A nonprofit organization

20 donors

In 1947 Mrs. Bernice Kussell realized that children with disabilities in the Arizona State Hospital where she worked were not having their needs met.  Hospital staff was unable to take the time to provide personal contact and attention to these children who were left to sit alone day after day .  After watching children desperately reach out to staff for just the smallest affection, Bernice decided to take action.       Bernice opened her own home to the disabled children of her community and began providing the care that was lacking in state facilities.   She quickly found these children were capable of much more than was expected of them and began to develop a program that gave the children opportunities to learn and be engaged in the world around them.  She poured over the latest research and invested all of her resources into building a program that promoted the pursuit of independence and community involvement for the children she served and loved.     After growing beyond the capacity of her own home in 1951, she founded Valley of the Sun School and Habilitation Center.  This center was one of the first of its kind in Arizona, and as the children grew older, services were expanded to support adults and community members with disabilities as well.     In order to serve more individuals, the school moved from its location on McDowell Road and 33rd Avenue to a larger campus at 1142 West Hatcher Road, Phoenix in 1989.  After refocusing the agency’s efforts to provide additional services to the community in 2009, the center was re-branded as VALLEYLIFE.  Today, VALLEYLIFE remains a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  A staff of more than 400 well trained individuals delivers the highest quality of services to approximately 450 Members annually.  Our Members experience a wide spectrum of disabilities including mild to profound cognitive, mobility, hearing, and/or vision disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s, autism, serious mental illness and traumatic brain injury.     During an interview, Bernice’s daughter Bertie Krell, was quoted as saying, “My mother would be so pleased to see what has become of the center that meant so much to her.”  We are honored to be the torchbearers of Bernice’s legacy and are dedicated to continuing to provide the care and compassion for our Members that Bernice provided for so many years.  With the continued support of our friends, partners and donors, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

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(602) 371-0806