Cmdr Roy Allen (seated) of Naval Air Station - Whidbey Island signs the first federal service contract with New Leaf in 1973.
How it all started
New Leaf was founded in 1969 by parents who wanted to provide gainful employment for their developmentally disabled adult sons and daughters. They performed a variety of labor related services such as greenhouse gardening, mowing lawns, and even digging graves in cemeteries.
New Leaf's good reputation earned in those initial grounds maintenance contracts caught the attention of Naval Air Station - Whidbey Island (NASWI), and in 1973 New Leaf was awarded the first Federal Service Contract initiated under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act of 1971 (now known as AbilityOne).
It was the first time a federal agency contracted to purchase a service from people with disabilities. That pioneering contract with NASWI was for 83 acres and $59, 411, and New Leaf has successfully maintained it to the present day, making New Leaf the holder of the oldest active federal service contract under the AbilityOne program in the United States.
The New Leaf grounds crew in the 1970s with push mowers.
Throughout New Leaf's history, starting as a family-based service consisting of six men with push mowers, New Leaf has remained committed to its values--providing employment and opportunity to adults with disabilities--and its goals: to advocate for adults with disabilities, to provide opportunity through employment, and to serve customers with lower-cost, higher quality services delivered with a can-do attitude.
Today that original grounds maintenance contract with Naval Air Station - Whidbey Island is for 1.7 million dollars. New Leaf employees over 100 people and serves several contracts for over 500 acres of grounds maintenance, janitorial services at nearly 100 NASWI buildings, and restaurant attendant services at the Admiral Nimitz Galley.
Additionally, New Leaf contracts with the Defense Commissary Agency at NASWI and at Naval Station Everett for commissary shelf stocking and custodial services.
For over 50 years New Leaf has prided itself on serving the community and fulfilling its mission of helping adults with disabilities achieve independence and quality of life through employment.
New Leaf's headquarters in the 1970s and 80s.
New Leaf employees drive riding mowers in an Oak Harbor 4th of July parade in the 1990s.
Quality Control and Safety Manager Mo Morrison with the new steam clean vacuum truck for Janitorial, 2004.
New Gator lawn mowers outside the New Leaf office, 2018.
The New Leaf Grounds crew in 2004.
New Leaf Board member Danny Paggao driving in the Holland Happening Parade in Oak Harbor, 2019.
NEW LEAF'S MISSION
To Promote Independence And Quality Of Life Through Employment
We support New Leaf employees by recruiting, hiring, independence, self-sufficiency, enhancing employment or transitioning to new employment when desired. We continue to educate ourselves, educate our community, advocate for our employees and help them advocate for themselves.
SERVING THE COMMUNITY
In 2019 New Leaf celebrated its 50th anniversary of service to people with disabilities and our community. Through the years, New Leaf has survived changes in politics and in programs and has evolved to where we are today.
New Leaf has diversified by providing grounds and janitorial services in the Oak Harbor community and we have recently acquired two buildings in order to expand our business opportunities, enabling us to employ even more adults with disabilities.
SERVING OUR EMPLOYEES
Employees and program participants have a broad range of mental, physical, psychiatric, developmental, and sensory disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The type and severity of each employee’s disability helps determine the accommodations necessary to support successful employment at New Leaf or in the community.
Our employees receive a health and welfare benefits (as mandated by our Federal contracts) for medical, dental and vision. They also receive paid vacation and sick leave, life insurance and employer 401k matching retirement plan. People with disabilities hold administrative, supervisory and board positions.