities to achieve their dreams." Renamed South Dakota Achieve in 2006, the organization celebrated 27 years of national accreditation, the longest of any similar agency in the nation.

Today South Dakota Achieve stands in testimony to the conviction and determination that people with disabilities can learn and can lead productive
South Dakota Achieve Marker at South Dakota Achieve, now LifeScape image. Click for full size.
March 26, 2022
3. South Dakota Achieve Marker at South Dakota Achieve, now LifeScape
and satisfying lives.
Erected 2008 by the Minnehaha County Historical Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkEducation. A significant historical year for this entry is 1945.
Location. 43° 30.313′ N, 96° 44.935′ W. Marker is in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in Minnehaha County. Marker is on South Western Avenue south of West 51st Street, on the right when traveling north. Located at the main entrance of LifeScape Adult Services off Western Avenue, just north of I-229, in Sioux Falls. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4100 S Western Ave, Sioux Falls SD 57105, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Great Bend (approx. 0.3 miles away); Yankton Trail Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wallner Gardens (approx. 0.4 miles away); "Mr. Soccer" Manfred Szameit (approx. 0.4 miles away); Sertoma Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); Soo Skyways Airport (approx. 0.6 miles away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.6 miles away); Ronald Reagan (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sioux Falls.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 2, 2022. This page has been viewed 78 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 2, 2022.

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Mar. 27, 2023