04 January 2016

The Salvation Army Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) is celebrating 35 years of doing the most good!  DDP was founded in 1980 to transition individuals with developmental disabilities from institutions into community settings.  Since then, the program has grown and evolved to serve more than 200 individuals in the region. 

“The Salvation Army is very proud to be part of the work you do,” Major Martha Bone, Social Services Secretary for The Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania, told DDP staff during a huge anniversary event in October.

DDP provides residential and day programs for adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities and autism in Greater Pennsylvania and Delaware. Staff, clients and friends gathered on the Spirit of Philadelphia for a day cruise on the Delaware River. The chartered yacht set out on the water, packed with smiling guests who enjoyed a buffet lunch and a lively dance party to mark the milestone. 

 “It was clear the dance floor was too small, but definitely they had a great time,” said Maureen McGlinchey, Executive Director, The Salvation Army’s Developmental Disabilities Program.

 “Seeing all the happy faces on the boat, you can tell we were doing something right,” added Christy Cugno, Delaware Director, DDP Community Options/Supported Employment.

Christy heads up the Delaware DDP’s Creative heArts program, which provides clients with the opportunity to use creative expression, hone their artistic talents, produce vibrant works of art and make meaningful connections with others. Artwork has been shown in Philadelphia and throughout the state of Delaware. Designs have been crafted into a line of cards featuring Christmas and everyday designs, some used by the Salvation Army for Christmas cards. 

“It’s a really good way for us to show the abilities not disabilities,” she said. “It opens people’s eyes.”

Over the last two decades both women say they have noticed the public’s perception of individuals with developmental disabilities has shifted tremendously and positively, thanks to television roles, news stories about achievements and mainstream inclusion in education.  The 35th anniversary party celebrated this increased acceptance of individuals with disabilities, as well as the DDP staff’s commitment to raising awareness.

“What motivates us all is to help fulfill the dreams and desires of the clients we serve to the utmost we can.” Maureen said. “We’re a family, and we help them through all of their lives.”