Niagara Agency History

Intandem Niagara History

(Formerly Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara)

Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara was founded in 1955 by a group of parents who wanted to obtain services for their children diagnosed with mental retardation. The Niagara County Chapter of the Association for Retarded Children was incorporated as a chapter of the New York State Association for Retarded Children, known as NYSARC, Inc. which is now The Arc New York.

The agency originally operated school programs in Niagara Falls, Lockport and North Tonawanda, providing children with developmental disabilities education and supports– basic needs that they had previously been denied.

In the 1960s, the agency’s first sheltered workshop opened, followed by its first community residence in the 1970s. In 1990, the agency’s name was changed to Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara to reflect the organizational philosophy of building opportunities for people with disabilities and ensuring that they be able to reach their maximum potential and independence through integration into the community.

The provision of new choices in vocational programs spurred a period of growth throughout the 1990s. August 1998 marked the start to a new era of growth for agencies serving people with disabilities throughout New York State when then-Governor George Pataki announced a five year plan aimed at eliminating the waiting list for persons needing out-of-home residential care. 

Up until the 2018 unification with the Cattaraugus County Chapter – The ReHabilitation Center, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara assisted nearly 600 people reach goals and lead more independent lives through on-site vocational training; community-based job placement and employment support; school-to-work transition planning; day programming; clinical services; transportation; residential choices; and  supportive services such as recreation and self-advocacy.