Born and raised in Brooklyn, Carlton Deen came to the Berkshires to see family 11 years ago. He did not expect to stay. Today, he likes to talk about the woods, hiking, fishing, and cooking for the individuals at the houses he manages. Yes he still has plenty to say about the Knicks and the Nets when called on, but when he visits his family in Brooklyn, he thinks about coming home as fast as he can.
At BCArc he manages two programs, overseeing a staff of 18, responsible for the well-being of five individuals with developmental disabilities who live in two different houses.
“This kind of work really opens you up,” he said. “It has its challenges, and it challenges your own ideas about life.” He offered the example of teaching independence. “You can teach our individuals certain skills, but in the end, like all of us, they are all a little different, and they are only going to learn what they want to learn. The trick is to find the thing that sparks them.”
For himself, he has learned about managing people, managing budgets and schedules, and demonstrating leadership. “There is paperwork, and state rules to follow, but the important thing is to be a strong role model for the individuals, the staff, and the community.”
Carlton has a daughter who recently graduated community college, and a son in middle school.
“I like to work, I like to cook for everyone, and I like helping the people we serve. They offer us lessons as well. I call this work fun.”
Carlton, posing with some of his staff.
From left, name, name, and name.