1962 was a pivotal year in the development of the Sheltered Occupational Shop, Inc. SRVS’ founding program. The occupational workshop was developed by parents who desired a safe work environment where their sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities could earn a competitive wage, learn valuable job skills, build a strong work ethic, and enhance their self-confidence and self-esteem. Through house-to-house fundraising, bean dinners, petitions, and partnering with other organizations, enough money was raised to open the doors of SOS on Nov. 1, 1962.
The early 1970s marked another advancement in services to people with intellectual disabilities in Memphis. In 1971, the first group home was established at the Old Kennedy Hospital, now the University of Memphis South Campus, by MARC (Memphis-Shelby County Association for Retarded* Children). In 1973, MARC’s Adult Activity Center was founded to provide intensive day services for people with intellectual disabilities.
In 1980, MARC’s Adult Activity Center and MARC House, Inc., merged to become MARC Services, Inc. MARC Services then acquired a number of smaller housing agencies. MARC Services and SOS Industries merged in July 1983 to form Shelby Residential & Vocational Services, Inc., now known as SRVS (pronounced “serves”).
The late 1980s and early 1990s brought a number of new programs to SRVS. The Children & Youth Department, known as Community Living Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), was formed for children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities. The Employment Concepts program began finding jobs in the community for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Family Support program was created to provide assistance to families in the community with loved ones who have disabilities.
In September 2013, SRVS opened its first satellite Learning Center in Covington, Tenn. with another satellite opening in Collierville on July 31, 2014. On July 9, 2014, SRVS merged with Special Kids & Families to create a new program, SRVS Kids. On June 30, 2015, SRVS Industries closed.
Today, SRVS supports more than 2,400 individuals through a variety of programs and services. We are now the only agency in Shelby County to provide services from birth through end of life.
SRVS programs and services include: Community Living, SRVS Kids, Community Employment Services, Family Support and Elderly and Adult Disability Services.
*This term was used in the past to describe individuals with disabilities. SRVS is committed to using people-first language and does not currently use this term to describe individuals with disabilities.