Creative Community Living Services, Inc. (CCLS) was founded in 1973 for the purpose of providing community-based living arrangements for people with developmental disabilities - an idea that was very new at the time. CCLS (originally named Christian Community Living Systems) was pioneered by four men, Jon Nelson, Jim Esmeier, John Hunt, and Joe Bissen. These men had a vision that people with disabilities deserved to live in the community - away from the institution.
CCLS was officially incorporated on October 3, 1973. Shortly thereafter, the first CCLS program opened when eight young women who had spent their lives in a State institution moved into a large house on Madison 's East Side . The group home attracted interest, and some surprise, from people all over the state.
Through the years, CCLS went through many changes. The company expanded and changed in many ways including corporate structure, geography, and scope of services. Today, CCLS is a non-stock Wisconsin corporation which means that CCLS owns itself and all profit goes back into the company. The Corporate Office, located in Watertown , Wisconsin , was joined by 6 regional offices in Madison, Milwaukee , Waukesha , Wisconsin Rapids, Onalaska and Beaver Dam plus several ancillary offices throughout Southern Wisconsin to serve 19 counties. Residential services include highly individualized programs providing anything from one-to-one assistance in individual homes and apartments to the 8-bed group home model. In addition, day services, recreational programs, and community vocational have also been added. Throughout all of the growth and changes, CCLS has remained dedicated to its mission and to the vision of our founders.
In March 2004, the Watertown corporate office building was re-named the Jon A. Nelson Corporate Building in honor of the 30+ years that Jon devoted to the corporation. Jon supported the corporation, initially as a founder, then as the executive director, and finally as board member. Jon retired from the board of directors in March of 2004, but his vision, dedication, and support will never retire. – less–ZoomInfo