More than 65 years ago, Phoenix realized a great need to provide services to people with disabilities. The community realized the great value in helping these individuals discover their full potential and lead productive, meaningful lives. Through the generosity of over 10,000 members of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), each of whom donated an hour’s pay along with volunteer time, Gompers was able to build a facility and begin changing lives in Phoenix. The only recognition requested was that the organization be named after long-time AFL president Samuel Gompers.
Since its inception in 1947, Gompers Habilitation Center has been an organization of innovation and inspiration in Phoenix. Gompers is committed to serving adults and children with disabilities in the community through programs of Special Education, Day Training for Adults (DTA), and Vocational Training and employment placement. Currently, Gompers serves more than 350 individuals in two state-of-the-art facilities.
Gompers Private Day School serves students ages 5-22 in a dynamic, caring environment that promotes each student’s education. With small class sizes, we are able to tailor our education program to meet the specific needs of the individuals that we serve. We partner with parents, educators, school districts, therapists, and nurses to provide a unique experience for each student that allows them to experience growth and academic improvements.
Gompers Day Training for Adults (DTA) program is built around one premise: personal empowerment. The program provides services to individuals ages 18 and older that focus on individualized training in life skills, community integration, social skills, pre-vocational skills and much more. Gompers strives to provide meaningful opportunities to help participants grow and achieve their goals while having fun!
Gompers Vocational Program allows individuals to explore their vocational interests in a supportive environment that encourages growth and mentorship while receiving bi-weekly compensation for their work. Gompers goal is to provide the training and assistance needed to obtain community employment.
Gompers was founded and able to thrive for over 65 years due to the generosity of others. Because the Phoenix community has been so supportive, it is the goal of Gompers to instill in our program participants and staff a spirit of giving back. We believe that everyone has much to offer, and we are proud to provide proud to provide opportunities for our program participants and our staff to know the feeling that comes with giving of themselves to those in need. Whether it’s assisting the elderly, packing food bags or rewinding cassettes for the blind, Gompers knows the value of being an asset to the community.
Each month, Gompers DTA program volunteers between 500-600 hours at local organizations, including DUETS, St. Mary’s Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, Glendale Parks and Recreation, Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library, among others. Volunteerism is much more than an item on the monthly activity calendar; it is an endeavor that generates great pride within the individuals at Gompers.
Because Gompers promotes empowerment and self-advocacy, all individuals are given a choice as to whether or not they attend the volunteer activities. In November of 2012, a group of individuals from one the DTA program rooms demonstrated how deeply they value volunteerism. One the day of the annual Gompers Thanksgiving Lunch, an organization-wide holiday party that includes visits from professional sports team mascots and a dance, this room was scheduled to volunteer to help serve lunch at St. Vincent de Paul. Every person was given the option of staying back at Gompers to enjoy the celebration; and every person elected to fulfill their volunteer commitment. When asked why they made this choice, one participant simply said “we made a promise to them, and they needed us.”
Gompers takes great pride in the fact that our program participants are able to work side by side with our staff to give back to our communities. Every day, our organization strives to grow more and give more, to make our community better.