To empower and support people with developmental disabilities by offering high-quality, individualized opportunities that foster independence and community inclusion.
To be recognized as the leading provider of innovative, person-centered supports and services for those with developmental disabilities.
- We empower the people we serve and their families to make informed, collaborative choices and decisions through education and training.
- We advocate to promote the full participation of those we support in their communities and uphold their civil rights and dignity.
- Staff members are competent, caring, honest, committed and well-trained, and are valued for their contribution.
- Communication, collaboration and mutual respect between individuals, families, staff and service providers are priorities, because these values encourage those we serve to achieve personal goals and gain access to community resources.
- We are contributing members of society, seeking out opportunities to give back to our community through socially responsible actions and volunteerism.
- We strive to continuously evaluate and improve our organization and the services we provide.
Caring & Respect
Health & Wellness
How far we’ve come.
In the 1950s, there weren’t many options for people with developmental disabilities. The only publicly supported residential facilities were underfunded and isolated state institutions. Few people with disabilities were given the opportunity of a public education, and families who kept their children out of the institutions had little or no support.
So Tom and Anne Sell, the parents of a daughter with Down syndrome, convened a meeting in their home in Needham to talk with other parents about creating something better. In 1956, they started a preschool, held at Carter Memorial Methodist Church, for twelve children at the cost of $1 a month.
Wouldn’t they be amazed. Today, the Charles River Center staffs 28 group homes, helps individuals find jobs in their communities, cares for the most medically complex, and provides a host of diverse programs and activities for all ages. With great support from families and the communities we serve, we now offer services and programs to over 950 children and adults from the Boston MetroWest area.
Much progress has been made in the developmental disability world in the past sixty years, with the emphasis now on integration and inclusion. The Charles River Center’s history is just one small piece of the story, but it is remarkable to think of all the lives that have been touched and enhanced by this transformation in services. We look forward to seeing what the next sixty years will bring.
Fifteen parents of children with developmental disabilities meet to discuss plans for a preschool. Twelve children enroll in the preschool class-cost is $1 per month.
Colonel Earl Mountain appointed first Executive Director
Sheltered workshop opens
The Opportunity Shoppe opens
Daily Living Program is created for children who are not able to attend public school because of severe disabilities
Paul Merritt appointed Executive Director
Mountain House is built, one of the first group homes in Massachusetts
Stott House is built, the first barrier-free residence of its kind in the nation
Dwight School purchased from Needham for a new vocational training center
First supported employment sites open-McDonald’s and North Hill
The Charles River Workshop now employs 125 people
The Special Olympics are named after Ellie Bloom, a longtime staff member and volunteer
Senior Choices program opens for the elderly
Opportunities and Visions program is created
First Building a Dream Gala is held
After School Program established
John Grugan appointed Executive Director
Paul D. Merritt Center, a state-of-the-art facility opens
Day Habilitation program opens
Agency renamed the Charles River Center to express the inclusion of autism services
Anne-Marie Bajwa appointed President and CEO
Wings For Autism Launches at Logan International
Natick location opens at Strathmore Road
Horticulture program begins
Respite home opens in Sharon, MA
Agency becomes licensed to provide Adult Family Care
Agency becomes licensed to provide services for individuals with Acquired Brain Injury
Residential Services oversees 30 community living programs