At AbilityFirst, our vision is of a society that values each individual and provides the opportunity for all people to lead full and productive lives. For more than 80 years, we have been looking beyond disabilities, focusing on capabilities, and expanding possibilities.
To achieve that, we offer a broad range of programs and services to help children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities realize their full potential throughout their lives. Our 24 locations include 10 accessible housing complexes, two group homes, three work centers, one camp, seven community centers and an AbilityFirst Employment Services office. Please read our agency brochure and the latest edition of AbilityFirst Magazine for more information.
AbilityFirst was established in 1926 as the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California (CCS) at the Rotary International Convention. Lawrence L. Frank and Paul Dietrich, both Rotarians, were two of the original founders of the organization and they continued their loyal support throughout their lives.
When our organization was founded, the name reflected the thinking and norms of the time. The ensuing decades, however, brought dramatic change. We expanded to provide programs for adults, as well as children. We also broadened our mission in order to meet the needs of those with developmental disabilities, as well as those with physical disabilities. Development disabilities include autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and epilepsy.
In 1999, the organization adopted the name AbilityFirst to better reflect our mission, our vision for the future, and our commitment to celebrating the unique abilities of every individual.