The Guild for Human Services has announced the opening of two group homes for youth in Bedford.
Pine House on Concord Road and Walnut House on Old Billerica Road will serve up to 14 boys between the ages of six and 21.
The Guild for Human Services “educates, encourages and empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities,” according to the group’s announcement.
The additions bring the total number of group homes the Guild operates in Massachusetts to nine, serving 72 youth, plus 12 residential homes for 60 adults.
The Guild also operates a licensed special-education school off Virginia Road in Concord that serves 92 students ages 6-22. On school days, the new Bedford residents ride eight-passenger vans to and from the school.
The Guild purchased the two Bedford homes in the summer of 2020.
“We are excited to invite and integrate new residents, families, homes, and staff into the Guild’s programming, and we look forward to introducing our residents to the Bedford community,” said Amy C. Sousa, chief executive officer. “Our residents strive to be active members of their local community – visiting stores, athletic facilities, community centers, attending special events, getting to know their neighbors, and volunteering.”
The staffing ratio is a minimum of one adult for every three students. Additionally, a manager or assistant manager is onsite for waking hours.
“Depending on the needs of the students, more adults may be present to provide specialty services or instruction, such as speech therapy, nutritional consultation, or support with daily activities.,” said Richard Greif, a spokesman for the Guild. “During sleep hours, there is a minimum of one adult for every four students with additional supervisors making rounds in houses and on call nurses.”
The Guild uses community-based residences rather than self-contained compounds, Sousa noted. “As adults, we don’t live on 400-acre campuses. We live in homes, and we teach those skills to children so they can be community members.”
The two house managers, she continued, plan to reach out and introduce the students to neighbors, once it is safe. During a pandemic, “it’s hard to know how to make new friends I’m always glad to talk to community members.”
Walnut House is located at 321 Old Billerica Road in Bedford. This past summer, Guild School students voted for their favorite name and Walnut House was the winning selection. The staff and students put together a short video welcoming the new home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSl1SZH0mpU.
Pine House is located at 245 Concord Road in Bedford. The old Pine House was located in Waltham; the name was kept for continuity with the new house because four of the residents transitioned from the old to the new Pine House.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763