As we start the New Year we can reflect on a very positive 2003 for Berkshire County ARC. In spite of major budgetary cuts to our state contracts our agency was able to adapt and saw many great successes. The past year saw two major inspections, one for our National Accreditation through CARF (The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), the other through The Department of Mental Retardation Survey and Certification Team. In both cases the agency received the highest possible certification. This is a wonderful reflection on the hard work put forth by our many very talented and dedicated staff members. Each of the programs that were visited by surveyors received wonderful feedback on the high quality of programming that they are providing. 2003 saw the extension of our residential Traumatic Brain Injury Program with the opening of new residential programs. Through contracts from the State Head Injury Program, which is part of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, Berkshire County ARC is now serving individuals in two beautiful homes in Berkshire County. Both programs have proved to be very successful and the agency is in the process of opening two new homes in 2004. Last year Zip N'Sort Mail Services expanded and is now serving over two hundred customers. It is now the largest mail business in Berkshire County. In February
they moved to a beautiful new 17,000 square foot state of the art building in the downtown Pittsfield area. This move not only added in expansion, but also brought greater productivity and improved the ability to serve the local community. Our residential programs continue to provide wonderful places to live for those that we serve and offer many new opportunities for community experiences. Some of these experiences included vacations to far off places such as Hawaii, the Caribbean and Florida. As the year came to a close it was announced by Congressman John Olver and Senator Ted Kennedy's offices that we had received a HUD Grant in the amount of 1.4 Million Dollars to rebuild our Co-op apartments. This wonderful new building will have a major impact on those living in the Co-op apartments as well as all of downtown Pittsfield. I am very grateful to our staff, our families and our many friends for the great support they have shown to the agency during the past year. I hope that all of you will have a wonderful New Year as we look forward to new and exciting things for Berkshire County ARC.