Dating back to the 1930’s, the local Rotary Club had provided assistance to crippled children in the area.

On January 9, 1951 the organizational meeting was held at the YMCA for a proposed Mifflin County Society for Crippled Children & Adults.  The local Rotary Club was very involved in this new endeavor.

This new Society was located at 7th Street in Highland Park.

During the first year, the Society served 18 children, spending a little over $1000 to provide special shoes for the children, a day camp at Kish Park, a speech & hearing clinic, and an outing to the Shrine Circus.


In the 1960’s the Society for Crippled Children & Adults decided to start looking at purchasing a building.

The Society also started offering physical therapy to its participants.  A therapist would travel from Altoona one time a month for a fee of $50.


In 1970, the first home of the Center, at 401 Yale Street, was bought.  It was purchased for $14,000.00.  A loan for $8,000.00 had to be taken out to complete the purchase.

Also in the ‘70’s, one of the longest running programs at the Center was started.  The Adult Recreation program was born.  Also a Nursery program was started.  The total budget to run programs was about $25,000.


In 1986 the name of the agency was changed from the Society for Crippled Children & Adults to the Easter Seals Society.

By the late 1980’s the building’s roof had to be replaced.  The 80’s also saw the start of Dance Class and the Kiwanis’ Fishing Derby became an annual event.  Over 500 pieces of equipment were loaned through the equipment loan program each year. The Society was serving over 200 people and the annual budget was around $50,000.

In 1988 the first Lip Sync Contest was held and was called “Sealing up the hits”.

In 1989 the agency separated from the Easter Seals Society and the name was once again changed, this time to its present name - Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center, Inc.


One of the many programs started in the ‘90’s was the Family Driven Support Program.  Also, the playground was built at the office located at 401 Yale Street.  The Special Needs Center was growing by leaps and bounds.  It added the Marcella Ganoe Center in September 1999 as a fully licensed Adult Training Center. This new program and building is located at 439 South Juniata Street. The property was formerly owned by The Lewistown-Mifflin County Jaycees and the program was operated by the local Association of Retarded Citizens. The M-J Special Needs Center was hand-picked by the Association to take over the management of this program. The property was also donated to the Center.


At the Start of the new millennium, more than 15 programs and services were offered by the Special Needs Center with 7 full-time staff and 7 part-time staff, over 400 people was served through the various programs and had an operating budget of over $350,000.


In 2001, the agency once again saw tremendous growth.  The Marcella Ganoe Center doubled in size in July, serving over twenty individuals with 6 full-time staff.  The Early Intervention Program also nearly doubled as services were expanded to Juniata County.  The agency budget exceeded $500,000.  A total of 11 full-time staff and 4 part-time staff were employed.


In July 2004 we opened our first licensed Family Living home and in August services were expanded to Huntingdon County as we became the ISO Vendor/ Fiscal agent for the tri-county region.

We reached the one million dollar mark for our budget in 2005. During the fall of this year a strategic planning retreat for Board and staff members was held to set the course for continued growth & prosperity. A number of goals and priorities were established for the agency. These included expanding day program services to a larger building and having a program for younger adults, having a multi-purpose room for all programs, having an LPN and other therapists on staff, additional transportation resources, larger office space for administrative staff and expanding services for ALL individuals with special needs. Over five hundred individuals received services in fiscal year 2005-06. We began seeking land to address program expansion & the need for additional office space.

The fiscal year for 2007-08 began with the hiring of two therapists in our Early Intervention program. A physical therapist & occupational therapist was added part-time. Hearing, vision & speech therapy were contracted through the local intermediate unit. Programs continued to expand.

Three years of work toward one of the objectives of a strategic plan developed by Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center, Inc. in the fall of 2005 culminated in the opening of the ComPASS (Community Partners Allied Service System) Center in September of 2008. By the end of June 2009, this 35000+ square foot building was occupied by the Special Needs Center, as well as, four tenants who also moved into the facility between September 2008 & March of 2009. It is anticipated that the ComPASS Center will be fully occupied by the beginning of 2010. The partnership between these tenants has allowed for better collaboration & sharing of resources by utilizing common meeting room spaces and building wide phone, data and utility services. Our tenants include The Abuse Network, Inc., Tri-County Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission, Tuscarora Intermediate Unit #11 and American Red Cross of the Susquehanna Valley. The ComPASS Center was also designated as a mass care shelter in April 2009 with the American Red Cross and is available in the event of a disaster in our community. This building allowed us to open a second Adult Training Facility –Compass Corner. We employed over ninety staff as our ISO program was converted to an Agency with Choice model of service delivery. The budget topped 1.7 million dollars.

The Special Needs Center employed nearly 170 staff by the end of June 2012. One hundred & thirty Home Health Aides made up the bulk of these employees. Nearly 700 individuals received support or services in the Huntingdon, Mifflin & Juniata county region. The budget hovered a little over the two million dollar mark for the past three years. Board & staff completed a new strategic plan in the spring of 2012 and we are excited about this new mission and vision for our company.

Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center, Inc. envisions a community where personal dignity is honored, diversity is embraced & full inclusion for persons with disabilities is promoted in all aspects of life.


Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center, Inc. accepts individuals for who they are, advocates for people with disabilities, supports them & their families with essential services and empowers them to develop their abilities and potential.

Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center, Inc.
Whatever it takes…


founders of Intenational Society for Crippled ChildrenSome of the founders of the International Society for Crippled Children, which became Easter Seals: Paul Harris, Sam Squire (PDG), Bob Patterson (DG and Director), Hart Seeley (DG and Director), Hugh Van De Walker (DG), Clarence Collings (DG), Edgar Allen (Rotary Club of Elyria, Ohio), Jay Howenstine, Case N. Crispin, George Mitchell (DG), Bert Gammel, John Bentley (PDG and Director), Frank Weedon, and Anthony Tall (Superintendent, Memorial Hospital, Elyria, Ohio), February 1922. Edgar Allen was the President and founder of the International Society for Crippled Children and Paul Harris served as the Chairman of its first Board of Directors.   IPTC - Creator:   Unknown   IPTC - Credit: Courtesy of Rotary International

crippled children and adults-history

History: Foundation for Crippled Children.ComPASS Building 31 South Dorcas Street Lewistown, PA 17044ComPASS Building-31 South Dorcas Street Lewistown, PA