The Center For Discovery

At The Center for Discovery, people with disabilities work hard to find a way forward as they shape lives of meaning.

The supports we offer are grounded in the land and our community of care and education, which for many years has integrated food and farming, science and research, and health and wellness.

We are a vibrantly successful program that encourages people with intellectual and physical challenges to defy expectations, while simultaneously evolving new models for living.

What happens here matters everywhere.


Walter J. Scherr is a highly successful international businessman who overcame many obstacles through persistence, honor, and commitment. He grew up during the depression in Ozone Park, Queens, was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a young age and then quarantined at a large sanitarium for a number of years. Walter never forgot what it meant to be removed from society because of a disability nor the compassionate care that he received from his caregivers.

Walter was first introduced to The Center by his respected surgeon, Dr. George Todd, who invited him to tour the agency’s advanced programs and facilities. In response to what he witnessed and the high quality of care provided, Walter established the Vera and Walter Scherr Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to Center staff looking to pursue an advanced degree or continuing professional education/certification. This innovative program not only served to assist The Center by enhancing its workforce, but also provided the means to honor caregivers and recognize those who committed themselves to the caring profession.

More recently, Walter and the Scherr Family have gone on to champion the development of a Maker’s Lab and Learning Center featuring the use of such technologies as 3-D printers, laser cutters and CNC routers. In this environment, the engineering, artistic and design talents of people in the larger community will be joined with the specialized skills of The Center’s long-established Advanced Rehabilitation Technology Design group. Their objective: to create and encourage new technologies and devices that assist people with special needs, disabilities and age-related conditions – and share them with the world.

Learn More About Walter’s Life Through His Book: Walter’s Way

See Article About Walter in the Wall Street Journal

82nd airborne (1)

Members of the 82nd Airborne Association join with The Center for Discovery staff at the summit of Slide Mountain - the tallest peak in the Catskills.

Four-Day Event made Possible by Vera and Walter J. Scherr Foundation

HARRIS - The Center for Discovery, in partnership with the 82nd Airborne Association - an independent non-profit dedicated to supporting members of the 82nd Airborne - hosted 20 service- men and women for the first ever ‘All American Adventure' recently. The inaugural event, inspired by The Center's world-renowned model for health and wellness, was developed to help support and honor men and women who have recently returned home from service after nine-month deployments in Afghanistan and Kosovo. 

The ‘All American Adventure' program idea was initially developed through a request of the 82nd Airborne Division Association to pursue areas to assist the 82nd Airborne Division with the reintegration process of recently redeployed Troopers of the Division. The outstanding support provided by the Division's Leadership, and their care for the welfare of their soldiers, allowed for The Center for Discovery and the 82nd Airborne Division Association to make this program a success. The ‘All American Adventure' program was made possible by a generous gift from the Vera and Walter J. Scherr Foundation. 

Through decades of philanthropy and the publication of his award-winning autobiography, “Walter's Way”, Walter J. Scherr has made it his life's mission to commemorate the heroic service of individuals who have served in the armed forces of the United States. Mr. Scherr has continued his work honoring soldiers and caretakers by working with the 82nd Airborne Association to support its troops.  "We feel incredibly honored to have spent time with these young servicemen and women who have made enormous sacrifices for our country. They have each built a special bond with all of us here - our staff, our residents, and I - and we look forward to welcoming them back with open arms. They are selfless, dedicated, and courageous individuals and we are proud to know them," said Patrick H. Dollard, President & CEO of The Center for Discovery.

Throughout the four-day event, individuals participated in exciting athletic and outdoor adventure type experiences, among other activities at The Center, including: a boot camp class, a bike tour of The Center's campus with opportunities for interaction with Center residents, guided meditation, yoga, campfires, farm-fresh meals, and more. 

An additional portion of the event was held at Frost Valley YMCA, which included fly fishing, a hike up Slide Mountain, and an activity on their Y climbing tower and zip line. ​





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