Cerebral Palsy Center Opens Harlem Branch For Adults
One of the largest non-profit agencies for New Yorkers living with disabilities is expanding its services with a new location. NY1's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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Every year, United Cerebral Palsy of New York City serves more than 14,000 children and adults with the disorder, but also a wide range of other disabilities. For decades they've been doing it out of one main location on 23rd Street in Manhattan, but now residents of upper Manhattan and The Bronx are benefiting from a new adult program and facility in Harlem.
"People with developmental disabilities we know it is very challenging and hard for them to have a lot of different opportunities and be exposed to meaningful activities in their lives. Being in Harlem really gives us an opportunity to provide them with those meaningful activities as well as help them to become more independent," said United Cerebral Palsy of NYC Coordinator of Operations Parnelle Labonte.
Program participant Jeffrey Gale says having a location closer to his home makes it a lot easier to build relationships and gain socialization skills he might not normally have the possibility of experiencing.
"I get along with new people in there. They are nice. They listen to me and I listen to them. We have a good understanding about anything we talk about," said Gale.
The Harlem facility offers a wide range of services from physical therapy and wellness classes, audio visual training and creative arts to basic education services including GED prep.
Another new addition is a science resource center, where some participants are not only learning about sustainable foods but also how to grow them.
"We encourage overall healthcare from the foods they eat, the exercises they do. We interact with our medical clinics, our rehab centers and our day programs," said United Cerebral Palsy of NYC Medical Director Dr. Vincent Siasoco.
In conjunction with Harlem Grown they are already learning about different methods of growing plants like hydroponics which doesn't require soil. Those involved in that aspect of the program say gardening and other offerings like it also strike the balance between incorporating health, wellness, nutrition and even paths to job creation that participants need.