A small group of Capital Region parents joined together in an effort to improve the lives of their children. In those days, few services existed for people with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. The parents recognized that a school program was needed and worked together to open preschool classes at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, followed by an educational program for 12 children at the City of Albany School 18 in 1952.
Enrollment increased from 12 to 75 students, and additional space was secured in Albany’s School 26 and in Philip Livingston Junior High School. This would later become the Capital District Chapter, Association for the Help of Retarded Children, then the Albany County Association for Retarded Citizens (Albany ARC).
Beginning in the 1970’s
The chapter began developing community residences and Individualized Residential Alternatives (IRA’s) in the Capital Region. In 1978, the chapter relocated to 155 Washington Avenue in Albany and experienced further growth and diversity with the development and certification of the first Day Treatment Program for people with developmental disabilities in New York State.
September 10, 1989
The chapter celebrated the construction of a 72,400 square foot facility at 334 Krumkill Road in Slingerlands. Edward Lukomski, PhD., who was the CEO of Albany ARC at that time, guided the project by lobbying for the funding, securing the acquisition of the land for the facility, reviewing building specifications and contracts, and meeting with the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities as well as other State Agencies involved in the project. Mary L. Caniano, who was an active advocate, volunteer, founding organizer and Board President of the Albany, ARC at that time, became instrumental in the development of this facility. It was through her support, dedication and drive that the Krumkill Road site became a reality and the building was officially named the Mary L. Caniano Center. This facility was designed in accordance with the various needs of the men and women who attend our programs. It affords us the opportunity to enhance our specialized and individualized programs while being able to develop new services and activities for the people we serve. This site continues to be one of the agency’s headquarters today.
The Chapter became known as New Visions. Over the years, New Visions expanded services to offer programs such as the Production/Vocational Training facility, Community Integrated Day Habilitation, Medicaid Service Coordination, Guardianship Services, Community Employment, Food Service, Janitorial Service, Family Support Respite, and Transportation Services.
New Visions (Albany ARC) was given the opportunity to join forces with Warren & Washington Counties ARC (WWARC). This was a great opportunity for the Albany division to collaborate with a sister facility, grow resources, share talents and build new programs. The two organizations successfully merged and today operate as WWAARC – Warren, Washington & Albany Counties ARC.
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