Making a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities for over 50 years.

We provide programs and services to help those with autism, intellectual/developmental, and other disabilities live the most fulfilling lives possible.

Our work is guided by the principles of respect for the individual, normalization, integration, and self-empowerment in the least restrictive environment.

We take pride in the thoroughness of our program design, the exceptionally well maintained and equipped facilities, the high caliber and dedication of our staff, and the success of the children and adults that we support.

At Waban, we make a difference.

Our Mission

Waban is a non-profit corporation organized to develop and operate programs which promote the general welfare and education of children and adults with developmental and other disabilities.

Our Values

We believe in the principles of normalization, integration and self-empowerment in the least restrictive environment. All programs, residential and day, operate utilizing those principles.

Five Decades of Dedication

Fifty years ago, four lifetime friends had a vision for a special place where people with developmental disabilities and other special needs could come and enjoy the summer.

This restful place would be founded on the principle of providing loving help, motivation and patience so vital to the human needs of each person. Each program would be designed to create a sense of self-awareness and to build strong self-esteem and pride borne from accomplishment. Their goal was to try to offer people of all ages with physical and mental disabilities the best place in the world in which to reach their maximum potential.

Through the support and generosity of the community, many individuals, and annual fundraisers, such as the Telethon, Camp Waban has blossomed into a larger organization known as Waban that provides a comprehensive array of programs that each year provides essential services and supports to over 4,000 children and adults with special needs.

Waban Timeline
1966 to 2017

For over 50 years, we’ve provided essential services to thousands of adults and kids.

  1. 1966 to 1970: Waban's beginnings

    1966: Waban is founded as a summer camp with 28 campers and 32 volunteer staff.
    1968: Purchase of additional land, including the waterfront. First camp buildings are raised.

  2. 1971 to 1979: New programs

    1971: Waban begins vocational program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    1972: Establishment of a developmental therapy program for kids ages three to five.
    1976: Waban begins its adult day services program.

  3. 1980 to 1984: Waban grows

    1982: Expansion to the adult day services building and Waban's 'Country Store.'
    1984: Opening of Waban's first group home for adults with disabilities, named Brookwood.

  4. 1985 to 1992:

    1986: Waban's second group home, called Elm Street, opens.
    1988: Wormwood Center and School Street group home open. The child development center adds classrooms for kids ages three to five.
    1991: Waban opens its first supervised apartment.

  5. 1993 to 1999:

    1993: Designed for former residents of Pineland Farms, Morrells Mill and Windmill Farm group homes open.
    1994: Infant toddler program added to services offer at the child development center.
    1995: Three Main Street residences open in Springvale.
    1996: Sunny Lane home opens. The adult development center begins its Sheltered Workshop.
    1998: Bob Fortier gives property for the Day Street residence in Kennebunk. Lenox Street and Old Mill Road homes open. In-home support program begins at the child development center.
    1999: Waban builds a new main office building in Sanford.

  6. 2000 to 2004:

    2000: Waban begins its children's case management program.
    2001: Riverview Street home opens.
    2002: Country Club Road home opens.
    2003: Essex Street home opens.
    2004: New family support services building opens on Waban's main campus.

  7. 2005 to 2009:

    2006: Independent support services program begins providing in-home support to adults.
    2007: Waban begins development of TREE Center, a four-season experiential learning program at the summer camp facility. Onsite therapeutic rehabilitation begins.
    2008: Colby Lane home for adults with severe autism opens in Kennebunk.
    2009: Four-apartment home opens for independent support services on Main in Springvale. The 'Bathhouse,' a four-season facility, opens on Waban's waterfront area. TREE Center facility developed.

  8. 2010 to 2013:

    2010: Opening of SecureRMS, a document destruction company and Waban’s first social enterprise, providing jobs for people with disabilities.
    2011: First universally accessible hiking trail loop opens at Waban. Colby Lane 2, a new home for adults with severe autism, opens.
    2012: Opening of Whitcomb Avenue & Riverview 2 homes. Environmental Educator starts water quality & other experiential programs at TREE Center. Start of vocational program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
    2013: Ridley Road, a home for adults with severe autism, opens. Fraser-Ford Child Development Center adopts ACE autism curriculum.

  9. 2014 to 2017:

    2014: TREE Center, a four-season experiential education center, opens. Waban completes two and a half miles of universally accessible hiking trail.
    2015: Ridley Road 2, a home for adults with severe autism opens The child development center opens 2 additional autism classrooms. SecureRMS moves to new 15,000 square-foot facility.
    2016: The capital campaign for Waban's autism therapy wing expansion raises $1 million. The child development center opens its sixth autism classroom. TREE Center opens its 35-foot climbing tower.
    In 2017... Annually, Waban's more than 500 staff members serve 4,285 children and adults with special needs, offering 953,450 hours of high quality care.

1966 to 1970: Waban’s beginnings

In 1966 Waban was founded as a summer camp with a volunteer staff of 72, a rented prison trailer, two army surplus tents, and borrowed land. Twenty-six day campers were served.
In 1967 the waterfront piece of property was purchased and the first camp session was held at the present location on Bauneg Beg Lake in Sanford.
In 1968 an additional 165 acres were purchased and additional buildings were erected.

1971 to 1979: New programs

In 1971 a vocational program for the 16- to 20-year olds was started.
In 1972 a program for 3-5 year olds with special needs was established.
In 1976 the Adult Development Center was started to serve adults with special needs over the age of 20.

1980 to 1986

In 1981 a $247,000 expansion was financed through the Farmers Home Administration and was used to add 2,800 square feet to the Adult program facility, 675 square feet to the Country Store, and a new septic waste system at the camp end of the facility.
In 1984 Brookwood, a nursing home for adults with developmental disabilities, was established to serve 10 individuals who were multiply handicapped.
In 1986 the Elm Street boarding home for six adults who have minimum needs was opened.

1985 to 1991

In 1988 the Wormwood Center, an all-purpose building, was dedicated. The total cost of $300,000 was raised through a Capital Campaign by a group of volunteers.
In 1988 the School Street boarding home for six adults was purchased and opened.
In 1988 the Child Development Center was expanded to include a classroom for 3-5 year olds with multiple disabilities. An assessment component was also added.
In 1991 two people moved from one of the boarding homes into a supervised apartment.

1992 to 1999

In 1993 two homes for people from Pineland were opened: The Morrells Mill Home, which was new construction, serves four older people; and the Windmill Farm Home, which was renovated, serves four people who needed a more active residential program.
In 1994 an Infant Toddler Program was added to the Child Development Center. This outreach program offers therapies, parent-child playgroup, case management and other family support services to children age birth to two.
In 1995 a three-apartment house on Main Street in Springvale was purchased so that five adults with special needs could live in a more independent living situation.
In 1996 the sheltered workshop component of the Adult Development Center began operations as The Work Center and moved to new space at the Mid-Town Mall in downtown Sanford.
In the fall of 1997 the Waban Coastal Children’s Program was started in Arundel and serves 16 children age 3-5 who have special needs.
In 1998 an Infant-Toddler Program was added to the Coastal Children’s Program in Arundel.
In 1998 an in-home program, now know as “Habilitation Services, where staff go into the home of the child to provide services, was added to the Child Development Center Programs.
In the winter of 1999 the construction of a 4,360 square foot office building was started. In addition to providing much-needed space for administration, additional staff training and therapy areas were made available.

2000 to 2004

In January 2000 The Work Center moved to new space on Pleasant Street in Springvale for its expanded services in providing in-house work projects, supported employment and community job placement.
In the summer of 2000, the Case Management Program was started to assist families in reaching goals particular to their child with special needs through the use of family and community resources.
In July 2001 The Work Center on Pleasant Street in Springvale acquired additional space to accommodate its increased operations and to be able to serve more consumers.
In July 2002, the Work Center acquired additional space and expanded its operations on Pleasant Street in Springvale.
In July 2004, the Adult Development Center and the Work Center were combined in the newly renovated Life Works building located at 102 Pleasant Street in Springvale. The program was designed to help adults with developmental disabilities live their lives to the fullest extent possible and offers opportunities for all to explore new avenues of learning, acquire new skills, spend quality time with peers and to be active members of their community. Life Works provides opportunities for learning in four distinct areas: Health & Fitness, Independent Living Skills, Community Integration, and Employment.
In October 2004, the Family Support Services building which houses Case Management, Habilitation Services and the Residential offices opened on Dunaway Drive.

2005 to 2009

In March 2005, the North Avenue home in Sanford opened to serve 4 adults in 2 separate apartments.
In May of 2005, Life Works received a 3 year national accreditation from the Council on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
In the spring of 2006, the Independent Support Services program was started. This program helps support adults with developmental disabilities to live by themselves or with roommates in the community and in their own apartments.
In the winter of 2007, a collaboration with the University of New Hampshire and NorthEast Passage resulted in the on-site presence of a graduate student in therapeutic recreation and the early stage development of a Therapeutic Recreation program based out of Camp Waban.
The grand opening of a 4-season, fully accessible, and energy efficient Bathhouse, that provides full restroom and shower facilities adjacent to the waterfront, took place in 2009 and completed Phase 1 of a 3-phase plan to transform Summer Camp into a 4-season therapeutic recreation and experiential education learning center.
In 2009 a new classroom at the Child Development Center, which focused on working with children with emotional and behavioral issues, was opened.

2010 to 2013

A common space in the Child Development Center was remodeled and converted to another classroom for children with Autism in 2010.
Waban’s first social enterprise, Secure Records Management System, that provides confidential information destruction services while creating jobs for people with disabilities began operations in 2010 with the assistance of a $40,000 Community Development Block Grant.In 2011, a $295,000 grant from Maine Housing led to the purchase and renovation of 5 Colby Lane in Kennebunk into 3 units of accessible housing enabling a young adult with severe autism to have safe housing and appropriate programming.
A collaboration with Sanford Housing Authority leveraged $700,000 of grants leading to the purchase and renovation of 7 Riverview Street in Sanford into 3 units of accessible housing and the acquisition of 2 Whitcomb Avenue in Sanford that will be transformed into 5 units of accessible housing.
In September 2013, Whitcomb Avenue, a three bedroom semi accessible ranch located in a quiet neighborhood in Sanford opened. Three individuals live there who have varied needs for accessibility and staff support.
In October 2013, Ridley Road, Waban’s 3rd home specializing in supports for adults with Autism opened. The three bedroom ranch is located off of Shaw’s Ridge in Sanford. Renovations began shortly after to convert one of the garage bays and the breezeway into a fully accessible bedroom and bath suite. Three individuals with Autism currently reside there.

2014 to 2017

Wormwood Banquet and Conference Center, a lakeside banquet and conference center located in Southern Maine, comfortably accommodates both small and large groups of up to 150 people, situated in a lovely wooded setting on the waterfront of Bauneg Beg Lake in Sanford, now rents to the general public. Click here for more information on the Wormwood Banquet and Conference Center visit the website.
In July 2014, the new TREE Experiential Education Center, previously known as the Commons, opened and will serve as a 4-season hub for the TREE Program for Teambuilding, Recreation and Environmental Education. It will house the meeting and lab space for Environmental Education, rental space for recreational equipment, the “Commons Café” and staff offices, as well as display areas for program activities. Click here to visit the new TREE website!
In 2015 Ridley Road 2, a home for adults with severe autism opens. The child development center opens 2 additional autism classrooms. SecureRMS moves to new 15,000 square-foot facility.
In 2016 the capital campaign for Waban’s autism therapy wing expansion raises $1 million. The child development center opens its sixth autism classroom. TREE Center opens its 35-foot climbing tower.<
And in 2017 Waban’s more than 500 staff members are annually serving 4,285 children and adults with special needs, offering 953,450 hours of high quality care.

Leadership Team

Senior Administration

Neal Meltzer
Neal Meltzer
Executive Director
Gervaise Flynn
Gervaise Flynn
Deputy Director
Cynthia Caron
Cynthia Caron
Director of Program Integrity and Policy Compliance
Kelly Raye
Kelly Raye
Director of Adult Systems & Services
Tiffany Haskell
Tiffany Haskell
Director of Clinical Treatment Services

Leadership team

Senior administration

Executive Director: Neal Meltzer
Deputy Director: Gervaise Flynn
Chief Administrative Officer: Tim Hagelin
Director of Program Integrity and Policy Compliance: Cynthia Caron-Wilcox
Director of Adult Systems & Services: Kelly Raye
Director of Clinical Treatment Services: Tiffany Haskell

Board of Directors

President: Janet Tockman
Vice President: Kathy Fernberg
Treasurer: Blaine Boudreau
Secretary: Shawn Sullivan

Eric Andrews
Roger Caron
Nicole Dionne
Kim Massaro
Dennis Byrd

Kind words from our friends…

You have given a little boy wings to fly.

“Waban has played a key role in turning my son’s life around. When Andy entered Waban at three-and-a-half, his prospects for a normal life were very dim. Waban sparked a curiosity and fueled a fire in Andy. The curriculum, speech, occupational, and physical therapy were important in his development, but the integral elements were the teacher and the teacher’s assistants who showered Andy with love and encouragement. You have fostered in him an unbridled curiosity for life, a realization that there is progress if you work hard enough and have a true understanding of compassion. You have given a little boy wings to fly.”

– Louise

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