A Moving Tribute to Our Founder, Natalie Rogers

A Moving Tribute to Our Founder, Natalie Rogers

A Tribute to Our Founder – Natalie Rogers
Natalie Katz Rogers was a trailblazing advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), leaving an indelible mark on the community she served. As a founder of Queens Centers for Progress (QCP), she laid the foundation for vital support systems that continue to benefit countless lives. Her unwavering dedication to championing the rights and needs of both children and adults with IDD set a powerful example for others in the field. Natalie’s role as a mentor inspired and guided many professionals, shaping the future of disability advocacy. Her work extended beyond local efforts, as she played a crucial role in establishing the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.

Natalie’s tireless advocacy persisted throughout her life, embodying a commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities that endured until her final days at 103 years old. Natalie passed away peacefully at her residence in Florida on May 7, 2023, however her legacy lives on through Queens Centers for Progress and the countless individuals whose lives she touched.

Click below to view a 2019 video of Natalie speaking about the humble beginnings of QCP.

A LIFE AND LEGACY REMEMBERED …

One year after Natalie Rogers passed away, QCP held a street re-naming ceremony to honor the legacy of our founder, role model and mentor. On Friday, May 10. 2024, community members and leaders came together in Jamaica Hills at the corner of 164th Street and Goethels Avenue – now officially known as Natalie Rogers Way – to honor her life and the legacy she leaves behind.

The co-naming was made possible by legislation sponsored by City Councilman Jim Gennaro. “In honoring Natalie Katz Rogers with this co-naming, we not only recognize her tireless dedication to individuals with cerebral palsy, but also celebrate her enduring legacy of compassion, advocacy, and service,” Gennaro said in a statement. “Natalie’s remarkable journey, from founding Queens Centers for Progress to her advocacy at the state and national levels, exemplifies the profound impact just one person can have on their community and beyond.”

The street renaming ceremony stands as a testament to Natalie Katz Rogers’ enduring influence and the deep respect she garnered throughout her life by remaining dedicated to the Queens community and its progress.


ABOUT QUEENS CENTERS FOR PROGRESS …

Queens Centers for Progress was founded in 1950 when Katz Rogers and other Queens parents began advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and laid the groundwork for the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State. Construction began on the organization’s first dedicated building at 82-25 164th St. in Hillcrest, which would offer therapy and educational programs for children with cerebral palsy. As the children grew, they began offering vocational services, including facility-based training workshops. As the deinstitutionalization movement grew in the early 1970s so did the scope of her organization.

QCP’s Natalie Katz Rogers Training and Treatment Center at 81-15 164th St. was built in 1974 followed by the opening of the Robert T. Groh Residence in Jamaica Estates in 1979.

Currently, QCP provides programs and services assisting more than 1,200 individuals to promote independence, community involvement and quality of life.

Tens of thousands of individuals have gained independence, learned crucial life skills, and found jobs in their communities thanks to the groundwork she laid over the years. She was a founding member of the Cunningham Women’s League for Handicapped Children becoming its president while running a commercial real estate brokerage with her husband, wrote and produced amateur musical productions, and worked as a campaign manager, all while raising three daughters.

 

Despite her age, Natalie continued to be a powerhouse for the IDD community and was actively involved on QCP’s Board of Directors until the age of 101. Since 1950, she advocated for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and truly lived by her motto As much as I can for as long as I can.”

Natalie’s ongoing commitment to the adults and children whom QCP supports has benefitted generations of people with disabilities and their families. Tens of thousands of individuals have gained independence, learned crucial life skills, and found jobs in our communities. Thanks to the groundwork laid by Natalie, people with developmental disabilities now live their best lives!

Natalie was an extraordinary person. Everyone that knew her felt her wisdom, her strength and her kindness, and we were extremely fortunate to have her guidance and leadership for 70+ years.

Natalie’s legacy will continue to live on through the vital work we do and our commitment to the people whom we support.

To learn more about QCP, please visit: www.queenscp.org
To make a donation to QCP, please CLICK HERE.

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