Our History

In 1946, Sister St. Mark McMahon saw the need for a special class for children who were being ignored by the traditional education system. This was long before New York State had mandated that children with IQ's below 50 be accepted into the educational system. With two small classes of 30 "slow learners", Holy Childhood was begun.

Education and vocational training were the focus of these classes. Academic subjects were taught at each student's level, pace and ability. This focus remains the same today, although many different programs had been added, such as foodservice, ceramics, lifeskills, Special Touch Bakery and woodworking.

Over the years we've outgrown several different facilities and have seen tremendous growth in all areas to become the multi-faceted agency that we are today. Holy Childhood includes the Jimmy W. Wilmot Adult Day Training Program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilties and the Helen H. Heller Health Center, which addresses medical, therapeutic and psychological needs of children and adults. A Board of Directors oversees the Agency. Sister Seraphine Herbst served as teacher and administrator for 50 years. Mrs. Donna Dedee is our President and CEO.



Our Mission

To prepare children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for maximum independence and integration in the community through individualized programs and services, in keeping with the philosophy and vision of our founders. We are dedicated to serving our people in an atmosphere of dignity and compassion.

Our Vision 

To provide state-of-the-art programs and services setting the standard for the education, habilitation and treatment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Our Values

Holy Childhood was founded in 1946 by educators and community leader visionaries who believed in the value of every person regardless of their abilities.

  • We are committed to the people we serve, their families, our staff, our friends and our supporters. 
  • We respect one another and our differences; we provide unconditional love, caring and compassion for all we serve. 
  • We strive for continuous learning and improvement. 
  • We strive to achieve the highest quality of service consistent with available resources and the needs of the people we serve. 
  • We strive to use our resources in the most effective and efficient manner.

Holy Childhood thrives on respect, love and caring, and delivers results through adherence to these values.



If you would like to see our agency first-hand, please call (585) 359-3710 to schedule a tour.


Designate # 487
Holy Childhood admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.