Celebrating Success with Golden Achievements
Acceptance of the developmentally disabled and those with mental illness into northeastern Pennsylvania communities began in 1966. That year was partly a period of freedom for those housed in state institutions and mental hospitals. But, what came with this freedom was a growing need for shelter and services for those discharged from the institutions.
Programs were developed to address the growing need for homes and Johanna Fitzmaurice was contacted. She decided to take six gentlemen from White Haven State Center into her home while they transitioned into their new lives. This marked the beginning of the human service organization Fitzmaurice Community Services and its legacy of, “Building Brighter Futures for Adults with Disabilities.”
The last half century has been busy and productive for Fitzmaurice Community Services providing specialized services to adults with developmental and behavioral health disorders, the first thing on Koster’s mind as the organization’s 50th year anniversary approaches is how much things have changed within the community at large. “I’ve been thinking about how services have evolved over these past 50 years,” said Koster. Very few persons are living in state institutions or state mental hospitals in Pennsylvania today. Support for families has greatly improved and convers are now finding that they are truly part of our community.