The Beta Sigma Phi Society hosted the first organizational meeting on June 10, 1955 at the YWCA for parents, friends and individuals interested in seeing an Association formed. Their motto was “Don’t let a retarded child become a discarded child”. The Rotary Club of Woodstock and the Knights of Columbus were first to each give $25.00 donations to support this Association.
- Reg Hill became the President
- Garfield Slemmon became the 1st Vice-President
- Les McKerral became the 2nd Vice-President
- Nancy Campbell became the Recording Secretary
- Doris Baker (Beta Sigma Phi) became the Corresponding Secretary
- Ruth Hill became the Treasurer
Also, Harry Henderson, Chairperson of the Rotary Crippled Children’s Committee was on the Ways and Means Committee. Classes were organized for children with developmental disabilities to start in September at the Moose Lodge.
On November 1, 1958 the Rotary Club took on the project of raising funds for a new school. The Agency was incorporated in October 1959 as Woodstock and District Association for Retarded Children. In April 1960, the Nash property north of Devonshire Avenue was purchased for the school, with the official sod turning ceremony taking place on March 9, 1961. The Rotarians supplied transportation for intown pupils, driving over 1,000 miles a year until the School Board took over in 1969. Volunteers from the Rotary Club were still driving for the Nursery School until the end of 1971.
WDDS has grown over the years in response to the needs and wishes of people with a developmental disability, their families and the community.