A History of Distinction
For 67 years, the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities has been serving the needs of persons with developmental and related disabilities and their families. By combining the latest in innovative programs with the time honored traditions of caring and excellent services, NJID has earned a reputation of distinction and respect throughout the State of New Jersey. NJID has become one of the largest agencies of its kind in the State and serves as a model by providing an unmatched continuum of care.
However, to truly understand the impact that NJID has had on the lives of children, adults and families, it is important to understand how the Agency was started and how it has grown to the accomplishments of today. The story of NJID begins with the lives of two courageous young boys, Richie Marx and Ralph Rotella, who were born with Cerebral Palsy at a time when children with CP had little hope. Families and friends of these young boys recognized the need for a special place in Middlesex County for Richie and Ralph and other children like them. These early volunteers turned for help to the Middlesex County Board of Freeholders who quickly responded.
The freeholders gave to the newly formed Cerebral Palsy League of Middlesex County an abandoned garage on Bertram Avenue in Perth Amboy. It was a volunteer effort to refurbish the building and to buy and install needed equipment. When a therapist and teacher were hired in 1950 the first five children began receiving services at this very special place which then became the Cerebral Palsy Treatment Center of Middlesex County.
Ten years later in 1960, the Middlesex Board of Freeholders helped again by setting aside for the then Cerebral Palsy Association of Middlesex County six acres of land in picturesque Roosevelt Park on which to build a new and expanded Cerebral Palsy School and Treatment Center. Union tradesmen generously volunteered time and talent and the new facility was opened in 1961. Demand for special education services grew so rapidly that in 1971 the CP School and Treatment Center doubled in size to a new multi service facility of 24,000 sq. ft.. With mortar and bricks firmly in place, it was then time for the Association to build its programs.
The Association's Board of Directors then began its search for a new professional leader to move the Agency forward. The Directors placed their trust and confidence in Dominic Ursino who was appointed Executive Director in 1972.
New friendships were forged which brought expanded operating dollars for new programs. Emerging partners from government, business and foundations eagerly joined the work and mission of the Association. A new day dawned and a new course was set. The Cerebral Palsy Association was on the move.
Increased resources provided financial empowerment which enabled the creation of innovative programs to meet the changing and emerging needs of persons with disabilities. The Agency was no longer limited to the care of persons with cerebral palsy and with an expanded service area far beyond the limits of Middlesex County, the Agency's name would have to change. It was essential that a new name be chosen which conveyed competency, the scale and breadth of experience and superior and distinguished programs. And so in 2008, the Agency's Board of Directors introduced the Agency's new name...the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities.
With the firm foundation of a proud history and the vision of ever greater potential, the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities is positioned to sustain, create and deliver significant programs and initiatives to enhance and empower persons with disabilities from throughout the State of New Jersey. The Mission...re-energized and revitalized remains strong and ready to serve the clients of today and for generations to come.