Bona Vista is a non-profit rehabilitation center based in Howard and Miami County in Indiana that was founded in the 1960s as a developmental school. Since then, it has expanded into an agency that serves all of north central Indiana. Its services for children and adults include vocational and industrial services, job placement, therapies, supported living, and other programs.
Bona Vista Timeline
From 1958 to present, Bona Vista has been hard at work helping our community and those who live in it realize their fullest potential.
1958 – Bona Vista School for children with disabilities begins in September at 317 West Walnut Street in Kokomo.
1959 – Bona Vista receives a used school bus donated by Robert Boughman so that children may be transported to the school.
– Mary Kay Brown is named Director of the Bona Vista School.
1962 – Bona Vista publishes its first newsletter called the “Bona Vista Beacon.”
1964 – The Kokomo Firefighters begin a long-standing tradition of a Christmas party for Bona Vista’s students, families and supporters.
1965 – In December, 33 students begin going to class at the newly built Bona Vista building, located at 1220 East Laguna Street in Kokomo.
1966 – A sheltered workshop is opened at Bona Vista.
1967 – A 700 sq. ft. addition to the current building creates an industrial area for adults with developmental disabilities.
– Enrollment in the Bona Vista School reaches 53 students.
– Danny M. Tye is named Executive Director of Bona Vista.
1968 – A pre–school pilot program begins.
– Thomas J. Jones is named Executive Director of Bona Vista.
1970 – Paul F. Wagner, Jr. is appointed Executive Director of Bona Vista.
1971 – The Bona Vista Workshop moves to 1257 East Morgan Street in Kokomo.
1974 – An independent-living training project starts in Kokomo.
1976 – Bona Vista receives funds through the state’s Title XX program.
– First early childhood/pre-school screenings by professional staff offered at Laguna Street facility.
1977 – Bona Vista receives Kokomo’s first summer speech camp and hearing clinic.
– The first residents begin living in a new group home in Kokomo.
– The Bona Vista Workshop expands its services to 1205 South Plate Street in Kokomo.
– Bona Vista opens an outpatient rehabilitation therapies center.
1978 – Groundbreaking for the East Laguna Street building expansion
– Bona Vista’s community newsletter, the Companion begins distribution.
– Beginning of “Infant Follow Along” program designed for early detection and intervention of children in their first three years with delays in developmental growth.
– Jill Dunn is named Assistant Executive Director of Direct Services.
1979 – The new expansion to East Laguna Street is completed.
1980 – Bona Vista Programs offers a new job development program that includes yard and handyman work as well as janitorial services.
– Bona Vista begins aluminum can recycling center.
1981 – Bona Vista Programs becomes CARF accredited.
1982 – Bona Vista receives an audiology booth, expanding current audiology services.
– The City of Kokomo and Bona Vista join together for a cooperative transportation system for individuals with disabilities.
1983 – Bona Vista leases building on East Dodge Street to expand BVI.
1985 – Bona Vista expands its preschool services to Peru.
– Bona Vista begins providing vocational evaluations and work adjustment services to clients at Gateway Center in Peru.
1987 – Jill Dunn accepts appointment as President of Bona Vista Programs.
– Bona Vista begins an independent living program
– Bona Vista begins a homebound intervention program for infants and toddlers as well as adviser services for parents.
1988 – Bona Vista in Kokomo and Gateway in Peru officially merge.
– Two group homes in Kokomo and one group home in Peru are planned.
1989 – Bona Vista begins community support employment services.
1990 – Bona Vista hosts first Street Strut event to raise funds for pediatric services.
– “Building Visions” capital campaign lays the financial groundwork for a major renovation to the Kokomo facility and a new facility in Peru.
1991 – Bona Vista opens a group home on North Broadway in Peru.
1992 – Bona Vista opens the new 7,000 sq. ft. addition to East Laguna Street in November.
1993 – Bona Vista at Gateway moves into the newly built 105 South Benton Street facility.
1994 – Bona Vista begins providing early childhood intervention services in homes.
– The Bona Vista Angel Sale begins, thanks to a partnership with Z92Five and WIOU. The angel “Shining Star” makes its first appearance.
1995 – Soupley’s Wine and Spirits starts “The Greatest Spectacle in Tasting” to benefit Bona Vista.
– Sycamore Financial begins the “Penny Harvest,” later named “The Coin Harvest,” to benefit Bona Vista.
– Gateway/Bona Vista renames two of its services, Positive Results Therapies and Keys For Kids Preschool.
1997 – Bona Vista opens Keys for Kids daycare service in Peru.
1998 – Bona Vista makes and sells “Valentine Bears.”
– Positive Results Therapies opens a facility on East Hoffer in Kokomo.
– Bona Vista on Benton Street in Peru offers free developmental screenings.
– Bona Vista receives Early Head Start grant to help fill the needs of pregnant women and children birth to three years of age who meet low-income standards.
1999 – The Laguna Street playground is built.
– Keys For Kids Preschool\” holds its first graduation in Kokomo.
2000 – OBRA (Omni-Bus Reconciliation Act of 1987), which provides transportation for adults living in nursing homes to necessary services, begins at Bona Vista.
2001 – Bona Vista receives the building at 1221 South Plate Street in Kokomo from Miller Beverage Company. Renovation begins in February and is completed in August.
– Positive Results Therapies opens outpatient office at Miami Medical Plaza in Peru.
– Bona Vista begins Parent’s Night Out, Sizzling Summer Science and other enrichment classes for children.
2002 – The Box Store becomes part of the Bona Vista family.
2003 – Amie Shurig is the first recipient of The Betsy Mason Scholarship fund for students accepted into a speech and hearing program at an accredited college or university.
– The City of Firsts Kiwanis Aktion Club, established by consumers working at Bona Vista Industries, begins regular meetings at Bona Vista at the Crossing.
– The American Montessori School opens at Laguna Street.
– Bona Vista receives a grant through Child Care Resource and Referral and establishes Child Care Solutions.
2004 – Bona Vista purchases preschool computer lab equipment through a grant from Tech Point Foundation of Indiana.
– First art project event entitled “Steers on the Square.”
– “Putt-Around-Kokomo” special event begins.
– Early Head Start earns the NAEYC accreditation for programs that meet the highest quality in early childhood programs.
2005 – Bona Vista presents “The Dog Days of Summer,” its second art project event.
– Bona Vista Industries becomes ISO 9001–2000 certified. This achievement opens up international job possibilities for Bona Vista’s consumers.
– Bona Vista receives the NAEYC accreditation for their full-day preschool program.
2006 – The “Last One Standing Dodge Ball Challenge” annual fundraiser begins.
– Auction–Packed is acquired and joins already established Box Store.
– American Montessori Academy opens at Laguna Street facility.
– Bona Vista presents “Beautiful Benches,” its third art project event.
– The Bona Vista Foundation is established.
2007 – The Adapt-Abilities program begins.
– Mobility Solutions, a driving evaluation program, is established.
– WorkForce Diversity begins School to Work Transition Program to help high school students transition into the workforce.
– Child Care Solutions occupies the third floor of the Buckeye Street building, donated by attorneys Bayliff, Harrigan, Cord & Maugans, P.C. The WorkForce Diversity School to WorkTransition Program moves into the first floor.
2008 – St. Joseph Hospital purchases Positive Results Therapies in Howard County from Bona Vista Programs.
– Bona Vista establishes Positive Results for Kids and begins focusing on additional services for children with autism.
– The Bona Vista Foundation holds its Tapas for Tots fundraising event.
– Positive Results for Kids offers free parent education classes.
2009 – Cinderella Ball, a Foundation event, begins. Bona Vista holds the 11th annual event at the Kokomo Country Club.
– EHS receives expansion funding.
– The Box Store now offers metered mail and courier service.
– EHS Federal Review.
– The agency intranet was established.
2010 – The Box Store & Auction Packed move to a new location, 1226 E. Hoffer St.
– Early Childhood Service began a Kindergarten Readiness program for children ages four and five years old.
– New agency trademark was announced.
– Bona Vista luncheon held featuring Oz Nelson, former UPS Chairman and CEO.
– Paths To QUALITY press conference and provider level recognition.
2011 – Two new group homes in Kokomo begin.
– "A Knight to Remember" Mother & Son special event begins.
– The Run, Walk & Roll special event begins.
– The building at 1800-1804 S. Plate St was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Max Hinkle. Adapt-Abilities and Personal Care Services will operate out of the Hinkle building.
2012 – "The Vista" housing project is announced.
– Personal Care Services began in May
– A satellite office was opened at 593 Westfield Drive in Noblesville. WorkForce Diversity and Supported Living Services are offered to the community.
– A new event, Baby and Kids Expo, is announced.