At the time of its conception, Bear Creek Services was formed out of necessity. Parents had no options for placement of their adult children with developmental disabilities (DD).
In 1974, those parents began researching the possibility of residential group homes for their own children in Rochester, Minnesota. It was a long and tiresome struggle, but they were tenacious in reaching their goal!
In May of 1976, Olmsted ARC (OARC) Homes opened their first group home: Sixth Street House. It became home to 6 young adults with developmental disabilities. Under the care of staff, they were able to grow and lead more independent lives.
In 1977, Bear Creek House was opened to another 6 individuals with DD. The progression continued! By 1980, we had four residential group homes:
Sixth Street House / Bear Creek House / Meadow Park House / Southside House.
In 1987, OARC officially changed their name to Bear Creek Services. Bear Creek Services continued to grow, adding an additional 6 homes! This allowed us to provide homes for dozens of people who had developmental disabilities.
In 1997, based on the concerns of parents, we branched out to provide homes for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Our Kelly D’s house opened in May of 1998. It was specifically designed to accommodate those individuals with TBI. Our most recent group homes, Century Heights House, Mary Ridge Apartment, and Westberry House, were built to better accommodate our clients’ ever-changing needs.
In 2009, Bear Creek Services partnered with the Rochester Parks & Recreation program. The Parks & Rec department has many programs for children and young adults who have disabilities, but they lacked a facility to house the programs. They had all of their programs at continuously changing venues. Bear Creek Services stepped in and allowed use of our building to host these programs. Our building now hosts such programs as the After School Program, Young Adults Night, Adaptive Girl Scouts, Music Movies and More, Teen Scene, Music Therapy, and much more!!!
In 2013, Bear Creek Independent Living Services (BCILS) opened. BCILS is a program that helps train adults with disabilities the living skills necessary to live independently, outside of group home settings. The first BCILS program was opened specifically for women with disabilities. In 2014, a second BCILS program opened for men with disabilities.
The Bear Creek Independent Living Services (BCILS) program was founded. BCILS began with 2 women who have disabilities who wished to live a more independent and empowered life. By the end of the decade, BCILS was supporting more than 50 people who have disabilities.
Bear Creek Services is working to ensure our homes are more accessible as people in our programs have more accessibility challenges. We are also working to incorporate more technology into our homes and independent living programs to help people feel more empowered and in control of their lives.