CLEAR LAKE | Clear Lake-based nonprofit organization Opportunity Village announced its new name, One Vision, on Tuesday.
One Vision CEO Jeff Nichols said in a news release that he believes "our new name will carry us into the future while still recognizing our past.”
The organization was founded more than 50 years ago as Handicap Village by a group of Clear Lake individuals. They were seeking to provide a place for people with disabilities to connect with one another and live with privacy, dignity and purpose.
The organization’s founders accomplished this while also providing individuals a home on an 80-acre campus in Clear Lake.
Over the years, services expanded beyond Clear Lake. In 1984, the organization began providing services in Mason City and eventually added organizations in Lake Mills, Garner, Humboldt, Eagle Grove, and Choices Made Independently in Webster City to its service areas.
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“In 1994, Handicap Village changed its name to Opportunity Village to better represent who we were as an organization,” Nichols said. “As our organization continues to grow geographically and our services continue to diversify, we needed to reaffirm our vision as an organization. We are no longer a single place separate from those around us.”
In 2010, Northwoods Living and Northwoods Products & Services in Fort Dodge merged with Opportunity Village. The organization currently provides services for 156 individuals and employs approximately 160 people in the Fort Dodge area.
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In 2012, the landscape of how services were provided at Opportunity Village changed. The organization began a process of transitioning individuals living in segregated group home settings to smaller homes in communities of their choosing.
This was after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state-funded supports and services in the community, rather than segregated facilities.
The organization currently provides services to more than 550 people in numerous locations across 30 different North Iowa communities. A majority of services are provided in community-based settings.
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One Vision was selected as the new name of the organization following a months-long process that involved gathering feedback and input from staff, board members, community members and the people it supports.
Nichols said he is excited about the name change "because it symbolizes how our founders came together with a common vision and how that still helps guide our efforts today."
“As Opportunity Village did for a very long time, we will continue to do as One Vision — supporting people in numerous ways as they connect with their individual purpose," he said.