DMC founder to retire after 46 years
One can’t help but recall the character, George Bailey in the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life” and his impact on his community when wondering what might have happened to hundreds of developmentally disabled individuals living in an underserved region if Doni Pederson Martin hadn’t come to town. Martin’s imprint on the lives of these individuals, their families and on the cities of Corning and Pocahontas began in 1971. She arrived as a VISTA volunteer, working through Black River Area Development to survey Clay and Randolph counties for individuals with developmental disabilities who were not being served by school districts. Seeing the immense need, in 1972 Martin founded the Pocahontas Day Service Center or Community School for Exceptional Children and served as its director. In 2007, she was honored when the institution’s board members announced the name of the school would become The Doni Martin Center for Developmental Services. Since it’s inception, the institution’s educational instruction and assistance has impacted the lives of hundreds of students, adults and their families.
The center is a tribute to the work and efforts of Martin, whose vision reached far beyond the confines of Pocahontas, where the center took root some 46 years ago. Since its beginning in a small building in an old school house in Pocahontas, it has branched into three centers there which include facilities for preschool and school age children, an adult center and a local group home, along with the center in Corning, and the Independent Living Center in Corning.
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