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Our beginning was fairly simple...families were seeking better opportunities for their children with disabilities.

"In 1957 Exceptional Persons, Inc. was created by a few visionary people with a 'can do' attitude and a determination to make the community a better place for everyone." - William E. Brown, Executive Director, 1957-1983

The 1950's

In the 1950's there were very few services for people with disabilities, only activities that families could provide or individual organizations working with people who had a specific type of "handicap." Several local leaders were determined to have activity centers within the community for people with "handicaps."  There was no one entity to coordinate this community effort.

The Beginning

EPI was created to facilitate and coordinate the development of local activity centers, and as it turns out, a variety of other services, programs, organizations, and agencies. Before services could be developed, agreements were put into place to clarify how services would be funded. With EPI coordinating the effort, soon there were seven activity centers in the community.

The commitment, values, and ideas of many community leaders decades ago melded an organization that continues to be a moving force in the twenty-first century. The community effort was characterized by committed people with a sense of partnership and foundational values that have stood the test of time.

Through The Years
1957 May 21, 1957, EPI is officially incorporated to provide program planning, service coordination, and advocate for people with disabilities.
1957 Bill Brown named founding Executive Director 
1960 EPI establishes Goodwill Industries chapter in the Cedar Valley to provide vocational skills to those with disabilities.
1961 Goodwill Industries spins off as a separate and independent agency.
1961 EPI begins transportation services for children and adults with disabilities. (Service phased out in 2020 when residential services began keeping vans on site).
1969 EPI establishes a group home for men.
1971 EPI opens a group home for women.
1972 EPI begins lending durable medical and adaptive equipment to people who do not have insurance, allowing them to stay in their own homes.
1974 EPI establishes Key 7, which later becomes Adults Care, Inc., which later becomes Adults, Inc., which is now North Star Community Services
1976 Adults, Inc. becomes a separate and independent agency.
1976 EPI starts offering Child Care Resource and Referral services.
1982 EPI begins Supported Community Living Services for people with developmental disabilities.
1983 EPI names Gary Mattson Executive Director
1983 EPI began offering a counseling program for people with mental disabilities and their families.
1983 EPI becomes the administrative agency for the Child and Adult Care Food program.
1984 EPI begins residential and counseling services for people with traumatic brain injuries.
1988 EPI begins residential and counseling services for people with both intellectual disabilities and mental illness.
1989 EPI first offers Respite services for families who have children with disabilities. (Respite services concluded in 2016).
1991 EPI begins an Early Intervention program, for families who have a child up to age three with disabilities.
1995 EPI creates CHOICE Adult Day Care (now known as Day Habilitation) and Supported Employment programs.
1998 EPI names Chris Sparks Executive Director
1998 EPI assumes the operation of Independence Haven, an organization providing services to people with mental illness.
1999 Exceptional Persons Foundation is established.
1999 EPI purchases an 8-plex on Paige Drive in Waterloo.
2000 EPI purchases three residences for use as HCBS program sites.
2001 EPI completes construction of an 8-plex providing additional housing to people with disabilities.
2002 EPI purchases an additional residence in Waterloo.
2004 EPI becomes accredited by CARF for Community Living, Respite, and Personal and Social Services.
2005 Exceptional Bargains, EPI retail store/employment training center, opens.
2005 Child Care Resource and Referral program achieved Quality Assurance in consumer education.
2006 EPI Deery Center opens and becomes the home to the CHOICE program, Children and Family Services and Community Services Children's program.
2008 Multiple Sclerosis Services decides to dissolve and EPI assumes delivery of services for persons with Multiple Sclerosis. (MS Advocacy & Counseling services concluded in 2019).
2008 EPI begins offering Payee Services to the community.
2010 Exceptional Bargains, EPI retail store/employment training center, closes.
2013 EPI's Payee Services office opens on University Avenue.
2014 EPI becomes a BlueZone designated worksite.
2015 EPI's Day Habilitation program becomes 100% community integrated - a program without walls.
2016 EPI's Pedersen, Dowie, McCausland (PDM) Center opens providing additional space for service delivery supervisory staff.
2019 EPI's Hawkeye Child Development Center - ALC opens through a partnership with Hawkeye Community College
2022 EPI Names Katie Slade Executive Director
2023 EPI created My Life, My Way  - a supported community living (SCL) program providing endless opportunities within the community offered during days, nights or weekends.
2023 EPI's transportation & auto repair services closes. 

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