For most people, it’s impossible to imagine what it would be like raising a
child with special needs. For those families who have a child with special
needs, the challenges seem overwhelming. In Bend, being very rural in nature
in the 1970’s, the challenges were even more overwhelming due to the minimal
resources available in the Central Oregon area. This forced families to travel
to the Portland area and farther, in some cases, for specialized help. The
community realized a crucial need and the idea for specialized therapy for
children and training for parents was born.
A board of directors for the Preschool for Developmentally Disabled
Children, supporting children 3 years to 5 years, was formed. Judy Hatch,
Susie Hatch, and Marilyn Robinson, members of the board, coordinated
space in the basement of the Methodist Church. With the support of other
agencies and individuals, therapy and training groups for families
throughout Central Oregon were provided.
Alyce Hatch was an active volunteer in the community at various churches,
schools, and agencies. She was sought after by many individuals and
organizations for her gentleness and her caring personality. Over the years,
Alyce joyfully accepted being a God-Mother to over 50 children around
the community. Sadly, in 1984, Alyce passed away and the community
mourned a great loss.
At that time the preschool was quickly outgrowing the basement of
the Methodist Church. Alyce Hatch’s family gathered together to discuss
what options were available to preserve Alyce’s memory in the community.
From that meeting, Robert Hatch, donated $50,000 to build a new structure
for the preschool in memory of Alyce. With that seed planted, the
community began working together to bring the Alyce Hatch Center to
Local contractors, businesses, and individuals came together to
purchase the land, design the architecture, donate time and/or materials
to build the building, and create the playground. The entire facility
was built with local support with kids in mind, adding a perfect
atmosphere for early childhood development. In 1985, staff and children
were moved in to begin therapy programs. And the Alyce Hatch Center
became a reality.
Since that time, the Alyce Hatch Center has served as Central
Oregon’s core location for Early Childhood Development. Now, 17 years later,
the board of directors consists of ten community members,
two of them being Alyce Hatch’s daughter and granddaughter.
It now encompasses programs for children birth to 5 years of
age for children with disabilities, developmental delays, and
children at risk. With the incredible growth of Central Oregon,
the programs for children have outgrown the current facility.
And once again, the community is coming together to support
the Alyce Hatch Expansion Project.
Alyce Hatch was an amazing woman. Our community was blessed with her gentle, caring personality. She faithfully voluneered in the community at various churches, schools, and agencies. Alyce was an active member of St. Frances Catholic Church. She was a giving soul, inviting strangers to dinner if they needed a meal and volunteering her time to anyone in need. Over the years, Alyce joyfully accept being a Godmother to many children around the community. Sadley, in 1984 Alyce passed away and the community mourned a great loss.
At that time the Preschool for Developmentally Disabled Children was outgrowing the basement of the Methodist Church, Alyce Hatch's family wanted to preserve her memory in the community. Her son, Robert Hatch, donated $50,000 to build a new structure for the preschool in memory of Alyce. The communitycame together to bring the Alyce Hatch Center to reality. Alyce Hatch's legacy lives on in this wonderful center!