More than sixty years ago it was a common practice for children with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to be placed in state institutions. Those families who chose to keep their children at home were told that their children were not eligible for and could not benefit from an education, something to which every child is entitled.
Thankfully not everyone shared this philosophy. Ten brave families - Walter and Kathryn Baird, Clyde and Elsie Brown, Howard and Esther Hall, Siegfried and Jane Heierman, Harry and Roye Sall, George and Josephine Sheehe, Joseph and Esther Stuckert, Robert and Annette Sturdevant, Floyd and Marian Taylor, and Glenn and Marian Young - who wanted a better life for their children joined with another group of parents in New York State to establish the Broome County Association for Retarded Children so that their children could attend school, receive an education, and lead a productive life.
In September of 1952 when this organization was established, ACHIEVE's founding families started out with nothing but a common goal and dream. The first programs were offered by volunteer teachers in donated space in a church basement. Parents went door-to-door to collect donations, and in a few years these passionate families were able to establish a school program and summer camp for their children and other children in the community.
ACHIEVE continued to grow as we merged with the Chenango ARC in September of 2016. Our organization welcomed 400 new program participants and over 100 new employees to the ACHIEVE family.
ACHIEVE’s founding families had a vision for the future. Today ACHIEVE has grown into an twenty-nine-million dollar agency operating an array of services in thirty-one facilities for more than 2,200 individuals. These families were always thinking, planning, and working, and today ACHIEVE continues to live out its mission - As a chapter of NYSARC, Inc. it is the mission of ACHIEVE to advocate for an enhanced quality of life through skill advancement, inclusion, integration, and independence of persons with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities through services provided in Broome, Chenango and Tioga Counties.