A history of success. A lifetime of opportunities.
Since 1955, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara has been providing rehabilitative and supportive services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families throughout Niagara County.
Opportunities Unlimited began thanks to the efforts of a group of parents who wanted to obtain services for their children diagnosed with mental retardation. The Niagara County Chapter of the Association for Retarded Children was incorporated as a chapter of the New York State Association for Retarded Children, known today as NYSARC, Inc.
The Western New York agency originally operated school programs in Niagara Falls, Lockport and North Tonawanda, providing children with developmental disabilities education and supports– basic needs that they had previously been denied.
The agency’s first sheltered workshop opened in the 1960s, followed by its first community residence in the 1970s. In 1990, the agency’s name was changed to Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara to reflect the organizational philosophy of building opportunities for people with disabilities and ensuring that they be able to reach their maximum potential and independence through integration into the community.
The provision of new choices in vocational programs spurred a period of growth throughout the 1990s. Opportunities Unlimited was aggressive in its efforts and sought ways to offer innovative programs and services for program participants which focused on Inclusion, Independence, Individualization and Productivity.
August 1998 marked the start to a new era of growth for agencies serving people with disabilities throughout New York State when then-Governor George Pataki announced a five-year plan aimed at eliminating the waiting list for persons needing out-of-home residential care. The program, named New York State CARES, assists Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara in continuing its commitment toward integration of people with disabilities and offering them an opportunity for community living.
Today, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara assists more than 600 people reach goals and lead more independent lives. Services include on-site vocational training; community-based job placement and employment support; school-to-work transition planning; day programming; clinical services; transportation; residential choices; supportive services such as recreation, self-advocacy and exceptional parenting programs; and service coordination to ensure that each person receives as much support as needed to become as independent as possible.
Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is the largest not-for-profit agency headquartered in Niagara County, touching the lives of numerous individuals and their family members. As the agency continues to grow and offer new opportunities for people with disabilities, the vision created by the pioneering parents who tirelessly worked to ensure the best for their children, still exists today.
Your life. Your family. Your community.
We’re here for you.
NYSARC, Inc. is America’s largest non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families since 1949. NYSARC is the New York State Chapter of The Arc.
We’re a family-led organization, your advocates, your guides, and your educators. We’re your friends. Like any good friend, we’re not happy unless you and your loved ones live a rich, full life.