Editorial: Abilis Is On The Move


On the western side of town is a quiet organization with a growing voice. Abilis is a non-profit organization that, since 1951, has provided essential services and support for over 700 families and individuals with special needs.

Abilis is there when needed most, providing early intervention and customized therapies to meet individual’s needs. The organization also provides family education and advocacy to help achieve important developmental milestones through its programs. As special needs individuals approach and enter adulthood, Abilis provides a wide range of programs, including recreational activities, transition and life skills support, job training, competitive and supported employment and a choice of residential options.

Abilis has been providing these very needed and unique services for over 67 years. The organization has likely witnessed every possible scenario an individual with special needs can face. That is quite a legacy and one that should be praised in our town.

Alibis was created back in 1951 when several parents wanted their special needs children to be able to attend public school. They wanted their children to receive an education. Prior to Abilis, options for parents with children who had special needs were limited. More often than not, institutionalization was the only course of action. In fact, in 1951, institutionalization for special needs children was the norm.

Today, Abilis has had much success in serving special needs families in our town, and its reputation is growing. President and CEO, Amy Montimurro, is not new to the organization, having worked there for 22 years. Amy is a forward-thinking leader with a deep passion to serve the special needs community. We are excited to see where she will take the organization and are confident she will have great success.

Abilis depends on the generosity of not just those it serves, but also of those within the communities it serves. Over the past few years, Abilis, along with other non-profit organizations, has seen its funding model change dramatically. State support has been reduced significantly, if not eliminated entirely.  Organizations have had to reassess how to operate and how to pay for its’ operations. As a result, we have seen a dramatic uptick in their solicitation for private funding support.

Our community can help support Alibis, and we encourage everyone to attend the Walk/Run for Abilis, this Sunday, at Tod’s Point. Alibis’ annual awareness building and community fundraiser event is something not to be missed. We encourage neighbors, friends and the entire community to participate.

We have written about compassion and community on this page before and we will continue to do because it gives our town such richness. A cornerstone of that compassion and community is diversity and celebrating the diversity of our residents. In this hectic fast-paced time, it is easy to turn away from those in need. Abilis turns toward them.

Abilis has set the standard of excellence for person-centered services through innovation, teamwork and respect for the people it serves. Alibis is helping to shape our community by assisting people of all abilities to participate and contribute as equal citizens.

As the American singer Ani DiFranco wrote: “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” We wish Amy and her team at Abilis the best of luck this weekend and into the future.

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