Agency History

Serving Individuals with Special Needs Since 1954


  • The San Fernando Valley Association for Retarded Children, Inc. (later doing business as New Horizons) was founded  in 1954 as a non-profit by parents of children with Down syndrome.
  • Eight classrooms were built to serve 100 children with special needs and other disabilities.


  • Expanded training classes and leased facility in Northridge for Workshop program with initial enrollment of 54 adult clients.


  • The State of California began educational services for children ages 3-22 with special needs.
  • New Horizons changed its focus to providing services for adults with special needs.
  • The agency changed its name to San Fernando Valley Association for the Retarded, Inc.
  • A 20,000 square foot workshop was completed in 1975 to serve 200 adults in a work training setting.
  • The first group home was opened for six young men with developmental disabilities at 15859 Parthenia Street with the support of The Questers.


  • Six group homes were built, providing homes for 36 adults.
  • The Brite Lites Theater Company was established as a dance troupe for clients with special talents in music and dance.  The Brite Lites began serving as outreach ambassadors to the community.
  • Supported Employment program started in 1988-1989.


  • Sam’s Café Project, an 11,000 square foot banquet hall and professional kitchen providing food service training to clients was opened in 1990.
  • The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) awarded New Horizons a grant to build two new group homes.
  • Supported Living was launched as a pilot project, to support clients who wanted to live independently in their own homes or apartments in the community.
  • An endowment fund, now called New Horizons Perpetual Foundation, Inc., was established.


  • New Horizons received a grant from HUD to build three residential group homes, one specifically for those who needed increased medical care.
  • The Windows to the Future $4 million fundraising campaign was launched in 2001 to help expand client program services, facility upgrades and the endowment fund.
  • Job Club, Vision for Tomorrow and Pathways were initiated to provide pre-job training to clients.
  • Independent Living Skills program was established for clients in transition from group or family living situations to independent living.
  • Workshop contracts began to grow, with over $1million in goods being packaged from 2005 onward.
  • New Horizons adopted new strategic plan and mission statement: New Horizons empowers individuals with developmental disabilities to fulfill their dreams.  Through partnerships, community education and advocacy, we create a brighter future in which our clients are accepted by, participate in, and add value to the community.
  • In 2012, New Horizons received a HUD Grant to develop a group home for individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Alzheimer’s.


  • New Horizons receives a City grant to build additional classrooms for the Day Training Center.
  • New Horizons purchases land at 15705 Parthenia Street adjacent to the Center for Future Development
  • The agency files revised Articles of Incorporation with the name change from the “San Fernando Valley Association for the Retarded, Inc.” to “New Horizons:  Serving Individuals with Special Needs.”  Restated bylaws are also adopted.
  • New Horizons is awarded a HUD grant to build Reseda Ranch, New Horizons 13th home.
  • In 2012, New Horizons received a HUD Grant to develop a group home for individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Alzheimer’s.
  • New Horizons is awarded a grant from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to provide a travel training program for individuals with special needs.
  • Construction is completed on the second floor of the Annex Building from funds dedicated to the construction from the Capital Campaign that built the original structure.


  • New Horizons transitions to calling clients “Members,” as the agency understands how important they are to the whole. And that we continue to be a place of belonging.
  • During COVID, New Horizons begins offering virtual and in-person day program services, with a mandate of leaving no Member behind.
  • The agency adopts a long term, far reaching strategic plan which emphasizes growth along with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
  • While currently servicing 500 Members desiring to work in the community, a pledge is made to more than triple the size of New Horizons Employment Services program by fiscal year 2027.