HISTORY

Classroom circa 1953

Niagara Support Services (NSS) is a non-profit organization with the mandate of providing services for people with a developmental disability.

Founded in 1953 by an association of parents who had a vision for their children and others like them who seemed to have no place in our society because of their developmental limitations, the Niagara District Parents Council for Retarded Children was born. The first classes began at the local YMCA with nine pupils and a volunteer staff.

  • On July 9, 1956, NSS was officially incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation with the name Greater Niagara Association for Retarded Children.
  • On October 21, 1966, Supplementary Letters Patent were issued to change the name to Greater Niagara Association for the Mentally Retarded.
  • On January 1, 1967, NSS received its Registered Canadian Charitable Organization status, allowing us to issue official donation receipts under the Income Tax Act.
  • On November 3, 1988, Supplementary Letters Patent were issued to change the name to Community Living Niagara Falls.
  • On March 9, 1998, Supplementary Letters Patent were issued to change the name to Niagara Support Services.

Although the organization underwent several name changes throughout its history, and there have been many changes in programs, services, staffing, and funding, our main objective has always remained the happiness and well-being of all of the people we support.

A volunteer Board of Directors strives to fulfill the purpose of the organization. They are the overseeing body that governs all decision-making matters in accordance with the corporate mandate, its mission, vision and objectives, its operations, and its bylaws.

Approximately 67 percent of NSS's funding comes from the Ministry of Community and Social Services under the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act or Child and Family Services Act. The remainder is raised through grants, donations, and fundraising projects.

In 1997, NSS began an alliance with Niagara Training & Employment Agency (NTEC), with NTEC's Executive Director assuming a dual leadership role between the two agencies. The following year the two agencies began sharing board members (currently five members also serve on the NTEC Board of Trustees). The Alliance Vision Statement is "to promote the collective interests of people with developmental disabilities and their families, by helping to improve and extend responsive and cost effective supports and activities through a seamless service delivery model."

In November 2007, Niagara Support Services became the third agency in Ontario to receive FOCUS Accreditation Services’ three-year accreditation distinction. This achievement is a reflection of many years of dedication to excellence in all that we do.

Today, approximately 350 individuals and their families benefit from our programs and services. In order for Niagara Support Services to continue to offer a variety of services for people with special needs, there is a strong necessity to engage caring community citizens into the organization as members. While this agency continues to grow and support more people, the membership needs to grow with it. Please join us in working towards offering the highest quality services possible in the future by becoming a member and partner of our ever-growing agency.