A lot has changed since United Helpers was founded in 1898. We’ve expanded our reach, from elder care to rehabilitation to behavioral health. Life has its tough times. And for many, United Helpers will be a place to turn to more than once along life’s way. So we’ve built an organization to meet your needs today and tomorrow. By connecting people to the right services and supports, they can be as engaged as possible with living. Some call it a “continuum of care.” We simply call it Always Caring.
How It Started
The vision that sparked the birth of the Society of the United Helpers began in the hearts of the people of St. Lawrence County. In 1898 and the two decades preceding, a desperate need to house indigent children was identified. Answering the call for action were ten women who pledged $100 each to fun and establish a Home for the Homeless. This home was to provide care for orphaned children and destitute women. Ultimately setting the standard of care that later defined the Society of the United Helpers. Soon after, twelve church women joined together to apply for a charter. They developed a constitution and bylaws, and the Society of the United Helpers was officially formed in April 1898.
A Timeline of Our History
May 4, 1898, the first child was placed in the Society’s Home located at 22 Congress Street in Ogdensburg. Alzina Milligan, the Society’s first matron, rode to Potsdam, NY to pick up a boy in need of care.
The Society’s articles of incorporation were officially approved by the State Board of Charities on February 22, 1899.
The Home experienced unimaginable growth and reaches full capacity. The Society of the United Helpers purchased 2.5 acres of land at 1220 State Street in Ogdensburg, where the Edgar E. Newell Dome stands currently.
January 1, 1901, the United Helpers Home opened, costing $12,000.
While growth continued, a new Babies Ward opened.
Responding to a new community need in July 1910, the first elderly women is officially admitted into the residence.
Outgrowing accommodations once again, the Society raises $76,000 to add a three-story expansion to the Home, including 25 new rooms for the children and elderly.
The effects of the Great Depression resulted in a large influx of admissions, both children and elderly women.
Women and children of the Home help the war effort by planting large victory gardens, sewing bandages for the army, and sending notes of good cheer to the soldiers.
The first elderly men are admitted to the Home.
By the end of the 1950s, the human services field is rapidly changing. The State Department of Social Welfare decides that children should be placed in foster homes, ending an era for the Society of caring for the area’s children.
The last child leaves the Home on July 3, 1959.
The first men are elected to the Society of the United Helpers Board of Directors.
Plans to build a nursing wing for the sick along with the expansion of the nursing staff commences after an emerging need for skilled elderly care in the community.
In April 1968, a fire at the Home renders renovation plans for the existing home an impractical venture. Land is purchased and drawings for a new building are drawn.
On July 16, 1970, ground is broken at 8101 State Highway 68 for a new 120-bed home for the elderly.
The Society begins construction on a dormitory to accommodate 40 elderly residents, becoming known as the United Helpers Adult Residence.
United Helpers becomes one of the largest healthcare providers in St. Lawrence County after taking receivership of Cedars Nursing Home in Ogdensburg, and Moongate Nursing Home in Canton, providing care and residential services for more than 400 people each day.
The 1980s continue a time of tremendous growth for United Helpers. Centralized management services are moved to United Helpers Management Company, located at Ford Street in Ogdensburg. Property management services for senior/disabled housing complexes are introduced.
United Helpers Care, Inc (United Helpers Behavioral Health and Life Skills) is formed to provide residential care and support for people with developmental disabilities. The first Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) opens in Ogdensburg, followed by five others located in Rensselaer Falls, Lisbon, Heuvelton (2), and Morristown.
United Helpers introduces mental health services, opening Gateway Apartment Treatment and developing the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team
United Helpers opens its first Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) in Ogdensburg. Three more IRAs will be purchased by 1998, resulting in three in Ogdensburg and one in Rensselaer Falls.
United Helpers opens Partridge Knoll, St. Lawrence County’s first independent retirement community. Today, Partridge Knoll is better known as United Helpers Independent Senior Living.
United Helpers introduces Home Health Services.
The Society embarks on its largest fundraising campaign in more than 30 years, and later breaks ground on a $26 million project to combine the United Helpers and Cedars Nursing Homes.
The construction and merger of United Helpers/Cedars Nursing Home is complete, renamed as RiverLedge Health Care & Rehabilitation Center. Ground is broken next on Maplewood Campus, a project including skilled care, rehabilitation, and the County’s first and only Assisted Living Program.
By 2010, United Helpers would offer outpatient physical therapy in two new therapy suites located at the Canton and Ogdensburg campuses.
United Helpers assumes management of Millyard Estates (Parishville, NY), Kilkarney Courts (Fowler, NY), St. Peter’s Square (Ogdensburg, NY), Edwards Senior Court (Edwards, NY) and Cambray Court (Gouverneur, NY). This more than doubles the number of apartments managed by United Helpers.
Stepping Stones children’s therapy services are introduced.
United Helpers announced the formation of Sparx, Inc. to offer business services. In the fall, UH also announces a partnership with Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and Canton-Potsdam Hospital to provide home care services. Thus, Northern Lights Home Health Care is launched.
United Helpers acquires LEAP, Inc, adding three residential facilities and an additional day habilitation program in Potsdam for people with developmental disabilities. During this time, all of the United Helpers ICFs are converted to IRAs, bringing the total number of Individualized Residential Alternatives to 13.
United Helpers opened a Behavioral Health Clinic in Ogdensburg, offering individual, group and/or family therapy.
United Helpers launches a rebranding effort, reorganizing the company into recognizable service lines.
April 26, 2023, Congresswoman Elise M. Stefanik thanked United Helpers for their 125 years of service while speaking on the floor of Congress.
May 4, 2023, United Helpers celebrates 125 years of Always Caring!
Today, United Helpers continues to serve the community and help those in need by providing post-acute health and human services in the North Country, helping more than a thousand people each day. Our strong and vibrant history is a testament to holding true to our roots and fully and ever embracing our mission.