The Parents’ Cooperative Society, since its inception in 1961, is about Families Helping Families.
In the late 1950s a small group of Spokane area families came together with a common goal: safe, kind and skilled support for a child with what we now refer to as intellectual and developmental disabilities. In the 1950s the only options were caring for their children at home or placement in a state institution. These pioneers forged a new path: community based residential and social supports for persons with I/DD. They were among the first settlers in the neighborhood-based industry we take for granted today.
Frustrated at the lack of options for their children, in 1956 one of these parents, Kay Epton, was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. Kay authored the Epton Act, allowing families to opportunity to take the resources committed to fund institutional services and invest them in the community for local services. It was revolutionary.
Beginning with incorporation in 1961 and non-profit status in 1963, the Cooperative operated a day services program for many years in various temporary locations throughout Spokane.
By 1972, the families had raised enough funds to build Merry Glen, a residence serving (then) 24 persons in the Logan Neighborhood. Merry Glen today serves 16 Loved Ones in two locations, including two Loved Ones who moved in on the first day in 1973. As with most such services to persons with disabilities, support today is through Medicaid.
Then, as now, strategy and oversight has been the responsibility of those who receive services and their families. There is no higher authority in Merry Glen than the families, each of whom are members of our Board of Directors.
As our Loved Ones have aged so have their families. The Parents’ Cooperative began to see a need for day services for many of our broader family members, not just those living at Merry Glen.
And, as in the 1960s, the Cooperative is developing the relationships and supports needed in a world where they don’t fully exist yet, this time through DayBridge Services.
We invite you to share our vision of developing day services through
recreational day services,
each Community as quirky, diverse and inclusive as America itself.
To provide community based day services to families needing friendly support.
Our Growth Model
The Family Cooperative is working with others with a community mission to leverage all our assets to meet this need, which is not supported in a meaningful way with Medicare or Medicaid services.
- Working with church congregations and civic organizations to breathe new life into their buildings by making them centers of service for a population in need, adding new services to fulfill their missions;
- Working with older workers who may seek part-time employment in a relaxed and positive setting;
- Leveraging community resources, such as Spokane Transit Authority, Department of Social and Health Services, Comcast, and other agencies and businesses who support our efforts through in-kind and financial support.
The Family Cooperative’s ongoing mission of developing and supporting family driven, community based services is what has separated Merry Glen from other supported living providers through the years. This same passion drives us today as we develop new models of inclusive day services, an industry in its infancy.