Rainbow Acres was founded in 1974, but existed as a dream long before. Rev. Ralph Showers grew up to be an accomplished American Baptist pastor and a social visionary, but spent much of his childhood struggling through school with learning disabilities, including dyslexia. He dreamed of creating a place where adults with developmental disabilities could lead lives guided by meaning, purpose, dignity and spiritual strength. Through physical, emotional and operational setbacks, this dream survived to become Rainbow Acres – a special place where miracles occur every day.
In 1996 Rev. Gary W. Wagner became the President and CEO of Rainbow Acres, and continued building on the philosophy of the “whole life concept” developed under Ralph Showers’ leadership and his unique vision.
Over the past twenty years Rainbow Acres has developed programs that are “firsts” in a residential facility for persons with disabilities: The Yamaha Clavinova Connection, Neurodevelopment therapeutic practices based on the Glenn Dolman, Carl Delagato methods in conjunction with the American Christian Neurodevelopmentalist; and Fine Arts Painting with renowned artists Michael Redhawk and Marlys Mallet, instructors. The Worden Lifelong Learning Center was created and includes a computer lab, continuing education programs, Socrate’s Cafe, multimedia library, and numerous short courses. The Animal Education and Equine Program has expanded with a new barn, allowing space for horses on the Ranch in recent years. Rancher “crews” have grown and flourished.
In the past, Parents, Guardians and Houseparents cared for the medical needs of the Ranchers. Today, the Health and Wellness Program and team of four nurses and a records clerk keep the Ranchers on the road to good health.
Ranchers at Rainbow Acres longed for “jobs in town” and off-Ranch volunteer activities. In response to this need the Vocational Program was established, for both on and off Ranch employment opportunities. Today over 30 Ranchers work in the surrounding communities.
Since 2001, Rainbow Acres has added 15 new buildings for the full benefit of the Ranchers. There are twelve modern homes; the Palmer Community Center for dining, events and everyday activities for the Ranchers; a new Barn and outbuildings; and two four-plex apartment buildings for more independent Ranchers. The real estate value of land and facilities has grown to over $16 million.
The ranch, once double–wide trailers and a grain barn, has grown into a 50-acre, state-of-the-art facility capable of housing 130 Ranchers in beautifully furnished homes and offering many enrichment programs.