Special to the Press
BRISTOL- The Bristol Adult Resource Center has come a long way since its founding in 1957 when it was a one room schoolhouse on Jerome Avenue. Today, the nonprofit has two locations, over a dozen programs, and aids about 160 people with developmental disabilities.
On Tuesday, May 9, the center held its annual fundraising event “A Night for Our Stars to Shine” at the Aqua Turf Club. The organization also celebrated its 60th anniversary, which is this August.
The celebration honored those who have worked hard to improve the center, including Rosemarie Cassin, who was the executive director there for 27 years until she retired in 2008, according to Mary F. Etter, current executive director at BARC.
Almost 300 people came to the event which included raffles, a silent auction, dancing, dinner, and guest speaker Scot Haney, the meteorologist at WFSB, who Etter said was very engaging, entertaining and welcoming.
Though the center is still tallying the donations from the fundraiser, Etter believes that they will surpass last year’s, which will allow them to continue their multitude of programs.
Etter said the center offers many programs so they’re able to tailor them to people’s interests and needs.
BARC has a restaurant, The Hidden Café, a greenhouse, Jerome Gardens, and a food delivery program, Grinders on the Go, which all provide valuable job training. They also have a job readiness program.
“I hope we can increase the number of people working out in the community,” said Etter. The director said that the center works hard to provide good training and find businesses that are willing to hire people with developmental disabilities.
“We have come a long way. We don’t have concerns about stigma,” Etter said.
The center also provides supported living arrangements for 41 people at 12 different living sites and in-home support for disabled people living with their families.
In addition, BARC has a technology program, art program, arts and crafts, and candy making. In these programs, people create everything from dog scarves and quilts to chocolate covered pretzels and all natural dog treats called BARC Bites, all of which are available for purchase.