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Our mission promotes the empowerment of consumers with diverse abilities and experiences toward optimal participation and inclusion in the community. Our environment values diversity, supports the elimination of discrimination, advocates for social equality, independence and the advancement of the field of rehabilitation.
The Kennedy Center, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides extensive personalized educational, vocational, rehabilitative, recreational and residential services to persons with disabilities and special needs.
Established originally in 1951 by Evelyn Kennedy and a dozen other parents from Bridgeport, Connecticut to provide education and recreation for their children with mental retardation, The Kennedy Center now serves persons with a variety of disabilities and special needs from birth through their senior years.
The Kennedy Center has won a number of national awards and has been given perfect ratings by the national standards setting organization, CARF (The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), in both 1999 and 2002, placing our organization in the top 1% in the country and the only facility in Connecticut to ever receive a perfect rating.
Today we have 480 employees and 350 volunteers who are the backbone of our efficient and much needed delivery system of programs and services to over 1000 people daily.
In addition to mental retardation, we work with speech, vision, hearing, and other physical impairments, neurological, psychological and mental health difficulties including acquired brain injury, autism, schizophrenia and cerebral palsy. These are all special needs that are met in programs and services that The Kennedy Center provides.
We operate 13 group residential sites in many different communities in Connecticut and our Travel Training services help to teach persons with disabilities to use a variety of transportation modes (especially all types of public transit) throughout Connecticut, the Metro Boston area, and in all the boroughs of New York City.
The Kennedy Center runs an after-school program and a summer fulltime program for children in the Greater Bridgeport area. This is accomplished in partnership with the Bridgeport Board of Education, the federal 21st Century grant project and The Lighthouse project.
The Children's Services department also operates Birth-to-Three, Parent Aide, pre-school learning centers, FAST (foster care and adoptive parent support and training), and other early intervention programs.
In addition, Kennedy Industries operates six small businesses and, in conjunction with our many private business partners, we have created hundreds of opportunities in supported and competitive employment for our consumers.
Our school-to-career trainings and the work of our job coaches and job placement staff have been a great asset for the high schools and businesses in several areas of Connecticut.