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History

President KennedyIn 1963 President John F. Kennedy called for a reduction of persons confined to residential institutions “…and there to restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services.” This resulted in deinstitutionalization and increased community services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

1967

Bobby Ann Nash of Stevensville and volunteer parents founded “Guiding Hands” organization to provide services to children with disabilities. Eventually, the new organization is named Chesterwye by combining the names of the two major rivers in Queen Anne’s County, “Chester” and “Wye”.

1968

Chesterwye volunteer Board of Directors recruited

Chesterwye Center awarded nonprofit tax exempt status

1970s

Chesterwye focuses programs toward adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as Queen Anne’s County Public Schools expands services to children with disabilities

In 1972, overcrowding and inhumane conditions exposed in “Willowbrook: The Last Disgrace” led to a class-action lawsuit (New York ARC vs. Rockefeller) filed that year against the State of New York by the parents of 5,000 residents of the Staten Island state school

1975

The Education for Handicapped Children Act of 1975—now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—signed into law, guaranteeing free, appropriate, public education for all children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment

Born just one year after the historic legislation of 1975, Harry Thomas (below), completed his education in Queen Anne’s County Public Schools. He has been employed for several years at a Queen Anne’s County grocery store.

Chesterwye opens Ringgold House, the first ‘alternative living unit’ in Maryland.

Petey Thomas

1979

Dr. Harry RhodesDr. Harry Rhodes, retired Superintendent of Queen Anne’s County Schools, officiated at the groundbreaking for a new day support building on three acres of land donated by Grasonville businessman Thomas Ewing in memory of his mother Katie Cray Ewing

Funds raised at the first Chesterwye Dinner Auction go to build Chesterwye’s private residences for adults with developmental disabilities.

1980

The new Chesterwye Center opens in Grasonville, with 22 adult participants.  Some live with their family and some in homes operated through Chesterwye.

1984-2011

Chesterwye expands residential program to provide housing and support for 34 adults in nine neighborhood-based, accessible houses. Brian shows off décor he chose for his bedroom in the rebuilt Grasonville residence shared with three Chesterwye housemates. The original house was destroyed in an early morning fire at the end of 2016.

1988

Chesterwye’s custodial crew works nine contracts including at Kent Island Elks, VFW and American Legion, the Grasonville Moose, St. Peter’s and St. Christopher’s Catholic churches, Galilee Lutheran and Grasonville Methodist churches, the Maryland Marine Police and Stevensville Village Apartments

1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26.

2008

New 2200 square foot addition opens at Chesterwye Center featuring a commercial kitchen, program space, medical suite and offices.

Chesterwye

2018

New Chesterwye residence opens in Stevensville, MD in partnership with Queen Anne’s County government, featuring state of the art technology for adults with developmental disabilities who require assistance with physical and medical needs.

Chesterwye Residence