2018 – A Year of Evolution and Expansion

Published: December 24, 2018

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By Chris Tuttle, Interim Chief Executive Officer

Chris Tuttle Headshot2018 has been a year of change and growth for Bridgewell. As the new year approaches, I’d like to take a moment to reflect upon the formative events and moments that have shaped us all both personally and professionally, and share thoughts on where we’re headed in 2019.

Over the last twelve months we’ve worked to expand our recovery coach program to North Shore Medical Center’s Salem Hospital; grown the curriculum offered through the Center for Professional Development; launched a new, fully integrated website and set forth initiatives to restructure the programing within our autism services division. We’ve also begun analyzing emerging trends and practices to ensure our programs and continuum of services remain innovative and offer the highest level of support to the people we serve.

We reached a momentous milestone this year; our 60th anniversary. In celebrating the history of Bridgewell we must also recognize the contributions from the city of Lynn. Thanks to decades of unwavering support from the local community, we’ve grown from our humble beginning as the Child Guidance Center, a small storefront at the corner of Broad and Chestnut streets, into a nationally recognized organization offering support in the form of innovative autism services, community housing for people with developmental disabilities, housing and homeless services, recovery assistance, behavioral health services and more.

Today we offer more than 100 programs across 23 communities throughout the North Shore and Merrimack Valley, a large portion of which are still based in Lynn, including the newly opened Recuperative Care Center (RCC). Through our partnership with the Lynn Community Health Center, the RCC provides short term residential care to homeless people recovering from illness who may not require hospitalization but still need a safe place to heal. This initiative deepens Bridgewell’s connection to Lynn and further strengthens our commitment to supporting the homeless population in our community.

I’d like to take this moment to recognize our community partners with whom we work closely and collaboratively on a number of initiatives: MassHealth’s Community Care Partners, Northeast Arc, North Region Long-Term Services and Supports, Greater Lynn Senior Services and Bay State Community Services.  I’d also like to thank the North Shore Navigators, Pride’s Deli, North Shore Community College and other local companies who offer support through the Employment Support Program. Each of them enhances our ability to empower every person we serve. I must also give a special thank you to the Kayem Foundation, the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and the generous donors that attended our Imagine the Possibilities Gala, who all provided critical funding to help us meet the individualized needs of people in our care.

Admittedly, it is tough to talk about 2018 and the passing of Kelly J. Martin. As CEO, her leadership laid the foundation that made so many of these advancements possible. Her death in August was a hardship for our organization, but her commitment to the people we serve and the legacy she built during her 35-year career, guided us and will continue to serve as a beacon for our agency. I’m pleased to announce that this month, Bridgewell’s Boston Street Day Habilitation Center in Lynn was renamed The Kelly J. Martin Center in her memory. Kelly’s professional career began at Bridgewell and her vision and service to this organization will never be forgotten.

As we look toward 2019, Bridgewell is poised for continued growth, change and evolution. The hard work and dedication exhibited by our staff will continue to be critical to the success of our mission. I know there will be challenges that test us followed by triumphs that remind us how important our work truly is. Let the new year serve as a moment for us to renew our commitment to empowering people with disabilities and other life challenges to live safe, self-directed, and productive lives.

Best wishes and happy holidays to you and yours.