Building a Workshop

In about 1948, the parent group of the El Monte Cerebral Palsy School, looking to the future, had paper drives, rummage sales, sold Stanley Home Products and Christmas cards (our biggest money-maker) to raise money. We decided to build a workshop for the handicapped. A parent who was a cement block builder, said he could get enough blocks and brick masons to build a 4,000 square foot building in a few weeks – all donated FREE. A lady across the street from the school offered to give us her property to build on. We thought we were in business. Then she could not get a clear title. Ganzer Roland from the Union Pacific Railroad, had a friend who was in advertising, placed a story in a Pasadena newspaper telling of our problem. Joe Jurovic read the article and gave us a large lot next to the El Monte airport to build on. Then came time to build. No blocks and No help! We got on the telephone, also went to the lumberyard to the hardware stores etc. to get donated materials. It took one year to build, working most every weekend. Clarence Herndon and Ganzer Roland plus a handful of other parents took part. All of the materials and labor were donated, except for the steel beams which had to purchase at cost of $4.000, which we had accumulated during our many fund raising projects. That was all the money we had. We did not receive any government assistance for all the construction of our first workshop nor for any of our building projects which followed.

The workshop opened in June of 1962, with parents running the workshop and we also opened a thrift shop at the same time. The thrift shop was in operation from June of 1962 until 1985 – 23 years! The thrift shop workers all donated their time. In 1971, because of a street extension, the workshop had to move. We were compensated for our 4,000 square foot building. A parent found the property, with its beautiful view of the mountains, on which the workshop is now located. We made enough money from our original workshop to rebuild. We have had our workshop for the handicapped for 50 years. We then built the residential facility, which opened in 1985. A team of three women shopped for about one year furnishing the homes – bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms – pictures, bedding, pots and pans, dishes, lamps etc. and at last, it was ready to move into. It will be 28 years in January.

We have one of the best workshops and homes in Southern California and we are very proud. We also have good, special people working for us at both facilities.