We’ve adapted our programming to meet current needs since our inception in 1920. Programming is aimed at creating greater independence and stronger connection to the community.
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
We believe in consumer control and community inclusion
We believe in advocacy
We believe in delivering best practice programs
We believe in establishing high expectations for success among people with disabilities
We believe in the power of partnerships and positive public relations
A Rotary Dream for Kids with Disabilities.
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 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. During this time, the hospital was located in what is now Lake Erie Academy on Central Avenue.
Transforming with the Times
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. In keeping with this mission change, in 1990, the Toledo Society for the Handicapped became The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.
Independent Living Movement
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.
In January 2019, The Ability Center launched the Disability Dialog campaign posing the question, "What would it take to make Toledo more disability friendly?” Thoughtful discussions were organized by different community groups in response to our inquiry. Innovative initiatives will launch throughout 2020 in support of making our region more disability-friendly and inclusive for all people.
Events will be hosted throughout 2020 to highlight our rich history of service, evolution as an agency, and our role in creating a disability-friendly community in the region.