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July of 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA ushered in a new era of respect, dignity and opportunity for people with developmental disabilities. So very much has changed for the better in the past two and a half decades – yet there is so much more for us to do. Cultural norms have changed; values that promote accessibility, inclusion, civil rights, community living and contributions are now commonly accepted in American Society.
It has been a hard road for people with disabilities, their families and their friends, to get where we are now. We should celebrate, but we can’t sit back.
Massachusetts has recently enacted two laws which will provide all of us greater opportunity to realize the hopes and aspirations we have through the ADA. People with developmental disabilities will have a much greater opportunity to determine where they live, work and how they receive services with the passage of the Real Lives bill. The second bill, the Omnibus Autism bill requires the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities to use the broader federal definition in determining funding and service for people who have been diagnosed with disabilities on the Autism Spectrum.
These legislative initiatives will provide new and exciting opportunities to build on our organizational achievements here at Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. Our mission, goals and objectives remain focused, balanced and actionable in meeting the individual needs of those we serve and others we will serve in the future.
Founded in 1981, the Cooperative for Human Services, Inc. is a multi-service organization that provides residential services, independent living supports, and guardianship services for people with intellectual and other related developmental disabilities.
Our mission is to empower, support, and expand the knowledge, skill, and natural capacities of the people we serve to direct and live full and meaningful lives within their community. We provide residential and independent living services throughout Middlesex and Essex counties; primarily in the communities north and west of Boston; while our corporate guardianship program serves people living throughout the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Our passion is to create possibilities for all people with cognitive, intellectual and other related developmental disabilities. At the Cooperative for Human Services, Inc., we believe that opportunities for life long learning are the cornerstone to increased independence, personal satisfaction and success. With the support of caring and dedicated staff, each individual discovers talents, abilities, and unique potential to hope, dream, learn and live. We offer a continuum of services that are matched to life's milestones and needs; supporting young adults with disabilities who are just starting life's journey and ensuring safeguards for people who are aging and experiencing health related concerns. We design and deliver our services with a passion for what's possible.
Message from the Executive Director
Thank you for taking the time to learn about the Cooperative For Human Services through our website. This is one good way to become familiar with our organization. I encourage you to learn more and make personal contact with me or any member of our management or clinical team. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you, to meet or arrange for a tour of our program locations.
Those we serve, our board and our staff have accomplished a great deal since we were founded by a true visonary and effective advocate, Charles (Chuck) Howard. Chuck's values were centered on the individual, promoting self worth and dignity; while creating opportunity for achievement. These ideals serve as the cornerstone for our organization today.
The responsiveness and vitality of our services has been advanced by our passion for what's possible. We strive to bring meaning and actualize these words through our deep and abiding commitment to those we serve. Working with families, friends and other professionals we find creative and effective ways to assist each individual to live life to the fullest. "We keep at it" doing all we can in order to continually improve; learning through our experiences while building on our achievements.
In order to be sustained all these efforts require a progressive community organization. This is made possible through devotion to mission, keeping clear and abiding principles and, following sound practices. Through good communication, learning and then thoughtful planning our organization is relevant and strong today and is ready to succeed in the future.
It is sincerely my good fortune to serve the people of the Cooperative For Human Services. I work with great people. Together we will continue to meet our responsibilities and all the challenges they entail. Please join us in what ever way you can in providing the vibrant services we offer people with disabilities and their families.
Kevin J. Leahy