Challenge Unlimited, Inc., formerly known as Specialized Services, Inc., was established in 1959 as an Illinois nonprofit corporation. The organization was created by a group of parents of adult children belonging to the Madison County Association for Retarded Citizens. The parents wanted their sons and daughters to participate in some form of productive activity and hopefully gain vocational experiences that would lead to employment.
In August, 1960, Specialized Services, Inc. opened its doors to six developmentally men and women and services were provided by two staff members. The agency was incorporated as a non-profit organization and certified by the Department of Labor to pay persons with disabilities under a Sheltered Workshop certificate for work performed according to each person's abilities. The agency grew rapidly to 50 participants and a new building was purchased to allow for increased need and services.
In the 1980’s Residential Services of Madison County was formed with a single group home. The State of Illinois requested that our agency take over a large residential facility in Troy, IL and this facility was downsized and ICF-DD and CILA homes were built to provide homes for approximately 100 residents. This company is now known as Residential Options.
Alpha Industries was added to the family of agency companies in 1995 to offer Affirmative Enterprise opportunities for persons with disabilities along with individuals with disadvantages. The emphasis with an affirmative enterprise is to offer a mix of persons with and without disabilities and offer role model mentoring in a production or service work setting.
Specialized Services changed its name to Challenge Unlimited to coincide with the philosophy of providing a more community integrated level of programming, vocational opportunities and activities.
Providing quality products and services was and is our continuing goal. Employees and clients work or participate in vocational training at businesses throughout the community and at state and federal sites.