The Cantalician Center for Learning was founded in 1956 by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix (Felician Sisters) as a day school program for children with disabilities. It was officially incorporated in 1974. At that time, the school was supported by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Buffalo and a minimal tuition charge to the parents. Cantalician Center for Learning provided special education programs for children from 6 to 16 years of age, who displayed a wide range of developmental disabilities. The school opened with only twelve children but rapidly expanded and now totals over 200. Cantalician Center also has a program for preschool children who have been diagnosed as having a disability.
In 1968, the agency leased a 4,000-square-foot building adjacent to the school property to be used as an experimental sheltered workshop for the older students, the first in the area. The workshop was instituted as a work activities center to meet the needs of young adults of working age with disabilities and was an extension of the school program.
Today, Cantalician Center's School Age, Daycare and Preschool programs operate out of its 96,000-square-foot George Urban Boulevard facility in Depew, New York. Its Community & Day Services are still thriving, serving over 200 adults annually in various community centers throughout Western New York. The "workshop" has now become a growing contract sales and production workforce operating as Diversified Labor Solutions (DLS) out of its14,000-square-foot space in Tri-Main Center. DLS affords individuals the opportunity to become productive and contributing members of their community through supported employment. Community Prevocational Services and Medicaid Service Coordination is also offered to individuals at Cantalician Center.
The history of Cantalician Center continues to provide children and adults with developmental disabilities person-centered compassionate services that promote independence and offer meaningful opportunities. We look forward to continuing to provide progressive and innovative opportunities for individuals with disabilities within the greater Western New York community.