History of OVCS
Ozark Valleys Community Services, Inc. was founded by Sister Geralyn Klenke. She entered the Sisters of St. Mary August 10, 1954 professing her vows in 1962. She served as chief financial officer for St. Mary's Health Center in St. Louis, MO until 1970, then as a novice mistress and director of novices for five years. She was appointed to the Board of Senior Services of Missouri by Governor Bob Holden and served on the State Rehabilitation Advisory Council. Her passion was to help people with developmental disabilities live a productive, safe and successful life. In 1975 she founded OVCS. It was incorporated on July 20, 1976 as a non profit residential program for 32 developmentally disabled adults, ages 16 to 40 years of age. The first resident was accepted April 15, 1978, after extensive renovations to the former Arcadia Valley Hospital. Licensing from the Department of Mental Health, Division of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities was obtained before opening. Since 1978, the program has served an abundance of people in the residential setting, many moving on to greater independence. It became evident that in addition to providing a home, there was a need for day time activities. After carrying out various instructional programs for a few years, a sheltered workshop, Valco Enterprises, was independently opened in 1982 by a local board of citizens, but closed after one year. OVCS applied for and received a license as a Day Activity Program in 1984, with emphasis on vocational activities through development of a fine craft business, employing persons with disabilities.
A new turn was taken in 1988 when a commitment was made to Supported Employment and a full time Job Coordinator was hired. A Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) contractual agreement was sought and obtained as of September, 1989, committing OVCS to the various forms of Community Employment: individual jobs, mobile crews and enclaves. In 1988, a contract was entered into with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for funding of the Community Employment Program. In March, 1990, OVCS opened a Recycling Center serving Iron County. The Mobile Crew was created allowing job opportunities to five people with disabilities. In October of 1995, it was found necessary to close the center due to cost of operations. In April of 1996, OVCS transferred operations of the Craft business over to SB40 of Iron County in an effort to conserve funds and emphasize on OVCS’ Mission toward independence. In August of 1993, OVCS entered into an agreement with Mental Health Services in Farmington to assist persons with mental illness to find jobs through the Community Employment Program. In 1995, OVCS’ contract with DVR was amended to include Work Stations in Industry (WSI) for persons with less serious disabilities.
Another move by OVCS was made when an apartment program for three men was established as of August, 1989, on the premises of the large facility. Within three years all 32 people living in the Residential Facility were moved into the local community with their approval and the cooperation of their families and guardians. The large facility was closed down. In August, 1993, OVCS entered into a Medicaid Waiver Agreement with the Department of Mental Health for supervised living. OVCS continues to accept additional people into the ISL program and to provide Community Integration services to people outside their natural homes. OVCS is Certified for ISL services by the Department of Mental Health.
OVCS has came a long way since the day Sister Geralyn Klenke's dream came true. OVCS has gone digital with electronic documentation and verification, abides by HCBS and Title VI rules, teaches and practices positive behavior supports in supporting the Individuals.
We continue to proudly carry out the mission, vision and values OVCS has adopted through the years.