Simply stated, Via Services is devoted to turning disabilities into capabilities. For over 65 years, we have been helping children and adults with special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives. Our innovative programs make real changes in the lives of the special needs community—including the parents and family who love and care for them.
And it all started with two women who helped a single, working mother and her 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy see—and experience—the world outside his window.
The Vision for Via: Two Women, One Mom and a 13-Year-Old Boy
Because school was not mandated for children with disabilities in the 1940’s, the single mother of a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy was forced to leave her son alone every day. She positioned his wheelchair by the window, placed his food on a nearby table and reluctantly left him there from early morning until she could return from work in the evening.
Frances Anderson and Faye Braely noticed the boy sitting in the window every day. When the two women approached the mother about taking her son on weekly excursions, she welcomed their help.
Climbing two flights of narrow stairs, the women would first bring down the boy’s heavy wheelchair and then climb the stairs again, carrying the boy down in a “chair” they made with their arms. They took the boy on short field trips and city excursions, expanding his horizons.
The two volunteers were soon helping five people with disabilities. Generous people, businesses and organizations donated transportation, a vacant house to use. With borrowed chairs and tables, the growing group of volunteers provided lunch, entertainment and day activities at their first facility.
That act of generosity led to the creation of the Crippled Children’s Society, an organization that would become Via Services, a non-profit organization that continues to grow and serve families, children and adults with special needs and disabilities in Santa Clara County.
We invite you to explore our website, learn more about our people, programs and the other community resources and partners who serve people with special needs. We welcome your calls!