The Arc of the Peninsulas serves all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan: from prenatal diagnosis through end of life care. Our programs include: Information and Family Support for parents, guardians, and siblings; Counselling Services; Life Long Learning Programs for adults in the community; Community Guides to help individuals accomplish specific life goals; and Advocacy for self-advocates, family members, and community allies seeking to make our community more systemically equitable for all people. 



"When tolerance replaces intolerance, understanding replaces prejudice, knowledge replaces ignorance, and when moving love replaces passive sympathy then and only then will they be able to live with their families and be accepted."




The first Children's Benevolent League was started in 1935 with parents from Seattle and Tacoma. Little did they know that this was the birth of an organization that would later become the leading national advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities, today called The Arc.

On February 9, 1938 the Kitsap Children's Benevolent League was established in Bremerton by Senator Lulu Haddon, and a small group of parents, and concerned individuals. This was the second League to be formed in Washington State. The League defined itself as a society dedicated for the welfare and happiness of children and adults residing in state institutions. 


In the early days the association worked to change the public perception of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and to educate parents, and others, regarding the potential of people with these disabilities. The Arc also worked to procure services for children and adults who were denied daycare, preschool, education, and work programs.


Since 1938, The Arc of the Peninsulas has provided services locally to tens of thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families on the Olympic Peninsula. In the process, it has tirelessly promoted the acceptance and inclusion of people of all abilities, advocated for the most current research-based improvements, and opened new doors in helping people achieve a lifetime of success.


Through our proud history The Arc has been a leader in securing services and advocacy for the rights of people with developmental disabilities. The Arc of the Peninsulas is affiliated with The Arc of Washington and The Arc of the  United States.


1938 - Kitsap Children's Benevolent League established in Bremerton, Washington, today known as The Arc of the Peninsulas.

1956 - Chapter founder Senator Lulu Haddon is instrumental in establishing the first special education classrooms at the state institutions. 

Senators Lulu Haddon, Percival and Wanamaker sponsor legislation to create the first westside state school, Rainier School.

1957 - The Arc of Kitsap County founds a sheltered workshop called Olympic Peninsula Enterprises.

1959 - The former Harrison Hospital building is purchased by the State to establish the Francis Haddon Morgan Center.

1963 - With the help of local legislators, Senator Francis Haddon Morgan and Representative C.W Beck, a daycare and training facility is incorporated and established, first called Forest Ridge Center, today known as Holly Ridge Center


The initial funds to establish Holly Ridge Center come from Epton funds appropriated by the legislature.  Chapter member Pat Branch is elected as the first president of Holly Ridge Center.

1968 - Lake Oakpatch, a residential center and workshop, since closed.

1971 - On June 7, 1971 The Arc of Eastern Jefferson County is founded in Port Townsend. Mr. David W. Davis is elected president. The Jefferson county group disbands in 1984.

1972 - Veronica Hoehnen wills her property to The Arc of Kitsap County. Her former residence is turned into a center for community services, socialization, and recreation for people with disabilities and is called the Hoehnen House

1974 - Francis Haddon Morgan named Executive Director.

1975 - The Arc of Kitsap sponsors and incorporates Kitsap Peninsula Housing and Transportation Association (today known as Communitas), an organization primarily set up to build group homes in the county. It was instigated by future Secretary of State Ralph Munro, who today is still a member of The Arc of Kitsap & Jefferson Counties. Arc board member Joy Isham serves as the first President of KPHTA. 

In July 1984 the KPHTA Board of Directors voted to separate the transportation section into its own nonprofit entity today called Paratransit Services.


1976 - James Campo, an Arc board member and longtime volunteer launches the Friday Night Dance in the garage at the Hoehnen House


1978 - In January of 1978, the long-standing conflict over institutional vs. community services came to a head when the Arc of Washington State, led by chapter representative Lew Isham (Chair of the Committee), filed the "Community Services Suit" against the State of Washington. The purpose of the suit was to close all state institutions and allow individuals to move back into their own local communities. 


Ironically, the same organization that formed with the purpose of creating a new state institution (Rainier School) was now battling to close down all state institutions. While appearing contradictory, the trend in goals remained consistent. In the beginning, parents worked to bring their children closer to home by establishing the Rainier School in Buckley, and they continued to dissolve the remaining separation and isolation by advocating for every person with a disability to live in his or her own community. 

The lawsuit did not represent a change in direction, but a dynamic move forward. The Arc of Washington ultimately secured an out-of-court settlement with the State.


1983 - The Arc of Kitsap County purchases its present building located on Perry Avenue. Bingo operations are moved to the building.

1984 - Kitsap Careers created as a spin off from Holly Ridge Center Adult Services, Individuals who wanted competitive employment opportunities were transferred to the new agency.

1985 - The Arc of Kitsap establishes a Parent to Parent program.

1985 - Kitsap Applied Technologies is established. Holly Ridge Center transferred its’ Sheltered Workshop contracts and clients to the newly formed agency.

1987 - Chapter member Joy Isham elected President of The Arc of Washington State, she establishes a long term partnership with Savers/Value Village creating the first stable funding source for the State Arc.

1990 - The Arc of Kitsap County establishes the Hoehnen Foundation to provide guardianship services to adults with developmental disabilities who lack financial capability to fund or fully fund these services. 


1990 - The Arc of Kitsap County contracts with a Dual Diagnosis mental health professional to provide classes to Kitsap Mental Health in the area of Duel Diagnosis. 


1995 - The Arc of Kitsap County expands its service area into Jefferson County and is renamed The Arc of Kitsap/Jefferson Counties.

2018 - The Arc of Kitsap & Jefferson Counties expands into Mason County and is renamed The Arc of the Peninsulas.

Founded by Parents
Our Timeline
Our Impact

Senator Lulu Haddon

Charter Members

Mrs. James Lawrence

Bremerton, WA

Mrs. Lulu Haddon

Bremerton, WA

Mrs. Blanche Smith

Bremerton, WA

Mrs. C.F. Vollger

Poulsbo, WA

Mr. Rex & Josephine Sproat

Silverdale, WA

Mr. Rufus Stuart

Bremerton, WA

Mr. & Mrs. A.W. Hanson

Tracyton, WA

Mrs. Mamie Leary

Bremerton, WA

Mr. & Mrs. J.A. Swanson

Bremerton, WA

Mr & Mrs. A.C. Mantell

Silverdale, WA

Mr. P. Erlandsen
Bremerton, WA


© 2019 The Arc of the Peninsulas,  a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.

Where We Are

The Arc of the Peninsulas

3243 N. Perry Avenue

Bremerton, WA 98310, United States

(360) 377-3473 |


Follow Us


  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram