When I first met Jeff G. I worked in a sheet metal shop. Jeff had come to us through a local program similar to New York City-based AHRC that helps those with intellectual disabilities find work. As I think of Jeff it is unfathomable to me that there was a time when his disability would have deprived him of the chance to realize his potential.

When Jerome Stanley Goldberg was born in 1943 such was the fate of the “mentally retarded”. The “wisdom” of the time had it that the developmentally challenged were nothing more than a burden to their families and society as a whole. It was thought that the only option for parents with special needs children was to institutionalize the child. In other words, lock them away and forget about them.

Jeff was anything but a burden to the shop. He was a definite blessing. Had he not been there to keep the shop clean each day we would have lost a half hour’s worth of production because eight operators would have had to shut down their machines early to do housekeeping. I can honestly say that Jeff was one of the most likable diligent and reliable people I have ever worked with.

Thankfully, Stanely Goldberg’s mother Ann was not willing to give up on her son. Having exhausted every other option for help she took out a newspaper ad making a direct appeal for help to other parents of learning disabled children. Thus was laid the foundation for AHRC.

Yearly, 15,000 people reap the benefits of the variety of programs offered by AHRC. Sixty-seven years ago AHRC established the first medical facility devoted to the needs of disabled children. The organization has also opened sheltered workshops, established a program to help brothers and sisters better understand their developmentally disabled siblings, and set the pattern for special education in NYC schools.

SourceAmerica is a provider of matching funding for nonprofit organizations that help those with significant disabilities find work. In 2014 The National Council of SourceAmerica Employers honored AHRC’s Assistant Executive Director, Steve Towler with its East Region Management Excellence Award. The award is a testament to AHRC’s success in achieving its goal of providing opportunities for self-sufficiency.

AHRC’s involvement with Source America spawned a partnership with Specialisterne creating opportunities for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders to find internships and possibly a career in the technology industry.