A letter from Mark Wolf, son of CDS Co-Founders Lew and Phyllis Wolf
My brother Daryl was born in 1959 with brain damage, cerebral palsy, scoliosis and one leg two inches shorter than the other. My parents were not aware Daryl would have multiple disabilities prior to birth. These disabilities would later fuel the creation of an organization which would impact the lives of entire communities bringing them closer together with one goal in mind; to help people live more fulfilling lives.
My father, Lew Wolf, was a chemist who worked at Kodak. My mother, Phyllis Wolf, was a stay-at-home mom and caring for Daryl became her full-time job. My parents wanted Daryl to have the opportunity to reach his full potential. Taking the institutional route for Daryl was not ever considered an option!
In 1966 Daryl began “patterning therapy” which was intended to improve his cognitive and mobility capabilities. The therapy was rigorous, 14-hour days, 7 days a week, for five years. My father built a therapy room on the house and built the equipment Daryl needed. Local community members, nearly 50 per week, came to work with Daryl and our family, changing our concept of a “normal daily life”.
Over time, Daryl did learn to crawl on his hands and knees and was eventually able to walk with assistance. With educational assistance, Daryl’s cognitive and tactile skills improved, but he would always need an extensive support system. As he went from a pre-teen to a teenager, my parents recognized that there had to be a path for Daryl to have a life-long home and support system they could look forward to in the future. There was always the haunting thought “What is going to happen to Daryl?” They knew they weren’t going to live forever, and Daryl would need more than a place to live, he would need a home.
My parents engaged in discussions with numerous leaders of disability organizations, as well as other families with disabled members. Everyone came together to discuss the next steps. This led them to the idea of creating an organization that could provide support for people with developmental disabilities that would enable them to live in their communities.
It quickly became apparent the hardest part would be taking the concept of CDS and turning it into an actual organization. As with all great accomplishments, a passionate belief will overcome any obstacle. My parents would not let Daryl have anything less than the best they could provide. They pressed forward and CDS was incorporated in 1977. Shortly after its inception, CDS acquired and modified homes to serve as residences for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As the organization gained traction, CDS’ Roxwell Court home was built specifically for people with needs like Daryl’s. He moved in so he could receive the numerous supports he needed to grow.
CDS has continued to grow and expand its mission. Today, celebrating 40 years of changing lives, CDS assists nearly 4,000 people in the community, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as people with chronic illnesses, seniors and veterans.
Everything my parents achieved for Daryl also benefited numerous other people with disabilities. After my parents passed away they left a legacy in the community, along with a bequest of $250,000 through the Daryl Wolf Supplemental Needs Trust to continue support for CDS into the future with the hopes of seeing their contributions go even further by setting an example for others to follow.
With Daryl’s passing this year, his legacy too lives on through CDS and all the organizations that now make up CDS Life Transitions.
I ask you to consider making a gift to the CDS Wolf Foundation, in support of all those at CDS, and in honor of the legacy left by my parents and my brother Daryl.
CDS Wolf Foundation Board Member