CHEERS TO 50 YEARS! Celebrating the Legacy of Cape Abilities!

Filed in Blog by on February 28, 2019

The year 2018 marked the most important milestone in the history of this organization.  It commemorated 50 years of providing the highest quality programs and services to thousands of individuals with disabilities on Cape Cod that helped them reach their potential, and live valued and meaningful lives in their communities.   When Cape Abilities began as Nauset Workshop in 1968, there were four individuals receiving services.
Today, we serve over 400 people with disabilities across Cape Cod. 

But, as our 50th Anniversary Video below shows, there is so much more to this story than just a growth in numbers served.  Our 50-year legacy on Cape Cod is a celebration that reflects the achievements of our participants and the contributions of our dedicated staff, our amazing volunteers
and the loyal community partners who are aligned with our values and are committed to our mission.


Our 50th Anniversary video showcases the finest in abilities
of the entire Cape Abilities family.



“Cheers to 50 Years” – Important Moments in Cape Abilities History


In 1968, Cape Abilities was founded as Nauset Workshop in Orleans and began its first programs out of the old Orleans Fire Station, serving just a handful of individuals.  Mrs. Rose Kennedy (right) visited the center in its first months, and shared our mission with many in her effort to support those with disabilities on Cape Cod.



In 1973, Nauset Workshop in Orleans began construction on a satellite office in Hyannis called the Lyndon Center, named in memory of the son of Paul Lorusso (top photo, second from left). The one-story facility on Airport Road sat on land donated to Nauset Workshop by the Lorusso family. Completed in 1974, programs at the Lyndon Center addressed the growing employment training needs of individuals with disabilities throughout the Cape.


In the mid-1970’s, the goal of our Residential program was to create a stable family environment, supported by dedicated staff, that would provide new domestic and social learning experiences and enhance each resident’s feeling of independence and self-esteem. By 1978, group homes in Harwich, Hyannis and Orleans were serving 20 individuals with disabilities.Today, Cape Abilities’ Residential Services, includes 16 homes; with no more than four residents per home. These programs continue to ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to choose the living situation that best meets their needs to enhance their quality of life.

In 1982, the Nauset Workshop relocated from Orleans to Eastham, into an 8,000 square foot building that would serve as the new center for programming and services for individuals with disabilities across Cape Cod.  On August 15, 1984, the building was rededicated the “Cochran Center”, in honor of Henry J. Cochran, Nauset Workshop’s  President & Executive Director from 1971-74, who passed away earlier that year.  Mr. Cochran was a guiding force in the planning and building of the original Lyndon Center in Hyannis.  Attending the ceremony along with Mrs. Henry J. Cochran were (l-r) the Cochran daughters, Virginia, Margarita and Nannette, granddaughters Anne and Emily, and son-in-law Donald Klug.


We are so proud of our five-decade legacy and the privilege we have had serve the most incredible citizens in our community. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (below) congratulated Cape Abilities at our 2018 Annual Meeting on 50 years of service to thousands of individuals with disabilities and commended us for our commitment and dedication to the growth and success of the Cape Cod community.



  • Fundraising block – Commemorate 50 years – Legacy Brick Program
  • 2019 50th anniversary-related Events/Releases
  • Noted Cape Abilities participants and their achievements
  • Quotes Block – from noted supporters/participants with link to new donation page

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