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Lest We Forget Why We are Here

The Center’s humble origins began in 1950 when a small group of parents of children with intellectual disabilities came together to share their concerns and hopes for their children’s future. Driven by the conviction that their children could live meaningful, rewarding lives with the proper support and care, the parents combined resources to form The Center– planting a visionary seed at a time when institutionalization and isolation were the norm.
Their vision for The Center fully broke ground when they hired Dr. Frank Borreca in 1956 as the first full-time director. A native of New York, Dr. Borreca’s life was shaped by two experiences that ultimately brought him to The Center. His first experience took place a continent away while serving in the Pacific during WWII; it was there Dr. Borreca encountered a local farmer whose disabled son could be heard wailing from the barn where he was kept in a cage hidden from local authorities who would “take him away” if discovered. Later, while completing his graduate degree at Columbia University, he had the opportunity to work with a group of children with
Down Syndrome. Inspired by the children and never forgetting the cries of the farmer’s son – he knew his life’s purpose was to advocate for those with developmental disabilities so that they would be treated with the dignity they deserved.
Dr. Borreca’s compassion would prove fertile ground for The Center to flourish. Through his careful cultivation of innovative programs and services The Center grew deep roots in the Houston community and branches extending outward to reach and serve a diverse array of individuals with special needs, helping them to each blossom in their own unique way. Throughout the thirty-five years that Dr. Borreca served as director of The Center he kept a small piece of paper on his desk with the words written, “Lest we forget why we are here” as a simple reminder that The Center is here because every individual, regardless of disability or capability, possesses an inherent worth and innate potential that must be nurtured and allowed opportunities for choice, growth and independence. We will never forget.