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INGLEWOOD, CA (AUG. 2012) - The AbilityFirst Harry A. Mier Center, which since 1976 has been offering after-school and adult day programs for people with developmental disabilities, has raised nearly 80 percent of its Capital Campaign goal to upgrade its current Inglewood facility.
“We have been in the same Inglewood location for 36 years and are excited about upgrading our building to better meet the needs of children and adults with special needs,” said Lori Gangemi, President and Chief Executive Officer of AbilityFirst. “Inglewood is our home and we are thrilled we’re in line to continue serving the children and adults with disabilities for many more decades to come.”
According to Gangemi, AbilityFirst’s current facility at 8090 Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood consists of three houses built in the 1930’s with an old infrastructure that does not meet the demands of existing programs. In response to this need, AbilityFirst’s Board of Directors launched a capital campaign in September 2007, with Ray Cherry serving as the Capital Campaign Chair, to raise the funds needed to build a new building that would in turn improve the effectiveness of the programs and create a more dynamic educational environment where children and adults can enhance their capabilities.
“Our 38 year-old son, Marcus, has been a regular at the center since he was a little more than eight years old,” said Jackie Furby, a parent and community member of AbilityFirst. “In spite of being diagnosed as developmentally delayed, he has taken advantage of so many opportunities to swim, camp, learn karate, as well as music and art appreciation, all while socializing with his peers. It has given us peace of mind knowing Marcus was welcomed by staff we trusted to provide proper supervision in a stimulating environment. The Harry A. Mier Center family has become an extension of our family.”
To date, the AbilityFirst Harry A. Mier Center has raised nearly 80 percent of the $3.6 million budget for its new 6,500 square foot facility. The new building will include a number of vastly upgraded features such as four multipurpose rooms of approximately 500 square feet each for program use; commercial- grade kitchen for cooking instruction to teach independent living skills; multiple outdoor recreation areas, including half basketball court, play area, open green space, patio, and a new pavilion for socializing and parties.
About Ability First AbilityFirst, formerly Crippled Children Society, provides programs and services to help children and adults with disabilities reach their full potential. Through 24 locations across Southern California, they offer a broad range of employment, recreational and socialization programs and operate 12 accessible residential housing complexes. Government support provides approximately half of the dollars AbilityFirst needs to deliver high quality programs and services. As a nonprofit organization, they rely heavily on the generous support of donors who share their vision. www.AbilityFirst.org