BCRC Builds On the Past And Looks to the Future

 

 In 1962, William Lintz, Sr. met with a group of concerned parents at the IBEW Hall in Vanport, and they mapped out plans for the first day program for adults with mental retardation in Beaver County. This group petitioned Harrisburg for funding to establish the William Lintz Sheltered Workshop.  According to former Executive Director Samuel Lippincott, “Lintz Workshop started operations in July 1962.  Our first workshop was in the basement of a small church on 25th Street in Beaver Falls.  William Lintz, Jr. and a group of other men actually had to take out the pews in the church to make room for the program.”  According to Mr. Lippincott, the original workshop had nine clients.  He says, “I started with the program in September 1962 and by January 1963 we had grown from nine to fifty individuals.”  Mary Kay Lintz, the daughter of William Lintz, Sr., was the first workshop secretary.  She recalls the early years vividly.  She states, “Charles Peters and Kenneth Winograd were the first two Executive Directors.  After a short stay at the Beaver Falls church, the Lintz Workshop moved its operations to the old Majestic Theatre in Rochester.  Volunteers painted the building with whatever paint happened to be donated.  It was certainly colorful.”  Ms. Lintz, who was afraid of birds, recalls one incident when “some enterprising individuals put a pigeon in my desk drawer.”  More often, the enterprising clients and staff of the Lintz workshop were working to establish a foundation that would carry the program into the future.

 In February 1971 the William Lintz Sheltered Workshop became the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center.  At the time, it was located at 312 Fifth Avenue, New Brighton (near the Beaver Falls-New Brighton Bridge).  Up until then, BCRC had exclusively served persons with mental retardation.  With the incorporation of BCRC, services were expanded to include persons with mental illness.  Twenty individuals left Dixmont State Hospital and entered the community.  The first rehabilitation and vocational evaluation services were initiated at that time.  Late in that same year, BCRC moved to 1927 Seventh Avenue, Beaver Falls.  In November 1972, BCRC moved again to 1445 Market Street, Bridgewater where it remained for seven years.  Samuel M. Lippincott, Jr. became the Executive Director in 1974 and he served in that capacity for 17 years.

 By 1980, BCRC had a daily roll of 95 people with approximately 30 people on the waiting list.  A need to expand prompted a move in December, 1980 to the present site of the Administration Building at 1517 Sixth Avenue, New Brighton.  The building had formerly been occupied by the Bell Telephone Company.

 By December 1981, 117 individuals were served and there was a need to expand programming.  In 1982, BCRC initiated a program designed to provide specialized support services to persons with chronic mental illness.  The program was called Vocational Adjustment.  BCRC started its first training program in 1983 in cooperation with a community employer.  Janitorial services were provided at a community work site, and this was used as preparation for community employment.  A kitchen training program was initiated in 1984 through a grant from the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation.  Training and placement in community employment became an essential part of BCRC.

 BCRC’s first major enclave was initiated in cooperation with Mr. William Lewis in 1989.  Twenty to twenty-five people attended work at Good Samaritan Enterprises.  At its peak, as many as forty people worked on the headset refurbishing contract for U.S. Airways.  In 1991, BCRC received a grant to develop Integrated Community Employment for persons who are vocationally challenged.  This was an initiative to extend competitive employment opportunities to people who had more severe vocational challenges.  The initiative was very successful, and many individuals moved from the Work Activity Center to community employment.

 Paulette Miller became BCRC’s sixth Executive Director in 1990.  Under her leadership BCRC has seen a significant expansion of existing facilities and services.  The BCRC Assessment Center commenced operations in the summer of 1993.  This was the first time that vocational assessment was separated from the Production Center.  Over the years, BCRC has added services for persons who are deaf, community job coaching and job placement, School to Work transition services, Project Success (job placement for persons who are economically disadvantaged), the Payment Agent Program and an evening social program.  BCRC initiated Psychiatric Rehabilitation services, an individualized program for persons with mental illness, in 2003.  The agency has also added business ventures such as Candy Bouquet and Records Management, designed to increase the variety of work options available to individuals served by the program.

 More recently, BCRC was chosen to initiate the Mental Health Employment Transformation and CAPS youth services in conjunction with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and  Beaver County Behavioral Health. A local advisory committee was formed and discreet, Evidence Based employment services were established for persons with mental illness who had previously been denied traditional employment support.  The CAPS youth program was initiated to provide vocational planning services to youth with mental health or co-occurring issues and involvement with the juvenile justice system. 

 BCRC’s  Supported Employment program became WIN services in 2009 and expanded programming to include habilitation, Autism Waiver Services and the MH Employment Transformation. The  Habilititation service expands  individual independence in the home and community through activities like cooking, money management, community mobility, housekeeping, etc.

Today, BCRC provides services from five different locations.  Executive Director Paulette Miller is proud of the growth of the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center over the years.  She is happy that persons with disabilities have “achieved greater acceptance in the community.”  She states, “I especially enjoy seeing the individual progress made by people we currently serve, and those persons we have served throughout the years.  It is gratifying to know that people’s lives have changed for the better, and that BCRC may have played a part in that growth.”

 The future is bright for the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center and the more than 500 persons currently served by the agency.  Ms. Miller states, “The clients’ progress inspires us to work even harder to provide greater choice for BCRC’s clients and more opportunities for them to grow and flourish.”  The clients, staff and Board of Directors of the Beaver County Rehabilitation Center look ahead confidently as they make “a promise for the future.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BCRC, Inc. | 1517 Sixth Avenue | New Brighton, PA 15066-2219
Phone: (724) 847-1306 | Fax: (724) 847-1126
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