District No. 1480

Laradon Hall

In 1948, at a time when public schools denied an education to their two sons because they were "mentally retarded," Joseph and Elizabeth Calabrese invested their life savings into the creation of a very special school - Laradon Hall.
Named after their two sons, Larry and Donald (shown below), Laradon was the first charitable organization in the Rocky Mountain region to offer support, guidance and training to children with developmental disabilities.
News of this much-needed school spread quickly and within two years, Laradon was filled to capacity. At a time when few other services were available to children with disabilities, Laradon was a blessing for the many parents who were concerned about their children's futures.
Within a short time, Laradon gained national recognition as an innovator of educational and training services for people with special needs. As referrals dramatically increased, the need for a larger facility, additional staff, and financial support became apparent.
In 1950, Laradon was adopted as the "State Major Project" of the Colorado Elks Association, a relationship that still exists today. With the help of the Elks, the Calabreses were able to purchase a larger facility and expand services to more students.
In partnership with parents, professionals, philanthropic organizations, generous community members, and the Colorado Elks, Joseph and Elizabeth Calabrese created a training center for people seeking the opportunity to expand their work skills, a school for children with special needs, and housing for people in need of a home.
Since its inception, Laradon continues to be more than an organization; we are a support network made up of people who care - and who are committed to helping people with developmental disabilities maximize their potential in a dynamic world.
Indeed, Laradon was, and still is, an extended "family" for many individuals.

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