About Us » Our History
The Child Development Center of the Hamptons was founded by Dawn Zimmerman Hummel in 1997 as a grass-roots Jump Start program for toddlers in Dawn's house in Amagansett, NY. What began almost a decade ago as a mother's quest to provide her Autistic son, Jon, with a comprehensive social and educational program within his home community has grown to include The Child Development Center of the Hamptons Preschool & Early Intervention Center (birth through age 5) and the CDCH Charter School, a public school educating and serving children in Kindergarten through 5th grade.
Both schools have been specially designed to meet the needs of both "regular" education students and their "special" education peers. While, ironically, Dawn's son never was able to attend either school (he had grown up faster than it took the schools to receive their New York State Accreditation and Charter), almost 200 students annually now benefit from Dawn's efforts.
In 2005 CDCH celebrated its entry into a new era by affliating with Services for the Underserved, a fellow non-profit organization dedicated to servicing the needs of the East End community. The affiliation between the two organizations came about after thorough research and careful reflection both by Dawn and the CDCH Boards of Directors.
Services for the Underserved ("SUS") brought with them great expertise and resources in a comprehensive range of fields including education and special programming for children both with, and without, special needs. SUS successfully operated our schools for five years and in 2009 began a search for a new partner for CDCH and anchored Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE) to assume responsibility for our schools. SUS and FREE worked closely over the past year to ensure a seamless transition and we are proud to announce that FREE assumed responsibility for our schools in 2010. The CDCH is fortunate to have found such a partner with whom we can continue to grow and develop additional programming for the children of the East End and their families. FREE was founded in April 1977 by a group of parents and consumer advocates in response to the need for community residential alternatives to the institutionalization of individuals that are differently-abled. Since that time, Family Residences has established a broad spectrum of services for over 3,000 persons with disabilities residing across Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York.
The CDCH Foundation for Special Children was established in 1999 and diligently fundraises year-round to provide support to the CDCH Schools. The CDCH Foundation's Board of Trustees plays an integral role not only in fundraising but in advising the direction of the Foundation and its giving.