Discovering each child's lifelong potential

Mary Cariola Historical Timeline


May 1949
– Spaghetti Dinner fund-raiser held by Mary Cariola and friends to raise enough money to open Center. Don Karal is the first employee hired.

October 1949 – Day School for Handicapped Children opens in Rochester with eight students at Eagles’ Hall.

1952 – Agency receives its official incorporation.

1953 – 65 children are enrolled.

1956 – Naomi Chamberlain is hired as the first Program Director at a time when racial prejudice was strong. “We couldn’t be bothered with details like the color of her skin,” said parent Mary Reber. “She simply was the best person for the job. Besides, we knew prejudices ourselves.”

1958 – Center buys its own building, located at 1530 East Avenue, with a loan from Rose Ferro, board member.

1960 – Dr. Margaret Meade speaks at the annual dinner.

1968 – Day Care Training Center moves to the Al Sigl Center Complex at Elmwood and South Avenues.

1975 – Federal legislation guarantees a free and appropriate public education to all children, regardless of disabilities.

1977 – Agency is renamed Mary Cariola Children’s Center in honor of its founder.

1978 – Mary Cariola Children’s Center’s Charity Golf Tournament begins at Monroe Country Club.

1979 – First residential home opens on Browncroft Blvd. in Penfield.

1980 – Preschool services expanded to include programs for infants and parents.

1981 – English Road residential home opens.

1984 – Kreag Road residential home opens.

1987 – Mary Pulvino Cariola is honored with the Cavaliere Award by the President of Italy.

1991 – Paul Scott becomes President. Rushwood residential home opens. The first Mary Cariola Prom is held.

1994 – Agency expands its services to children with maladaptive behaviors. Service Coordination Department is created.

1996 – Camp Cariola is launched at the Rotary Sunshine Camp.

1999 – Agency celebrates its 50th Anniversary with special guest Beverly Sills and $1 million campaign to bolster the endowment.

2000 – Feinbloom Hall opens for older students in renovated Park Ridge nursing home.

2001 – Snoezelen Sensory Room opens at Elmwood Campus.

2003 – Patty Mendick Hall opens for middle school students after renovations to former grammar school building.

2005 – Renovated Motor Therapy Suite opens at Elmwood Campus. Bailey Road residential home opens.

2008 – Agency now serves 550 children each year from ten counties.

2009 – Celebrating 60 Years!

2012--Paul Scott retires. Karen Zandi appointed new President/CEO.  New English Road residential home opens.

How You Can Help

Whether you volunteer your time, make a donation or help plan an event, there are many ways to support Mary Cariola Children’s Center.
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