A new year always brings new things. Here at CDS Monarch, our year began with a new name and a fresh look.

First, let me share a bit of history with you. The name "Continuing Developmental Services" was assigned to this organization by our Founders. At the heart of this name was the notion that people with intellectual disabilities could progress in their lives through a developmental process. Everyone had potential and with the right supports, each person could achieve their dreams. Many have also known us by the well-recognized, short form "CDS".

You now ask: What changed? Well, the nature of our services has changed to accentuate individual choice. With the advent of NYS CARES, an initiative by Governor Pataki, individuals with intellectual disabilities have been able to reside in more normalized residential settings with their peers. At CDS, there was a significant expansion of residential, day habilitation, and family support services. The emphasis in all of our service offerings was the ability of each individual to have a say in the services they received. The wonderful result was a theme of life transitions, and life transformation.

So, several years ago, CDS adopted a new logo, which was the red butterfly. In the years that followed, CDS continued to grow and evolve. The Board of Directors adopted a strategy which included diversification into the senior living area to address the needs of seniors with intellectual disabilities. Because of that, we are proud to say that we have opened the doors of CDS Monarch Senior Living, as of February 1, 2012. Unistel has made significant strides in securing federal contracts that provide work for so many people. And then, we did something of great consequence: Together, we made the commitment to help our brave men and women returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Warrior Salute™ helps soldiers regain their lives by providing comprehensive clinical interventions, vocational training, competitive employment and transition back into their community. I share all of these things with you to show how much CDS has evolved.

As such, two years ago, we began a conversation with all of our stakeholders regarding the potential change of the name "Continuing Developmental Services". Everyone worked hard to examine the options and the related issues. At the end of the day, there was universal consensus to change the name to "CDS Monarch". I am very proud of our new name, and all that it represents.

Sankar Sewnauth
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