New Concepts for Living transforms shuttered Barnes & Noble into one of the most comprehensive programs in the nation for adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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Paramus, N.J., June 18, 2024 – New Concepts for Living (NCFL), New Jersey’s premier provider of community residences, day programs, and therapeutic and behavioral services for adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), today announced the grand opening of a new, state-of-the-art Achievement Center in Paramus, N.J.

The 81,423 square-foot Achievement Center is located in a former Barnes & Noble on Route 17 that NCFL purchased in 2022 and completely renovated. It features a 5,500-square-foot “town square,” a spacious Main Street and walking paths, as well as life skills training rooms including a kitchen, supermarket, computer and technology lab, bedroom, and laundry room. The center also houses dedicated spaces for recreation, prevocational training, sensory rooms, health and wellness screenings, and therapeutic services such as physical, occupational, behavioral, and speech therapy.

CLICK HERE to view/download hi-res photos

“Eight years ago, when I was blessed to take the helm of this incredible agency, I envisioned the improvements and growth necessary to better serve our family of extraordinary individuals as well as the growing I/DD community. I am humbled to see that dream become a reality,” stated NCFL CEO Steve Setteducati. “I want to sincerely thank our dedicated and compassionate staff, our participants and their guardians as well as our donors and supporters for making this day possible. I would also like to acknowledge the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), our Governor and State Legislature for their guidance and support in helping to make this happen.”

The new Achievement Center will make it possible, in coordination with DDD, for NCFL to increase exponentially the capacity of its day program over the next few years to help meet the growing demand for services for adults 21 and over with I/DD.

“We commend New Concepts for Living and their staff for providing comprehensive care and fostering an environment of independence, growth, and community integration for adults living with I/DD,” said Jonathan Seifried, Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and expanding access to quality services and supports across the state.”

NCFL currently has a waiting list of over 300 individuals for its programs while serving an area of the state with the highest number of individuals with I/DD, according to DDD. Bergen County accounts for nearly 10% of all New Jerseyans receiving DDD-funded services.

“Providing quality day programs for people with disabilities is a top priority,” said Paul Aronsohn, New Jersey’s Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families. “We therefore welcome the Achievement Center and its promise of providing more meaningful opportunities for New Jersey’s large and diverse disability community.”

“With not enough programs available and long waiting lists, parents of adults with special needs often struggle to find a safe and enriching place where their children can get the services and support they need to live full lives,” said Kim Catalfamo, mom of an adult child with Cerebral Palsy and multiple other health and special needs. “I’m so glad New Concepts for Living has opened this beautiful, comprehensive Achievement Center, which ensures more and more adults with I/DD have access to critical services.”

The Achievement Center will support activities and services for adults living with a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, brain injury, fetal alcohol syndrome, and rarer conditions such as Williams, Prader-Willi, and Rett syndrome.

“The Borough of Paramus welcomes New Concepts for Living to our town,” said Paramus Mayor Chris Di Piazza. “We support and will help in any way possible with New Concepts’ mission to enrich the lives of adults with special needs. Paramus will be the new daily location for these adults and, as a Borough, we are proud of that.”

Among those attending today’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony included: State Senator John McKeon (LD-27); Assemblymembers Chris Tully (LD-38), Clinton Calabrese (LD-36) and Shama Haider (LD-37); Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco and County Commissioners Mary Amoroso, Joan Voss, Tracy Zur; Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton; Paramus Mayor Chris Di Piazza and Councilmembers Robert Kaiser, Alfredo Nadera, Jeanne Weber; Emerson Mayor Danielle DiPaola; Hillsdale Mayor Michael Sheinfeld; River Edge Mayor Tom Papaleo; State Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and their Families Paul Aronsohn; representatives from U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s (NJ-05) office, State Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities, the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities in New Jersey, and New Jersey Association of Community Providers; and individuals with I/DD and their families.

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