Dedicated to meeting the unique needs of people with disabilities BFAIR incorporated in 1994 at which time the agency opened its first residential home for people with developmental disabilities. Two years later a Day Habilitation program was launched offering individualized services for adults with disabilities emphasizing community participation and volunteerism.
In 2000 the agency was awarded its first vocational contract. Today BFAIR’s Arcadia Employment Services vocational program offers employment, training and job placement services for close to two hundred people with disabilities annually. AFC (Advanced Flexible Composites) received Arcadia’s 2013 Employer of the Year award for their outstanding record of providing employment for people with disabilities.
Moving forward the agency relocated its administrative office and Day Habilitation program to a new facility on South Church Street, North Adams. Simultaneously a satellite office was opened in Pittsfield offering Individual and Family Support Services to promote semi-independent living for adults with disabilities as well as outreach services to families.
Eleven residences, shared living arrangements and supported apartments provide living assistance for seventy adults with disabilities. In the spring of 2014 a new residence was developed for four women with acquired brain injuries previously residing in nursing homes. Similarly, BFAIR’s Adult Family Care program provides people with medical, physical or intellectual disabilities in home with a family member or qualified caregiver.
Launched as a pilot project in 2009 with North Adams Public Schools BFAIR’s Children and Adolescent program now offers clinical supports using the principles of applied behavior analysis for students with autism attending schools through Berkshire County and Southern Vermont.
Experiencing 10% growth over the past six years and creating an additional seventy jobs over the same period BFAIR currently employs 215 people providing services to 420 children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities, autism and acquired brain injuries. Not willing to accept the status quo, the agency continues to develop innovative programs such as ‘Bridging the Gap’ a collaboration with Monument Mountain Regional High School offering students with autism a life skills curriculum to promote independent living upon graduation as well as a specialized counseling service for adults with cognitive disabilities.
A member agency of the Northern Berkshire United Way and the Williamstown Community Chest, BFAIR celebrates its 20th anniversary. Over the year’s staff and the volunteer Board of Directors take great pride in having received two consecutive state licensing reviews with Distinction the highest level achievable. While this achievement is notable, perhaps more importantly to those involved a family member of a person receiving services remarked, “BFAIR has helped my uncle tremendously, they allow him to be more independent, living on his own with supervision, to get to and from a job, and to be cared for like a family member should be.”