Peter Blechman was employed with Opengate as a Behavior Analyst from 1986 to 2004. One of the most gratifying programs he was involved in creating during this time was the theater group, The Heart & Soul Players, who rehearsed and performed on the grounds.
At our annual Awards Day luncheon, Opengate also celebrated our 50th Anniversary with our staff, residents and their families. Each of our individuals was presented a certificate for their achievements.
It was Friday, July 3, 1970 when Wendy came to Opengate as a young woman of 19, a date she has committed to memory. The agency was founded the previous year by a group of parents wanting better resources for their adult children. There were not many options for adults as they aged out of the system which provided for their needs as children.
We have come a long way in the development and acceptance of people with disabilities since Michael was young. Inclusion in communities, employment, volunteer opportunities, and the expansion of their unique skills has created a whole new world that in years past individuals never had the chance to experience. Thanks to top agencies like Opengate, the door is open to improve the quality of life for all.
Fifty years ago people with intellectual and developmental disabilities had few options for opportunity and progress, and often were housed in institutions or schools with deplorable conditions. Involved parents intervened in 1969 and began writing Opengate’s 50-year history. They took a stand, not only for the rights of their own children, but for all individuals with disabilities who deserve to be a valuable part of their communities.