From the Cerebral Palsy Center to Ability Now Bay Area


n 1939, a small group of parents founded the Spastic Children’s Society of Alameda County to provide specialized services to children with disabilities to educate families and heighten public awareness about developmental disabilities. The Society became the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Alameda County in 1949.

IN 1949, a group of parents of children with cerebral palsy called upon Elmer Zollner and Mary Valle, successful business entrepreneurs known for their generosity and civic commitment, to bring awareness to the needs of these families. For the next 50 years, Ms. Valle and Mr. Zollner became an unstoppable force in the life and progress of the Cerebral Palsy Center.

“What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other.” Elmer P. Zollner

Ms. Valle enabled the founding parents to mobilize their struggle for both Mary-Valle1publicly and privately funded programs and services to this forgotten segment of the population. Throughout that time she served as a magnet for great community leaders and support. Her focus was always on being of service to the developmentally disabled “today,” while ensuring a viable and sustainable future.

In 1969, the organization withdrew from the national association and became the Cerebral Palsy Center for the Bay Area, Inc. As the organization expanded its programs and services, and service area, we became Ability Now Bay Area in 2015.