In 1960, a group of parents were frustrated that their 9 adult children with severe Cerebral Palsy had no place to go. Those parents joined together and opened Cerebral Palsy of NWI, Inc. The original Center was located in Gary, Indiana. Martha Turulis, Special Education Teacher from Gary, was hired to serve as the Executive Director. A group of 6 business men, along with Zeb Vinavich, owner of Country Lounge, started HHAC to raise money for the Center. It was rocky in the beginning as funding was limited but the program survived and grew. Five years later, we added an extended day nursery/daycare program with individual Physical, Speech and Occupational Therapy for children with Cerebral Palsy. John W. Anderson Foundation began providing funding to support the programs.
In the 1970’s, with the assistance of Leon Wolak, the Center was moved to its current located in Hobart/New Chicago. The site, a Youth Center/Dance Hall for the American Legion Post 454, was remodeled to meet the needs of the students with disabilities. During this time, the Center became the first state licensed center in Indiana specifically for children with disabilities We also opened our doors to children and adults with all types of developmental disabilities and became a member of Lake Area United Way.
In the 1980’s, Patricia Starbuck was promoted from Program Director to Executive Director after the passing of Martha Turulis. Pat Starbuck continued to serve as our Executive Director until 2011.
In the 1990’s, our Center underwent several major remodeling projects. We added a new front addition with administration offices and a wheel chair accessible elevator. We also made physical improvements to our Preschool and therapy wing and remodeled our Adult Program in order to serve more adults.
In the 2000’s, our Adult Program was updated from a daycare type setting to a classroom environment with the additions of daily living skills and academics. The child daycare program was modified to include a preschool and pre-kindergarten component. In order to reflect the focus on each student’s potential, Cerebral Palsy of NWI, Inc. was changed to Center for Possibilities. At that time, we also joined with National Inclusion Project to implement summer camp for children with and without disabilities at the Hobart Family YMCA. We opened our Family Counseling Program to serve families raising children with disabilities who lack insurance benefits or financial means to obtain counseling elsewhere. In 2009 we implemented a professionally designed preschool curriculum and became a Paths of Quality Provider, which is Indiana’s highest level of childcare services.
We are very excited about the direction we will take as Center for Possibilities explores new ways to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and the families that care for them.