Who We Are
YAI was launched in February of 1957 out of a small school in Brooklyn, New York. Initially staffed by Co-Founders Bert MacLeech and Pearl Maze MacLeech alone, their pilot program served just seven people. According to Bert, from its very beginning YAI has been dedicated to providing innovative services for the I/DD community. MacLeech envisioned a “total life adjustment approach, emphasizing personal growth, social responsibility, employment goals, and the development of independence for the individual.” At a time when institutional living was the norm for people with I/DD, this vision was nothing short of revolutionary.
Today, YAI has a team of over 4,000 employees and supports over 20,000 people in the I/DD community. This extraordinary growth shows the ongoing need for these important services and YAI’s success in offering them. YAI supports people with autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, among others. Operating in New York State, northern New Jersey, and California, YAI now offers more than 300 programs for people of all ages.
Founded byYAI and its network of affiliate agencies offer children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities a comprehensive range of services. YAI is committed to seeing beyond disability, providing opportunities for people to live, love, work, and learn in their communities.
Respect for all — We seek to develop trusting, lasting relationships by treating everyone in our community as we believe they want to be treated.
Treat one another like family — We strive to nurture a culture where the people we support and our staff feel valued and connected in an atmosphere of trust, safety, and compassion.
Pursue lifelong growth — We make a lifelong commitment to cultivate personal and professional growth and fulfillment for all in our community.
Create joy everyday — We find ways to have fun, laugh, and enjoy our time together — because happiness is the key to a good life.
220 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017
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