At that time, more than 70,000 volunteers between the ages of 13 and 25 were involved in Youth-NARC projects.
While the main focus of Youth-NARC was training volunteers who could work with persons with disabilities, it was discovered that "the retarded themselves may be trained in leadership." While Youth-NARC may be largely forgotten, it had a strong influence on the development of the self-advocacy movement.
One of the most important contributions to the disabilities movement was the concept of normalization. In 1959, a group of parents in Denmark organized to petition their government for better treatment of their sons and daughters with mental retardation. Working with Niels Erik Bank-Mikkelsen, they put into very simple terms the concept of "normalization."
The concept did not refer to making people "normal," to make them behave a certain way, but rather to live according to a normal pattern, "making available to [people who are] mentally retarded the patterns and conditions of everyday life which are as close as possible to the norms and patterns of the mainstream of society." Normalization reflected a lifestyle and one dramatically opposed to that of the institutions.