CDR is a remarkable story of the power of community. It was founded 50 years ago by volunteers from the St. Martin’s Episcopal Mission’s education committee. Long before anyone knew that early learning was critical for brain development, these volunteers were concerned about children in our community who had disabilities or delays and had no early childhood education program to turn to. The volunteers knew instinctively that there was only a short period of opportunity for getting these very young children and their families the support they needed to learn and grow. They founded CDR as a way to meet this urgent need.
1965 CDR is founded as the Williamsburg Preschool for Special Children.
1972 The Preschool serves 12 children in two classrooms at St. Bede’s Church.
1974 The Preschool expands to five classrooms in the basement of the Williamsburg United Methodist Church. Therapists are added to the staff.
1976 In response to legislation that guarantees a free and appropriate public education for Virginia’s children with disabilities over the age of two, the preschool shifts its focus to serving infants and toddlers and expands its mission to include training for child-care professionals. The organization’s name changes to Child Development Resources to reflect its expanded role.
1978 CDR moves to rented space on Centerville Road in Lightfoot, Virginia, and wins its first national outreach grant to help others use its team model for serving infants. CDR’s first Bid ‘n Buy Auction raises $2,500.
1980 After a successful capital campaign to purchase the building on Centerville Road, CDR expands facilities to include a Child Diagnostic Center.
1983 Under a federal demonstration grant, CDR develops and operates the Bright Beginnings program for at-risk infants and toddlers in collaboration with Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools.
1985 CDR helps to develop Virginia’s Early Intervention Program Guide.
1989 Increased funding from the Colonial Services Board allows CDR to offer year-round services.
1990 A capital campaign begins to raise funds for a new facility on donated land in Norge, Virginia. The First Steps Child Care & Development Center opens at Griffin-Yeates in York County.
1991 CDR receives a federal contract to provide training for inclusion of children with disabilities in six state Head Start programs.
1995 With a challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation and support from a caring community, CDR’s capital campaign raises $1.6M and the agency moves to a new, specially designed facility in Norge, Virginia.
1996 A First Steps Child Care & Development Center opens at Lafayette High School, Williamsburg, Virginia.
1997 CDR is chosen as one of seven Early Head Start sites in Virginia and begins serving 66 babies and their low-income families.
2000 A second capital campaign raises $620,000, and a second building is purchased and renovated on the Norge campus. CDR significantly expands services, and a First Steps Child Care & Development Center opens at Jamestown High School, Williamsburg, Virginia. A Williamsburg Community Health Foundation grant supports the 566-TOTS line, which answers families’ questions about child development. CDR launches 1-2-3 READ!
2001 Bright Beginnings joins CDR’s Infant/Toddler Connection. CDR wins an Early Head Start expansion grant to add 50 children.
2002 CDR, along with community partners, is awarded one of five federal Communities of Excellence Awards for its model of blended services, including the 757-566-TOTS line for infants, toddlers, and their families in the greater Williamsburg community.
2003 CDR assumes management of the Comprehensive Health Investment Program (CHIP), introducing economies of scale and shared staff and facilities to reduce CHIP’s annual budget by $260,000 while increasing services to the 170 low-income families it serves. CDR serves almost 500 children a year.
2004 All three First Steps Child Care & Development Centers receive NAEYC accreditation. CDR serves approximately 1,000 children with disabilities and developmental delays, or children who are at risk and their families.
2005 CDR receives a $500,000 Governor’s grant for the Kids First Coalition to improve early care and education services. The 27th annual Bid ‘n Buy Auction raises $82,000 for children’s services.
2006 CDR receives a federal $1.2 million, five-year grant for Investing in Fatherhood to support the important role of fathers in early childhood education.
2007 Virginia Department of Social Services signs a $1.2 million contract with CDR for 1-2-3 READ! to promote early literacy in Virginia.
2008 CDR is selected to lead the Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network to improve the quality of care and education of very young children by raising the educational level and improving the skills of their caregivers.
2009 CDR receives American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to convert the automotive shop at Lafayette High School into four state-of-the-art Early Head Start classrooms.
2010 Williamsburg Community Health Foundation selects CDR as their Healthcare Hero. The 32nd Annual Bid ‘n Buy Auction raises more than $100,000 for children’s services.
2015 CDR launches a year-long celebration of its 50th Anniversary!