She remembers the day a BCArc representative walked into her Berkshire Community College classroom to talk about the career paths in human services.
“I was pursuing a program focused on mental health. I was also interested in learning sign language. This person told us we can get paid for taking someone out to dinner, or to the movies, or a play. I realized that wasn’t the entire job, but it sounded nice enough to explore.”
She started as an intern at a group home in Pittsfield. She has worked in numerous capacities since then, overseeing homes and dozens of staff members. Today, she is the acting manager of the same home where she served her internship.
Asked to describe the essence of her 28 years at BCArc, Theresa White responded without hesitating, “It’s just like home.”
“This person told us we can get paid for taking someone out to dinner, or to the movies, or a play. I realized that wasn’t the entire job, but it sounded nice enough to explore.”
Theresa started her BCArc career when her first child was 9-months-old, two years later she had her second child. The flexible hours worked well with her husband’s job. Her two children literally grew up with BCArc, one of her daughters eventually working at a program for a few years.
“When they were toddlers they were a bit intimidated by the individuals,” Theresa said. “But as they got older, they warmed up, became friends with some of our individuals. All through school they gravitated toward kids who needed help, kids with disabilities who would typically get no attention, they made a point to reach out and help. I was proud of them. Their desire to help was a direct impact of BCArc.”
Beyond her work at BCArc, she volunteers once a month to take a person with disabilities out for an evening. “She usually wants to go shopping, like to Walmart, which is fine, but I tell her she can go anywhere if she wants.”
Theresa thinks about how easy she could have missed her calling if she didn’t give BCArc a try.
“I like taking care of people. This felt like home when I started. It still does.”