THE HISTORY OF BUILDING BRIDGES DEVELOPMENTAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc. began on September 5, 1972 as Lonoke County Exceptional School. The beginning of the program originated from the concern of local community members who recognized a need for a program to serve children with developmental disabilities who were not served in the public school system and were not able to obtain the educational opportunities that they legally deserved. As the service area grew outside Lonoke County to include other counties the County was dropped from the name. In 2017, the organization was rebranded and renamed as Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc.
Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc. is a non-profit organization licensed by Arkansas Developmental Disability Services. The program is governed by a volunteer local board of directors with 14 members. Direct supervision of program operation is provided by the Executive Director, Janie Sexton. Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc. is designed for service. The programs offered are designed to provide skills and opportunities for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to increase their ability to make choices that will lead to a useful, purposeful, and self-sufficient life. Our goal is to continually provide the best and most current services to each and every consumer regardless of their disability or their needs.
Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc. primarily serves four counties (Lonoke, Prairie, Pulaski, and White) in three locations. Our Lonoke location has the capacity to serve 60 preschoolers and 70 adults. Trained staff provides services for both age groups. Supervision for the preschool consists of teachers certified in Early Childhood Special Education. Occupational, speech, and physical therapy are provided to both the adult and preschool consumers as recommended by licensed therapists. Transportation to and from the center is provided daily for our consumers. Hot meals are served in our fully staffed cafeteria. Nursing services are available by a Licensed Practical Nurse. Our adult consumers enjoy sheltered work opportunities provided by MKT. As part of their work activity program, our adult unit also operates a greenhouse which is open to the public year round.
Our Cabot location opened originally in 2000 in a remodeled 3,000 square foot building and then in 2009, a new 15,000 square foot building was constructed which has the capacity to serve 84 children. The original Cabot site was converted into a program for adult services. The supervision and services including therapy offered are the same as the Lonoke location. Transportation to and from the center is provided daily for the consumers. Nursing services are provided by a Registered nurse. Hot meals are prepared each day. Our Adult building has the capacity to serve 40 adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities that live in the Cabot area. The adult program operates in a similar fashion to the adult program in Lonoke.
A second Cabot location was added in 2019 to accommodate an adult services program that focuses on transitioning young adults to work. The building for this program is leased and will accommodate 20 individuals for services.
The Outreach Early intervention (EI) program is offered through the children’s program. The outreach program offers services to children and their parents in the home or in typical daycares. The Outreach Department offers in-home evaluations, occupational, physical, and speech therapies, as well as developmental therapy. We are excited to be able to offer the option of center-based or home-based services in this program.
Autism Waiver is based in our Cabot center. Autism Waiver Services is a Medicaid waiver program that provides intensive, evidence-based intervention 20-30 hours per week in the homes and in the community of young children diagnosed with autism.
Our Home and Community Services Department is responsible for implementation of the Community and Employment Supports Waiver and the Employment Services program. Administration for this program is housed in a suite of offices across the street in our Cabot location. CES Waiver provides an alternative to institutionalization placement so that individuals with developmental disabilities can live and work in the community as independently as possible. Offered through this program is as follows: care coordination, supportive living, adaptive equipment, environmental modification, specialized medical supplies, consultation, respite, crisis intervention, supported employment, supplemental supports, and community living. This department has been in operation since 2004.
Employment Services are offered through Supported Employment and Pre-employment Transition Services. Supported Employment services help individuals with disabilities get and keep jobs in the community. This program is funded through Arkansas Rehabilitation Services for individuals that because of their disability have not been able to find or keep employment and need ongoing support services to perform work. Support services are always based on the person’s specific needs and provide help with job development, job match, job-site training, and extended Services (follow-along support). Enrollment in supported employment begins with referral to Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.
Pre-employment Transition Services (PreTS) are offered to high school students. The purpose of pre-employment transition services is to ensure to the greatest extent possible that students with disabilities that are transitioning from high school to postsecondary life have opportunities to receive exposure to work readiness skills and work experiences allowing students to engage in an integrated setting fostering success in vocational training or other services resulting in competitive integrated employment. Typically, these services are provided at the local high school with work experiences in the home community.
Through the PROMISE grant, job coaching services are provided to students referred from this program each summer. Job Coaching services are provided at the job site.
“Bridging the Gap” Resale Shop opened in September, 2014 in Lonoke. The resale shop is an avenue for perpetual fund-raising to support the supported employment program.
The community living program provides housing opportunities for the consumers that we serve that can live semi-independently with minimal support in the community. BBDCS owns one apartment complex with twe apartments available for rental, one house and a duplex with three bedrooms per unit to provide housing for those in need of this service.
If you would like additional information about the Building Bridges Developmental and Community Services, Inc. programs, please contact either location at the numbers listed. We invite you to visit our centers for a tour at any time.