History

Founded on Compassion

Theodore and Beverly Farkas simply wanted the best situation for David and Martha, their two children with developmental disabilities.

Unfortunately, 50 years ago, when David and Martha were infants, the Farkases didn’t have many options. They knew they couldn’t care for the children at home, but they weren’t interested in the prevailing alternative of that time: a state institution with limited visitation privileges.

So, they combined their love for their children with a creative vision and developed what they named Damar (combining the names of their two children) Homes.

Today, the organization we know as Damar Services has built upon their legacy of compassionate innovation to become a leader in service to children and adults with developmental and behavioral disabilities. Along the way, it has pioneered treatment, services, and best practices now employed across the nation.

1967

Damar Homes Incorporated

The late 60’s and early 70’s were a time of radical change that gave birth to an activist movement comprised of families, advocates, and service providers determined to develop better services and provide the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to millions of people who just happened to be born a step behind. Theodore and Beverly Farkas, parents of two children with special needs, were a part of those radical changes. Unable to find a way to give their children the extra care they needed, they chose instead to create the environment they wanted rather than accept the unacceptable. With vision and determination, they began a journey that started in July of 1967 with a $500 loan from Beverly’s father, and culminated in February 1970 when the doors opened and Damar accepted its first resident.

1972

First Residence, with 16 beds

In February of 1972, fifteen children filled the first 16-bed residence, and by July, Damar had a waiting list for children in need of services. That Christmas, the long-standing tradition of volunteerism at Damar began when a handful of Indiana Bell employees hosted a Christmas party for residents.

1983

First Group Home

Damar extended its services into the community when it opened its first Group Home in 1983. This group home, the Elizabeth R. Frink Residence, opened in Plainfield, Indiana.

1993

First On-campus School

In August of 1993, Damar opened its first on-campus classroom in cooperation with RISE Learning Center. Damar Academy opened its doors to educate Damar students whose needs could not be met in the public school system.

1995

BASE (Behavioral Alternative Secure Environment) Program

To serve children suffering from previous incidents of abuse, Damar developed and established the Behavioral Alternative in a Secure Environment (BASE) program. Today, Damar’s BASE program offers a secure therapeutic environment where adolescents learn how to reduce inappropriate behavior and develop the positive social skills needed for more independent living.

1998

Community Living and Support Services (CLASS)

On April 6, 1998, Damar Community Living AND Support Services (CLASS) launched. Through the CLASS program, Damar provides a dynamic continuum of individualized and life-enhancing services to those in communities across central Indiana who choose to live as independently as possible — either in a family home setting, with roommates, or in their own homes or apartments.

2000

First Community-based Transitional Home

Perry House, Damar’s first community-based transitional living home, opened. Damar’s unique Transitional Living Services program enables children and youth with severe developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges to transition to and remain in the community.

2006

Outpatient Mental Health Service

Damar began its outpatient clinic in 2006 and is now able to serve hundreds more individuals and their families, providing a full-range of specialized psychological counseling and consultative services. Services are now offered in client homes and the outpatient counseling offices.

2010

Fully Licensed Damar Foster Care

In 2010, Damar introduced its Foster Care Services, a fully licensed, not-for-profit child placement agency that works on behalf of children who are unable to live at home to recruit, prepare and support quality foster parents.

2011

Damar Charter Academy

Damar Charter Academy (DCA) emerged in 2011, the result of a successful collaboration between Damar Services, Inc. and the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Education Innovation. As a public charter school, it offers parents from across Indiana a much needed, free educational alternative for their children with special needs.

2013

Damar ABA Clinic at Geist

Recognizing the demand throughout central Indiana for therapeutic services in accessible locations, Damar selected a Geist-area location for its new Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Autism Services clinic on Indianapolis’ Northside.

2014

Damar DNA

Developed by an expert team led by licensed child psychologist and autism expert Dr. Jim Dalton, Damar DNA training was created to help prepare participating organizations and their teams to ensure that families with special needs receive appropriate, considerate, supportive and dignified service and assistance when needed.

2015

Damar Serves 1,500 Clients Daily

Today, Damar Services remains steadfast in its commitment to improve its service to the community and to those facing life’s greatest developmental and behavioral challenges. Damar continues to refine its programs and explore new means to improve the quality of life, independence, and empowerment of the children and adults it proudly serves.

2017

Damar’s 50th Anniversary

In 2017, Damar Services will celebrate an exciting milestone: 50 years of providing services to our clients.