Mary Cariola announces evolution of the organization's name and identity

Dec 30, 2019

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The Mary Cariola Children’s Center is announcing a name change as the organization works to evolve its brand.

The non-profit, which provides education and other services for people with disabilities will now be known as “Mary Cariola Center, Transforming Lives of People with Disabilities.”

President and CEO Karen Zandi says the change reflects the fact that the organization also provides services to adults in residential and community services programs.

“Some of that has evolved because of the changes at the state level and individuals who we serve that have multiple and complex disabilities are really pretty challenge and need some individualized plans. So they tend to stay with us until we’re able to secure other services for them,” Zandi explained.

Zandi says Mary Cariola has been serving adults as well as children for some time now.

"Once someone is over 21 talking about them as a child is really disrespectful and therefore deserving the respect that adulthood brings. So the individuals over 21 that we were serving, we didn’t want to keep calling them kids," Zandi said.

Mary Cariola, based on Elmwood Avenue in Rochester, serves nearly 500 students from ages 3 to 21 in an 11-county region.

This story is reported from WXXI's Inclusion Desk.