Brice Atte came from the Ivory Coast, Africa, 12 years ago to join his wife and two children. Ten years ago he started working for the Berkshire County Arc, in the position of residential support. He earned several promotions, moving from assistant manager of a house in Pittsfield to his current spot as manager of an eight-person home in Lenox.
“The reward of this job reaches beyond money,” Brice said, when asked about his work. “It is the joy you bring to people who are less fortunate than you. The reward is the joy or the smile on their faces when you walk into the room. Some of the individuals in the house are non-verbal, but you can feel their excitement to see you.”
He cautioned that “it can be a challenge to understand their needs. When you try to teach them, learning can come slowly and unexpectedly, so you need to celebrate the small victories.”
The house is divided by two floors. The upstairs individuals stay home for daytime programs, which Brice oversees, and the downstairs individuals go to programs at various sites.
Recently new individuals have moved into the house, creating a new dynamic among the group and the staff. “Right now we’re getting used to new routines and new relationships. Everyone has different abilities, communications, and functioning levels,” he said.
“The job requires patience. I feel fortunate to have learned patience while working for BCArc, one of many things the job has taught me on a personal level.”
“It is the joy you bring to people who are less fortunate than you. The reward is on their faces when you walk into the room.”