In 70 years, Ability Beyond grows from humble origins
Ability Beyond started in 1953 with a small group of families with children with disabilities who “just wanted a better life for their kids,” said Jane Davis, chief executive officer of Ability Beyond.
“At the time, things like equal education opportunity and special education programs in public schools didn’t really exist,” Davis said, “and when you think about that, it is pretty incredible that the families came together to get what their kids needed.”
The Bethel-based nonprofit will honor 70 years of service at the Gala & Beyond Platinum Jubilee on April 22 at The Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury. Today, Ability Beyond serves more than 3,000 people with disabilities annually through behavioral services, day programs, residential living services, employment programs, transition services and other programs.
“I think a lot of parents are leery of having their children not live with them because of safety issues and not being in control of the future,” Penny Parkes said, “but you have to waive that against independence and fear that, as a parent, we’re not going to be here forever, and I know now that he’s going to be well taken care of.”