Orion Communities began in 1977 when several Chester County citizens saw the need for people with disabilities to become more fully integrated into the community. Orion began in Kimberton by establishing a crafts workshop for people with disabilities as well as supporting several family homes where people with disabilities could live in a family environment.
In 1990, Orion began reaching out to additional members of the community who required assistance, including the those needing emergency assistance, who fall through the cracks of other agencies or who didn’t know where else to turn. Orion has never sought to duplicate services. Rather, because we do not receive government funding, we can be flexible and provide services to individuals and families that may not meet the strict requirements of other organizations.
In 1999, Orion moved its office from Spring City to Phoenixville in order to be more connected to the larger community. Our office is on the bus route and is wheelchair accessible.
During Orion’s 40 years of service, we have developed a reputation of listening to the needs of the community at the ‘street level’ and changing the programs we offer depending on the most urgent needs of the community. Being grassroots, Orion is able to respond quickly to the most pressing needs of our community.
Orion has incubated several new organizations over the years such as Open Hearth and, more recently, the Latino Outreach Project, now known as the Alianzas Center. Orion is here to serve our most vulnerable neighbors in need and our community.
Why the Name Orion?
During 1977 a community group decided that the vision of helping neighbors in need and a possible new organization required a name. After some discussion the group decided that the name of a stellar constellation would be appropriate since stars have always represented looking up, looking toward something. Orion in mythology is the hunter. We took this mythology and changed it to a person or community hunting and seeking a better way to live together and serve each other.