The inspiration behind the founding of DEC began with a dream planted in the heart our founder, Nancy Younger. In parenting her severely disabled son David, Nancy struggled to cope with sorrow, fear, and even occasional anger. But she discovered a way through those feelings and was soon compelled to offer support and encouragement to other parents struggling to care for a special needs child. She understood the challenges and had learned firsthand the serious impact it could have on a family. However, Nancy also learned that her close relationship with the Lord was the source for her strength and the ability to cope. And it was that special relationship that comforted her during some of the darkest hours of David’s life. Throughout the process, God was leading her to share that hope and comfort she experienced with other parents. It would still be some time, however, before His plan for her life would be fully revealed.
Fifteen years later, in the summer of 2008, Nancy was presented with a unique opportunity. Due to a serious downturn in the California state economy, the social service agency she was affiliated with decided to close their satellite operations in both Arizona and Nevada. The news was devastating. This wonderful group of clients and staff had been together for many years, forming a close knit family relationship. What would happen to the people she cared so much about? Where would they go? After breaking the news to everyone, Nancy soon found herself inundated with requests. Staff, clients, their families, and numerous support coordinators approached her, requesting that she consider opening her own agency. After much discussion with other professionals in the field and after long and prayerful consideration, Nancy and her husband Sky decided to take a leap of faith and open an agency.
Knowing there would be many hurdles to navigate, Nancy quickly began the process of forming what would soon be known as Developmental Enrichment Centers (DEC). The new agency was registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission on September 9, 2008 and the initial DDD vendor contract was awarded on October 15, 2008. In less than than 4 months, all the hard work and effort was rewarded. DEC officially opened for business December 1st, providing services to developmentally disabled children and adults in northwest Maricopa County, Arizona. While there were many struggles along the way, God faithfully provided all the necessary finances and equipment to meet the new program needs. One of the greatest blessings came when Pastor Dan Lind, of Faith Bible Church, along with their board of elders, agreed to allow DEC the use of the brand new church facility located off 59th Ave, north of Bell Road.
Considerable thought went into the development and program design for DEC and the manner in which service would be delivered. Every decision was based on the desire for excellence in all things. DEC was created to be a special place where their son David and other children and adults like him, could find friendship and acceptance; a community of joy where families could find resources and support; a place that offered HOPE!
Today, in honor of David’s memory, DEC continues to grow and expand their services and we are presented with another wonderful opportunity to watch God at work in the lives of those with a heart for the disabled.