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

the disability integration act of 2015 (1)

HURLEYVILLE – U.S. Senator Charles Schumer publicly introduced a new bill on Thursday at the Center for Discovery’s Maker’s Lab he says will allow people with medical disabilities to become more independent and stay in their own community.

The Disability Integration Act of 2015 – written and sponsored by Schumer in December – would improve long-term services for medically disabled people, Schumer said.

It allows for a disabled person to receive the same care at home – or in a setting of their choosing – that they would receive at a live-in facility. It would do so by prohibiting public entities and insurance companies from wait-listing people, capping their services or screening them out.

Schumer said states that comply with the bill could see a five percent increase in their Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, which determines federal Medicaid expenditures for each state.

Schumer said he isn’t against live-in facilities that provide care for the medically disabled.

“But there ought to be a choice,” Schumer said.

Schumer chose to unveil the bill at the Center for Discovery because he says it is a place that treats its 300 daily and residential children and adults with medical disabilities equally, and helps them become more independent.

One example is the recently opened Maker’s Lab, which is a think tank and invention center where projects are created for the elderly and people with disabilities.

Patrick Dollard, president and CEO of the Center, praised Schumer for the bill. He said it could pave a path for a variety of housing options for disabled people that could take them out of their homes and help them become even more independent.

“I think, overall, the idea is brilliant,” Dollard said.

Funding for the bill has not yet been figured out, Schumer said. But he pointed to the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 – which financially supplements insurance benefits for disabled people – that was funded by closing corporate loopholes.

“We will find the same amount of money here,” Schumer said.

The cost of care for disabled people could be reduced by helping people with disabilities become more independent, Dollard said.

“It forces people who provide services to anticipate people getting better,” Dollard said.


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