ACT is a Columbia, Missouri based organization that provides support to hundreds of individuals with disabilities throughout mid-Missouri.


Our goal is to foster opportunities to members of our local community who seek inclusion and independence in their lives.

Founded in 1975 out of a desire to achieve this within the Boone County community, ACT has evolved as an established CARF-accredited organization that continues to actively and effectively develop personalized services to meet the needs of children and adults with disabilities and their families.

ACT HAS BEEN ACCREDITED BY CARF SINCE 1987, ALWAYS RECEIVING THE MAXIMUM THREE-YEAR CERTIFICATION.

What does it mean to be CARF-accredited?
Through the services we provide, we continually demonstrate our commitment to excellence and embrace the proven standards for quality in all of our business practices.

Vision

ACT’s vision is an inclusive community where everyone belongs, participates, and is valued.

Mission

ACT provides opportunities to individuals with disabilities as participating members of the community.

Values

  • A professional, well-trained, compassionate staff
  • Individuals exercising their right to self-determination
  • The involvement of family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers
  • The rights of individuals with disabilities
  • Innovative, person-centered supports
  • A safe and positive environment
  • A well-managed, efficient business
  • Stakeholder partnerships
  • A diverse culture where everyone is appreciated
  • Celebrating successes

Our History

Over the decades, ACT has grown into an organization unlike any other in the region.

While many nonprofits and organizations like us are limited in the resources they can provide, we’re able to provide a wide variety of services and programs to individuals with disabilities in mid-Missouri.


Milestones

1975

Turn back to 1975…
Columbia’s population was half the size it is today. College students donned earth tones, sideburns and long hair. It was a time of change and innovation — a fertile time to explore new ways to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities. In this special time ACT was born. ACT began in 1975 with a clear mission — to always provide the most effective ways to meet the educational needs of children with disabilities.

1987

A new era begins…
Alternative Community Training, Inc., ACT, is the organization’s new name.

National Certification Awarded
ACT receives accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The organization is the premiere accrediting organization in the rehabilitation field. ACT has earned the maximum certification every three-year period since 1987.

Community Work Program Gets a Boost
ACT is one of the first in Missouri to initiate a new program—the ACT Career Services Program. The Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation grant helps ACT fulfill the goal of providing long-term support to clients working in the community.

1989

New Building Opens
ACT opens its new location at 2200 Burlington in Columbia, MO.

1990

Home Sweet Home
ACT clients find their own apartments and homes through the new Community Living Program. It is the first individualized Community Living program in the state supported by the Medicaid Waiver.

2012

New Services
ACT begins providing personal assistance and other services through a new department, In-Home services.

2016

The End of Organizational Employment Services
This is the year ACT was able to reshape agency culture and take an individualized approach to providing employment services.

New Culture, New Vision
ACT updated the vision statement to say “valued” instead of “accepted”

Through the Decades: A Detailed History


The 70s

1975 (+)

The dream comes true
Woodhaven School, Inc. is established with the goal of providing educational services for children with disabilities. The school is guided by the following original statement of purpose:

To provide for the physical, moral and intellectual welfare, training, development and education of children and adults with disabilities.

1978 (+)

Work and inclusion emerge as goals
A federal grant triggers a strong program to meet the needs of 55 youth attending Woodhaven School, Inc. Known as the Vocational Habilitation Project, it breaks new ground by emphasizing the belief that individuals with disabilities can be gainfully employed in the community. The University of Missouri-Columbia Department of Special Education is a project partner with the school.

The 80s

1980 (+)

Habilitation Center forms
The Woodhaven Habilitation Center becomes a reality in order to train adults with disabilities for work.

Connecting to the community.
Two community-focused programs develop. While the programs had many names throughout the years, they primarily are known as the Occupational Resource Center and the Community Education Center. The Occupational Resource Center focuses on equipping adult consumers for work while the Community Education Center helps school-age individuals maximize personal, social and mental skills.

1981 (+)

Helen Keller National Center affiliation
The school becomes a recognized service provider for persons who are deaf and blind and ACT develops a relationship with this nationally recognized program.

1983 (+)

Groundwork laid for the future
Initial steps are taken to provide mid-Missouri’s first work-training program for individuals with disabilities preparing to work in sheltered workshops.

1986 (+)

Building plans take shape
Plans develop to build its own facility on Burlington.

1987 (+)

A new era begins
Alternative Community Training, Inc., ACT, is the organization’s new name.

National certification awarded
ACT receives accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The organization is the premiere accrediting organization in the rehabilitation field. ACT has earned the maximum certification every three-year period since 1987.

Community work program gets a boost
ACT is one of the first in Missouri to initiate a new program—the ACT Career Services Program. The Missouri Division of Vocational Rehabilitation grant helps ACT fulfill the goal of providing long-term support to clients working in the community.

1989 (+)

New building opens
ACT opens its facility at 2200 Burlington.

The 90s

1990 (+)

ACT boosts business feedback
A Business Advisory Council is established to better know the needs of employers and employees working in the community as part of the ACT Career Services Program.

Home sweet home
ACT clients find their own apartments and homes through the new Community Living Program. It is the first individualized Community Living program in the state supported by the Medicaid Waiver.

1991 (+)

Tape recycling business begins
Videocassette tapes fuel ACT’s ambitious goal to develop its own venture to employ individuals in the ACT Works Program. The idea finds immediate success from tape donors and purchasers throughout the country.

1992 (+)

Hollywood teams with ACT
The nation discovered ACT and its videocassette recycling program. Hundreds of thousands of tapes became available as a result of a nationwide campaign by the entertainment and advertising industries. Known as Project Charlie, the effort involved the biggest media names in the country— from 20th Century Fox to Turner Broadcasting. A promotional video also was produced featuring Bob Saget, host of America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Click to view the promo

1994 (+)

Donations continue
Media attention and donations of video cassette tapes continue.

1995 (+)

ACT recycles disks
America’s computer surge opens a niche for ACT to begin recycling hundreds of thousands of computer disks with help from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and local software giant, DATASTORM.

Services expand
Employment services now serve individuals beyond Boone County with the addition of Randolph County as an area of service.

1996 (+)

ACT supplies GreenDisk
ACT’s recycled disks gain a national market through a new relationship with distributor GreenDisk, a manufacturer of high-quality recycled computer diskettes and related products.

1997 (+)

Expansion continues
Cole County individuals now receive ACT employment services.

1999 (+)

Thinking “Green” earns honor
ACT’s recycling program draws a top Achievement Award from the Missouri Waste Control Coalition.

The 2000s

2000 (+)

Honor validates mission
The Missouri Governor’s Council on Disabilities presented ACT the 2000 Community Enhancement Award. The award, for the Affirmative Industry Program, now known as ACT Works, reflects ACT’s vision to make possible dignified employment a choice for every person.

New logo adopted
The logo symbolizes ACT’s partnership with every consumer and stakeholder. It is a partnership of support and assistance leading to new levels of enjoyment in life for each individual.

2003 (+)

Registered nurse joins ACT
A registered nurse is hired to help oversee health issues for persons in the Community Living program.

2004 (+)

ACT expands
The Community Integration day program begins renting space in the “Blue Building,” conveniently located across the street from the main facility.

2005 (+)

CDS added to enhance employee training
ACT joins providers across Missouri to provide online training to direct service staff through the College of Direct Support.

2006 (+)

ACT expands
Community Living and ACT Career Services move to new office space at 2205 Burlington

Behavior Therapy program
ACT hires a Behavior Therapist to provide behavioral support for individuals in the community and those already receiving services from ACT.

2007 (+)

Grant for new machines for ACT Works
A $50,000 EIERA grant is approved for the purchase of a VHS tape disassembly machine and a plastics granulation machine to be used to facilitate ACT’s recycling efforts.

2009 (+)

Community Advantage program launches
This program, dedicated to providing meaningful interaction for seniors in the community, becomes an essential part of Community Integration.

ACT expands to 2207 Burlington
ACT Career Services opens in new office space at 2207 Burlington.

ACT’s new Training Center is inaugurated at 2207 Burlington.

Therap Services added
ACT begins using Therap for electronic documentation and communication.

The 2010s and Beyond

2010 (+)

Career Services Recognized
The Missouri Rehabilitation Association recognizes ACT Career Services as Service Provider of the Year.

New logo adopted
The logo symbolizes ACT’s partnership with every consumer and stakeholder. It is a partnership of support and assistance leading to new levels of enjoyment in life for each individual.

2011 (+)

Behavior Development
The Behavior Therapy program becomes Behavior Development Services. Registered nurse joins ACT
A registered nurse is hired to help oversee health issues for persons in the Community Living program.

Social Media
ACT develops plans for social media and an electronic newsletter.

2012 (+)

New Services
ACT begins providing personal assistance and other services through a new department, In-Home services.

Seamless Transition Through Enhanced Partnership (STEP)
A collaborative program called STEP begins. STEP is designed to provide students with disabilities who are at risk of unemployment or underemployment following high school graduation with career exploration, job skills training, and job placement services during their senior year of high school.

Operating Reserve
ACT establishes its operating reserve policy.

RN
RN is added to ACT’s Community Integration staff.

2013 (+)

Best Practices
The Seamless Transition through Enhanced Partnership (STEP) program receives the “Cutting Edge Award” from the Missouri Association of County Development Disabilities Services (MACDDS).

Show-Me-Career Grant
In partnership with Boone County Family Services, Columbia Public Schools, Central Missouri Regional Office, Moresource, Services for Independent Living, State Vocational Rehabilitation, self-advocates, and family members of individuals with disabilities, ACT is awarded the Show-Me-Careers Grant. The grant is geared toward increasing community employment for one key cohort, youth and young adults, ages 16 through 30.

2014 (+)

Forward progress
Changes to the Waiver Definition result in changes to the ACT Works program. Community employment must be the goal for anyone receiving employment services at ACT.

Vehicle Grant
Community Integration receives first new lift van from Federal Grant.

CoMoGives
ACT participates in CoMoGives for the first time, raising money to that goes exclusively to purchases that will assist individuals receiving ACT services.

2015 (+)

40 years
ACT celebrates 40 years in business

Job Preparation Services
ACT’s Job Preparation program, previously known as ACT Works, begins providing services in various settings and utilizing both group and individual models.

Vehicle Grant
Community Integration receives second new lift van from Federal Grant.

2016 (+)

AMVAC
ACT’s recycling business transfers ownership to American Military Veterans Corporation in St. Louis, MO.

2017 (+)

Person-Centered Approach
ACT implements person-centered thinking and practice in program and activity planning.

Service Flexibility

Development of new Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) training for all employees

2018 (+)

All ACT staff receive HCBS training

After-School Youth Program (ASYP)
ACT’s new after-school program is launched, which combines recreational and community-based activities in a safe and healthy environment that provides the solution for many families.

Continually improving services
ACT takes additional steps toward enhancing and increasing community opportunities in ALL services.

Expanding Beyond Our Mission

As a nonprofit, we not only understand the need to come together to improve our community, we embrace it. That’s why we take the initiative in every service and program we provide to offer our assistance to other organizations through individual and staff volunteering.

Individuals and staff regularly give back to the community as volunteers for:

  • Daniel Boone Regional Library
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Daniel Boone Little League Challenger Baseball
  • TriZou
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Second Chance
  • Central Food Pantry
  • VA Hospital
  • Adopt-A-Spot
  • Puppies with Purpose
  • Lenoir Woods
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Rainbow House

Is your organization looking for volunteers?

Contact us today to see what ACT can do for your nonprofit.

Contact ACT

ACT is also a proud member of these organizations:


Join the ACT Team

ACT is seeking positive and enthusiastic employees to provide assistance and instruction to individuals with disabilities.

If you are interested in a career supporting individuals with disabilities, join us and help make a difference in someone’s life. You must be willing to embrace challenges and accept great rewards. We invite you to consider ACT when seeking employment and/or work experience in the human services field.

ACT is an equal opportunity employer.

Find out more about the available job opportunities at ACT.

Learn More About Careers