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Our Roots:

YAI was launched in February of 1957 out of a small school in Brooklyn, New York. Initially staffed by Co-Founders Bert MacLeech and Pearl Maze MacLeech alone, their pilot program served just seven people. According to Bert, from its very beginning YAI has been dedicated to providing innovative services for the I/DD (intellectual and/or developmental disabilities) community. MacLeech envisioned a, “total life adjustment approach, emphasizing personal growth, social responsibility, employment goals, and the development of independence for the individual.” At a time when institutional living was the norm for people with I/DD, this vision was nothing short of revolutionary.

YAI Today:

Today, YAI has a team of over 4,000 employees and supports over 20,000 people in the I/DD community. This extraordinary growth shows the ongoing need for these important services, and YAI’s success in offering them. YAI supports people with autism, Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, among others. Operating across the New York metropolitan area and parts of New Jersey, YAI now offers more than 300 programs for people of all ages.

Our Mission:

YAI believes in promoting opportunities for Living, Loving, Working, and Learning. We empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live their best lives by reaching their goals, both big and small, every day.

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