Mission Road Ministries

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Full History

1975

The Votaw-James homestead, Mission Road’s Administration Building, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1976

First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio began their sponsorship of Mission Road Foundation.

1978

The Mission Road Foundation name was changed to Mission Road Development Center, MRDC.

1979

In June, Mrs. Clifford Bledsoe (Adele) passed away.

1980

Opened the campus home Bledsoe, the first ICF-MR (Intermediate Care Facility-Mental Retardation) in San Antonio.

1981

Opened the community home Lee Hall, an ICF-MR home.

1982

Successfully completed a $3 million capital campaign.

1983-1985

Completed Leon D. Glasscock Medical Center, Stumberg Vocational Center, Kronksoky Cottage for children. And finished the historical restoration of the Votaw-James Homestead building on the campus.  The Votaw-James Homestead received the San Antonio Conservation Society award.

1986

Opened Independence Square Apartments next to the Mission Road campus; apartments provide supervised, semi-independent living for adults.

1987

MRDC led the establishment of Respite Care of San Antonio to provide relief care for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities.

1990

Completed central laundry facility and a new training kitchen in the Work Activity Center on campus.

1991

Opened Mockingbird, an adult community home.

1992

Opened Kopplow, an adult ICF-MR home in the community.

1993

Opened Mabee, an adult ICF-MR duplex, to relocate the campus Bledsoe residents to the community.

1994

Successfully completed $3 Million capital campaign.

1995

Opened Pryor & Coy, the first off-campus transitional home for children.

1996

Opened a licensed Day Activity and Health Services program for persons with intellectual developmental disabilities. Completed the Murray Manor Apartments. MRDC became a licensed Home and Community-Based Services (HCS) provider.

1997

Mission Road’s 50th Anniversary. Opened four new campus cottages.

1998

Opened Covenant, an adult ICF-MR home in the community, to replace the Lee Hall facility.

1999

Opened the Education and Training Center on campus; and opened Vailcrest, MRDC’s first HCS home.

2000

MRDC established Mission Road Ministries as the umbrella organization to MRDC and the apartments.

2001

MRM completed a $1.2 million capital campaign to construct three new homes for children and to expand its Endowment Fund. In July of 2001, Unicorn Centers, Inc. merges with the Mission Road Ministries family of agencies.

2002

MRDC became a Consolidated Waiver Program provider, a licensed Child Placing Agency. And opened the new Bledsoe Cottage for children on campus.

2003

MRDC initiated its Foster Care Program. Opened Larkspur and Sandpiper (two childrens community homes). Converted Pryor & Coy to HCS adult homes. Opened the Meadow Brook Apartments.

2004

A new home for Unicorn Centers, Inc. was purchased at 4630 Hamilton Wolfe Road. The new 28,000 square-foot Unicorn Centers is more than triple the size of the previous facility on West Avenue and is able to serve approximately 200 more customers.

Bob Murray retires as President and CEO after dedicating nearly 30 years to the preservation, growth and exceptional enhancement of our client care.

Toby Summers accepts this invitation of the Mission Road Board of Directors to serve as President and CEO of Mission Road Ministries. *Toby happily agrees to a three-year term of service.  As of 2019, we remain grateful to continue to have Toby Summers serving in his 15th year of his “three year commitment!”

2007

Mission Road Ministries celebrates 60 years of serving children and adults with Intellectual and developmental Disabilities. Sixty years ago, the Bledsoes began serving a few children with disabilities. Since that time, Mission Road has grown to currently serve more than 800 persons with IDD, each day through the organization’s various programs & services. 2007 was a banner year.  The redesigned logo & Web site were introduced, Mission Road was challenged to raise a matching grant of $100,000 from the Richmond Family Foundation & Mission Road was issued a $1 million challenge grant by Sue & Jesse Oppenheimer to raise $1 million to fund the Jesse H. & Susan R. Oppenheimer Center for Programming & Recreation.  Mission Road met the $1 million challenge. Also, Golf San Antonio granted Mission Road $100,000 toward the refurbishment of the gymnasium.

2009

Mission Road broke ground on the Oppenheimer Center.  The Oppenheimer’s $1 million challenge was matched by generous donors & the entire project was increased to a $4.1 million campus improvement project, to include new gate, entrance, fencing, refurbishing the gymnasium to be used as an open-air pavilion, lighting, renovations of the Chapel & more. A Foundation Dedication for the Oppenheimer Center was held in May.

2010

The Oppenheimer Center was completed with a grand opening held in April. Mission Road purchased 2 homes, Los Indios & Sugar Hill, as HCS adult community homes. The SOAR (Summer Outreach & Recreation) children’s program was opened to include children with IDD from the community.

2011

The 13th off-campus home Windgap was opened for adults with IDD.  The Darlene Kay Segler Pavilion was dedicated.

2012

The 14th off-campus home, Rambling Trail was opened for adults with IDD.

2013

The 15th off-campus home, Bradley Creek, was opened for adults with IDD. The 16th off-campus home. Cozy Trail, was opened for adults with IDD.

2014

Completed construction on phase one of the Frank Fisher Memorial Fitness Park made possible through the generosity of Pastor Jim De Hoog, Mrs. Shirley Fisher Kline and the Mays Family Foundation. A 1/4 acre paved walking trail including nine exercise machines (5 of which are wheelchair accessible), and covered outdoor classroom. 2016 and 2017, professionally landscaping was added with special attention to plant textures and smell for deafblind clients.

Mission Road was chosen by the Castleberry family to be a recipient of a grant from the Castleberry Family Charitable Trust at the San Antonio Area Foundation for restoration and upgrades to our historic home and administration building. Built in approximately 1880, the Votaw-James Home, a national historic landmark, is a two-story, rock home on the banks of the San Antonio River. It has served as a client home, infant nursery, school, kitchen and offices for the clients and staff of Mission Road since our founding in 1947. The Castleberry grant allowed for the installation of a new, metal roof, repair and replacement of windows (7 original windows!) and rain gutters, replacement and repair fragile bricks and mortar damaged in a fire in 1980 plus interior plaster repair, lighting, and both interior and exterior paint.

Eagles Nest classroom was constructed at the rear of the campus overlooking our extensive playground and trees.  Eagles Nest is the 7th classroom serving clients participating in our Free.To.Be Day Activity Program. Eagles Nest curriculum is specially designed for clients eager to participate in robust physical activity, daily off-campus field trips and excursions, and frequent participation on community events and volunteering.  The construction of Eagles Nest also included – and required – the design and construction of our drive way, parking and fire lanes offering upgraded client security, pick up and drop off safety plans and long-lasting concrete design to serve generations to come.

2015

Design, planting and dedication of the Virginia and Clark Munroe Olive Orchard at Mission Road made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Jess Womack. More than 50 volunteers planted 250 olive trees with the guidance of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. Annual harvesting of olives should commence as the trees grow and mature.  A tranquil prayer and sculpture garden was dedicated in 2016 featuring a custom made, bronze sculpture with the likenesses of two life size Mission Road children and our beloved boxer, Oreo – designed by local San Antonio artist, Donna Dobberfuhl.

Completed construction and opened Cynthia’s Pool made possible through the generosity of George and Barbara Williams. This is a state-of-the-art swimming pool and water park especially designed for people with IDD. Designed and constructed by Keith Zars Pools.

2016

Accepted HandsOn as a new program within Mission Road Developmental Center serving the residential and day activity needs of adults with diagnoses of deafness, blindness and IDD. HandsOn serves 26 clients living in four single family homes.

2018

Realigned Unicorn Centers as a named program within Mission Road Developmental Center allowing better stewardship of our limited funds by eliminating the need for multiple annual audits, inter-company account transfers, duplicate reporting to grantors and donors and allowing new streamlining and efficiency across the organization. Pastor Jim De Hoog is named director of Unicorn Centers.

Broke ground on our new Harvey Najim Children’s Cottage. This safe and modern home is made possible through the generosity of Harvey Najim. Mr. Najim’s gift isan unsolicited grant allowing Mission Road to serve more children and adults by providing state-of-the-art residential facilities serving children with IDD who have been rescued from abusive or neglectful families.

Completed Unicorn Center Capital Improvement Project adding more than 4,000 square feet of new client program space and storage area. Also included in the project are an outdoor, covered sport court, expanded safe driveway and parking lot, drainage and infrastructure improvements culminating in an attractive, colorful and safe facility of 31,091 square feet.