History of ARS
On a cold January morning in 1972, the Oriental Services Center (OSC) opened with borrowed tables and chairs in an old church basement in Little Tokyo serving just 12 clients from House of Happiness, a board and care facility run by Ray and Iris Chee. After a few years, OSC officially became Asian Rehabilitation Services (ARS) in 1975 under the direction of Sachio Kano and Seigo Hayashi and established itself as a 501 C-3 Nonprofit organization with the State of California.
From our humble origins, ARS has today grown into an agency that uniquely and actively supports a diverse population with developmental challenges or disabilities, in the areas of personal adjustments, job development, work programs and a variety of social services and programs. While ARS was originally focused on the needs of developmentally disabled individuals of Asian ethnicity who did not speak English, but also faced a stigma within Asian communities, today the organization’s programs and services reach across race and class to all individuals with special needs.
ARS works with several regional centers in Southern California to provide job placement assistance and services to developmentally challenged clients with conditions including, but not limited to, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism.
Today, ARS continues to build on our legacy serving traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities. In addition to growing our job services for individuals with special needs, ARS is expanding our programs to engage with communities to address issues facing veterans, the homeless, and other areas of social justice and economic equality.