Today is a special day at the Barber National Institute. We are celebrating Founder’s Day to commemorate the legacy of our founder, Dr. Gertrude A. Barber, and our enduring mission.
Dr. Barber’s dream in 1952 was that children and adults with disabilities would be able to learn and grow in their own community, in which they would find acceptance and opportunity. This vision has positively changed the lives of thousands of children and adults over the last 64 years and has opened doors and minds by promoting these ideals.
I recently found a memo written by Dr. Barber in the early 90s that reflects her commitment to these principles. I wanted to share some excerpts here; who better to tell you of our mission than Dr. Barber herself?
“I believe a leader’s role is one needing to work with legislators, schools, local, state, and federal governments. In doing so, we were able to expand community programs in Erie County, beginning a Franklin Terrace, YMCA, Boy’s Club, Hamilton School, and finally, at Lakeview Hospital.
We recognized the need and importance of establishing a linkage with media to inform the community about the growth and development of the Center. By personally working with the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Education, we were able to show them our innovative and creative programs, which were on the cutting edge of technology.
These accomplishments were the result of acquiring an excellent staff, seizing the needs of the moment, and being prepared and knowledgeable in finance, programming, etc. I believe a good leader has the ability to foresee the needs of the present and future as it relates to the past.
Our focus has continued to be a mission of faith, hope, and love – to open the doors where they were closed – to bring sunlight where there was darkness – faith where there was despair.
Let’s always lead with a mission to open doors.”
Dr. Gertrude A. Barber, 1995