To assist people with disabilities to live, work, and socialize within a fully accessible community.
We believe in and support equitable and inclusive communities for people living with disabilities.
Lucas, Ottawa, Wood, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, and Williams
The Ability Center
We believe in consumer control and community inclusion
- People with disabilities serve in leadership positions at The Ability Center.
- We facilitate collaborative efforts between people with and without disabilities to remove barriers to equal opportunity and community inclusion.
We believe in advocacy
- We have a commitment to changing systems, public policies and attitudes that prevent people with disabilities from living, working and socializing in their communities.
We believe in delivering best practice programs
- We strive to provide the highest quality independent living programs and services based upon national independent living standards as well as local consumer needs and satisfaction.
We believe in establishing high expectations for success among people with disabilities
- The Ability Center expects program participants to establish goals and achieve independent living success.
- We work to change attitudes so the general public can raise their expectations of persons with disabilities.
We believe in the power of partnerships and positive public relations
- Local businesses, as well as community organizations and government agencies are important partners as we work to create fully accessible communities.
- We assist individuals with disabilities and their families to tell their stories in an effort to increase awareness and remove barriers in the community.disabilities.
A Brief History...
Founding of The Ability Center
The Ability Center of Greater Toledo began as a Rotarian dream.
Established in December 1920 as the Toledo Society for Crippled Children, we began raising community funds to build a hospital and rehabilitation facility for children (and, later, adults) with polio. With an initial gift of $50,000 from Edward Drummond Libbey and his wife, Florence Scott Libbey, and strong support from the community, Opportunity Home became a reality in 1937. We served the area as a hospital, which included a school for the children who spent so much time recovering from polio, until the advent of the Salk vaccine in the mid-1950s. For all of this time, the hospital was located in what is now Lake Erie Academy on Central Avenue.
In the early 1960s, after the hospital closed, we became Opportunity Kindergarten, providing educational opportunities for children with disabilities. Relocated to The Edward Drummond Libbey House on Scottwood Avenue, we remained a kindergarten until 1976, when laws changed to allow for “mainstreaming” disabled students in regular schools. The Ability Center evolved again, becoming the Toledo Society for the Handicapped. We dedicated ourselves to providing comprehensive services to all people living with disabilities in the community.
By 1989, the movement to create a nationwide network of centers, which held with the Independent Living philosophy, expanded and took hold in northwest Ohio. The Board of Trustees changed The Ability Center’s mission to that of a Center for Independent Living (CIL). In keeping with this mission change, in 1990, the Toledo Society for the Handicapped became The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.
The Ability Center serves seven northwestern Ohio counties (Lucas, Ottawa, Wood, Fulton, Henry, Defiance and Williams) via its main office in Sylvania, and satellite office in Bryan, OH. The Ability Center offers a wide range of services and opportunities designed to assist people with disabilities in gaining, or maintaining, independence in everyday living. We also provide information and support to community organizations and businesses necessary for providing inclusive programs and services to all citizens.