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One of the very first sparks of inspiration for our agency stemmed from a child wanting a tricycle...

In 1945, local broadcaster Al Sigl made an announcement asking for a tricycle that could be modified for a handicapped child. Mrs. Ralph Amdursky heard this plea and discussed it with her husband. Out of this conversation the idea to form a Rochester-based organization was created. The Amdurskys had a son with cerebral palsy; the family traveled all over the United States to find help for him. Naomi Amdursky had this to say about the incredible struggle they endured just to get some answers as to what their son was experiencing: “We were sent to the Boston Children’s Hospital, then to Dr. Phelps Clinic in Maryland, then to a Training Private Home in Florida. All this was terribly expensive but it had to be done!” With all these visits, they realized the importance of having a local facility which could cater to the needs of children with similar disabilities.

Al Sigl made a series of broadcast announcements asking for the names of anyone who had a physically handicapped child or any person having a physical handicap. There were 70 responses. A letter was sent on November 13, 1945 to all the parents announcing an upcoming gathering at Mr. & Mrs. William H. Woodworth’s home. With 50 Rochester parents of children with handicaps present, our agency was born. The goal of this group would be the 'establishment of an adequately staffed and equipped local Training Center for Spastic Individuals Only.' One month later, the Diagnostic Clinic at Strong Memorial Hospital was organized. On September 17, 1946, our first Center opened.

In May 1946, Ralph Amdursky published an article in Pageant Magazine outlining the life of Stuart, their 'cerebral palsy stricken child.' In the article, he not only gives a clear understanding of the day-to-day challenges faced,  but also shows the tender care his wife gave to their son. Ralph wrote: “To my wife has fallen the greatest part of the work of helping Stuart. She is slight, 107 pounds; Stuart weighs 32 pounds and must be carried up and down stairs many times a day. But she always manages her difficult tasks with patience and love.”

The courage of the Amdurskys is probably best exemplified in the way they handled Stuart with family, friends, and neighbors. In the 40s and 50s, children with this type of disability were to be sent to an institution for the 'mentally defective.' Repeatedly, the Amdurskys were told to 'forget' their son and grieve. They did no such thing. They made a vow to share their experiences with anyone who asked.

From the article in Pageant, came hundreds of letters from around the world in support of the Amdurskys. This solidified Naomi’s belief that “parents can move mountains when their children need help!”

CP Rochester currently celebrates 78 years of service to the community. The below timeline was created to encompass the achievements and progress of the agency.

166 Chestnut Street
(Storefront Headquarters)

1540 East Avenue

Monroe County Center for Rehabilitation
(renamed Al Sigl Center)

Twelve Corners Elementary School

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