ADAPT Community Network CEO, Ed Matthews, Shares His Lifelong Mission of Helping New Yorkers With Disabilities

by Kim Pestalozzi and Tamsen Fadal, WPIX 11 New York

NEW YORK, New York – “I want people to know that we’re regular people!” It’s a strong, simple message Denikah Prescod hopes will resonate. She said, “People are always afraid to ask me about certain things because of my disability.”  The 26-year-old is trying to change that perception, creatively. She’s exploring her artistry in Inwood at one of the many ADAPT Community Network centers. “It’s really hard having a disability so it’s kind of good having a place like this to just come and be around the same people as you,” she smiled.

The city-wide nonprofit, formerly known as UCP of NYC, began bringing New Yorkers with disabilities together 70 years ago. At the helm of it all is Ed Matthews.

“We have to adapt to the world and the world has to adapt to people with disabilities,” Matthews explained. “Life is a series of adaptations.”  And during the past 30-plus years, this longtime CEO has done just that, increasing the number of people helped by more than 250 percent. “[I] found a field that I thought I could make a difference in and something I thought was really important to me,” he said of why he first got involved in 1986.

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