Our Story

Over seven decades of expanding services and opportunities

1950s highlights:

  • In September 1950, a group of parents looking for answers to their questions about cerebral palsy, and services for their children, came together to form the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Long Island.
  • Their initial efforts – knocking on doors to raise money and awareness – resulted in an outpatient rehabilitation program at the Center for the Physically Handicapped within the Brentwood School System.
  • They later secured a donation of property in Commack and broke ground for the Suffolk Rehabilitation Center in March 1959.

1960s highlights:

  • The Center opened in 1961 and began providing medical rehabilitation and physical and occupational therapy to children with a wide range of disabilities, including muscular dystrophy, polio, spina bifida and others.
  • Later, the Center added medical care in pediatrics, otolaryngology, orthopedics, neurology, ophthalmology and psychology, as well as Suffolk County’s first audiology center.
  • Preschool and school age programs were later introduced and both clinical and medical services were extended to adults.
  • In the late 1960s, Camp Indian Head welcomed its first youngsters and UCP of Long Island began providing services to the local BOCES.

1970s highlights:

  • By the 1970s, a full day of children’s programs filled the Center and portable activity rooms were added.
  • Volunteer fundraising efforts were expanded through a Ladies Auxiliary and participation in a new nationwide telethon.
    In 1979, the organization joined an affiliate network, becoming known as the United Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State Suffolk County Committee.
  • The growth of the child population and the need for more adult programs enabled the relocation of the children’s programs to the Smiths Lane School – known today as The Children’s Center at UCP of Long Island.

1980s highlights:

  • In 1983, United Cerebral Palsy of Long Island became an affiliate of the national association.
  • Many new programs were added, including Adult Day Treatment, Vocational Rehabilitation, Supported Employment and an on-site workshop.
  • The Children’s Center added an eight-week summer component and expanded briefly into the Circle Hill School in Commack and then the R.J. Osgood School in Kings Park.
  • The Residential Program was launched with the acquisition of seven family-sized Intermediate Care Facilities (ICFs) from New York State and the transformation of the Indian Head Road building into a community residence -the first non-nursing home on Long Island to offer residential care to adults with physical disabilities.

1990s highlights:

  • In the 1990s, a revitalized Diagnostic and Treatment Center re-opened in the portable spaces at Indian Head Road.
  • A 57,000-square-foot site located in the Hauppauge Industrial Park was completely renovated to house Adult Day Programs, welcoming over 250 individuals daily.
  • The Residential Program doubled in size, adding Individual Residential Alternatives (IRAs) for persons needing less direct support than those in ICFs.
  • Named in honor of UCP founder Nina Eaton, the Eaton Knolls complex, a 13-unit fully accessible apartment complex for people with developmental disabilities who can live independently, was built in Central Islip.

2000s highlights:

  • The acquisition of the Community Program Centers of Long Island brought UCP expertise to the elderly affected by dementia and day care services for preschoolers.
  • The Children’s Center Residential Program began with two beautiful homes featuring 24/7 nursing and integration of our school age and education program.
  • The agency earned the honor of being named Long Island’s Outstanding Not-for-Profit organization by both the Long Island Association and the Hauppauge Industrial Association.
  • Community Head Start Program is introduced bringing to Long Island families a comprehensive program for pregnant woman and families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Day Haven Adult Day Services program is introduced.  A social model adult day services program serving frail older adults including those with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.

2010s highlights:

  • The Employment Connection Mobile Training & Education Center is introduced. Our fully equipped and accessible vehicle allows us to bring comprehensive employment services to Long Island job seekers with developmental or acquired disabilities.
  • UCP-LI Brushstrokes Artist, Robert wins 1st Place in the 2018 CP of NYS Visions of New York Art Contest. Winning artwork featured in commemorative poster and distributed to 19 agencies across the state.
  • On January 31, 2019, UCP-LI introduced Johnny’s Way, a one of kind art gallery located at 250 Marcus Boulevard.  Johnny’s Way is an adaptive art studio that features the works of many of the agencies talented artists. 

2020s highlights:

  •  UCP-LI Brushstroke Artist, Jonathan W wins 1st Place posthumously in the 2020 CP of NYS Visions of New York Art Contest.  Winning artwork featured in commemorative poster and distributed to 19 agencies across the state.
  •  UCP-LI partners with John’s Crazy Socks to launch a CP Awareness sock.

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