Aspire of WNY

Many times, the greatest things start with humble, quiet beginnings. For Aspire of Western New York, a young mother planted the seeds that would soon grow into a legacy of caring, devotion and hope.

Sherwood Moss was born March 25, 1945, to Mr. and Mrs. David Moss. A year-and-a-half later, Sherwood was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. There was little assistance for the Moss family as they lovingly cared for their son. Mrs. Mary Moss was fortunate to have a group of friends in the Junior League of Buffalo – an educational and charitable women’s organization aimed at helping the community and promoting volunteerism – who wanted to help. Mary mobilized friends, family and other parents of children with cerebral palsy to form the Cerebral Palsy Association of Western New York on September 19, 1947.

Working together, the Cerebral Palsy Association and the Junior League began studying the problem of cerebral palsy. After a year and a half of study, an October 9, 1949, article from the Buffalo Courier-Express reported that the organizations had made significant progress in educating the community about cerebral palsy’s meaning and treatment methods, while also lobbying for state legislation. The organizations also realized there was no place in the community for young adults with cerebral palsy to meet together. They decided to establish a recreation program, said to be the first of its kind. Meeting space was donated by the Crippled Children’s Guild at 936 Delaware Avenue.

An article from the September 13, 1949, edition of The Buffalo Evening News vividly described what would be called the Young Adult Cerebral Palsy Center:

For the first time in their lives a group of young men and women are looking forward to a gay winter full of happy, interesting days. Accustomed to watching other boys and girls, these young people now are being offered a brand-new slice of living. They will go out at least one night a week for social recreation—go out wheelchairs and all. These young men and women are handicapped by cerebral palsy. (Statistics show that 95% of cerebral palsy happens at birth—so for nearly every member of this group it’s been a long time!)…..

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