Celebrating 60 Years of Helping the Disabled

By Matt Porter

Achieve Center honors its founding members as it celebrates 60 years helping the disabled.

October 26, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2012 at 4:28 PM EST

Town of Dickinson, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Dozens gathered to celebrate 60 years of helping the mentally and physically disabled here in the Southern Tier.

The Achieve Center was founded by 10 families of children with different types of severe disabilities.

Gordon Brown, son of one of the founding couples, said his parents were constantly pushing for the rights of those dealing with mental and physical disabilities.

"They have the right to live in the open air, ride the bus, go shopping, take a job, go to school," he said, "And have the life that they want and deserve to achieve."

Today the center provides housing, social, and professional opportunities to the disabled.

A memorial garden was set up to honor the work of those first 10 families.

Some parts of the garden were also dedicated to former members of the center like the son of Teresa Fusco from Endicott. Her son went to the center for 20 years before he died of the seizures that followed him for his entire life.

"He was so missed and they were so shocked," said Fusco, "He just left love and everything behind, and so, to our family, he was special."

The center was formed as a place for children to play and grow up without being institutionalized.

The memorial garden is unfinished.

People interested in donating to the center can purchase memorial bricks that will line the new garden.