History

Reflecting back. Looking ahead.

To truly tell our history, you’d have to tell the histories of every family we’ve worked with. Every person we’ve touched, and who touched us. The real credit goes to the families and professionals who started Sesdac, and changed thousands of lives.

In the Beginning

On March 13, 1973. Dr. Don Monroe and other concerned citizens organized a first community meeting to launch what would become The Southeast South Dakota Activity Center, known today as Sesdac. Those attending the first meeting were Henry Cobb, Mel McKinney, Lois Frickey, Helen Manley, Mister &Misses Merle Offerdahl and Don Monroe. Other early committee members were Paul Hasse, Fern Wirth and Pat Michels.

In August, 1973, a location was secured at 5 Market Street, Vermillion. A part-time program operating two hours per day was initiated in September, 1973 and at that time six individuals were served. Bruce Latta was hired as the first director of the Center.

Sesdac was offering year-round services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing recreation, socialization, and a spectrum of training and habilitation on an integrated but different level than a Sheltered Workshop or Adjustment Training Center such as the ones located in Mitchell and Sioux Falls.

old flyer

[click to enlarge flyer]

Through the Years

In January of 1975 the Services were expanded to include a residential program designed to provide board, room and supervision for individuals not only from Vermillion, but from outside the Vermillion area as well. The first group home was located at 325 Center Street and had ten residents.

Also, in 1975, Sesdac was incorporated as a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing support and services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.In 1976, Funding for operating the Center came from the Department of Social Services. Grants from the Department of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Special Education, and from private foundations have been obtained too. Subsidies from the Clay County Commissioners, the City of Vermillion and the Vermillion Civic Council has helped the Center to implement additional services.

In 1976 the agency grew to support 14 individuals.

In 1977 the construction of a new Center located at 207 Duke Street started and was finished in January of 1978.

Throughout the years, Sesdac has continued to evolve and expand its services to include residential/supported living, day services, supported employment services, job coaching, transportation, medical services, guardianship services, and family support services. Additionally, Sesdac operates Vermillion Public Transit which provides essential transportation services to the community.

In 2008, Sesdac embraced a Person Centered Thinking Initiative, allowing individuals with disabilities to have a voice in the services they receive.

Sesdac is accredited by the Council on Quality and Leadership, which is a testament to the high-quality services and support provided to individuals with disabilities and their families.

Today

Sesdac supports about 75 adults living in Clay and Union counties, and serves about 120 families in southeast South Dakota through its Family Support 360 Programs and employs about 120 people.

Sesdac and the people supported play a big role in our community and meet the staffing needs for a variety of businesses in town. We also provide many Volunteer and Internship opportunities for students and other community members who are interested in our services.