Venture Community Services was originally incorporated under the name South Central Massachusetts Rehabilitative Resources in 1975, following the movement toward de-institutionalization for people with developmental disabilities. A group of citizens began their journey by fundraising for two years to purchase two properties that would serve as community-based residential programs for individuals transitioning out of institutional settings. These two homes became the very first residential programs in Worcester County for people with disabilities transitioning from Belchertown State School.
After the success of their first two homes, the group decided to begin their own company and offer other services. The agency opened a group home in Webster, which became the first licensed adolescent group home in Massachusetts. The agency also started the first family support in-home teaching program in Worcester County.
The agency continued to grow, opening more residential programs across the state.In 1999, the agency shortened its name to Rehabilitative Resources, reflecting the expansion of its services across Massachusetts. The organization continues to increase the number of programs offered to accommodate this growth and has been leading the way in designing and constructing handicapped-accessible homes. Over the years, the organization has continued to develop new programs that promote independence and a higher quality of life for individuals with disabilities, such as Supported Employment, Adult Foster Care, Shared Living, and Individual Supports.
In January 2015, Rehabilitative Resources officially changed its name to Venture Community Services. This update reflects the agency’s ongoing commitment to innovative growth initiatives that will ensure individuals and families have access to opportunities they deserve. It also represents the agency’s commitment to remaining an industry leader in providing compassionate and cutting edge supports to individuals and families across Massachusetts.
Venture Community Services Timeline
People with disabilities are segregated. Laws are passed to forbid them from marrying. Warehousing in institutions continues.
Debates over institutions vs. community. Belchertown State School federal lawsuit – deplorable conditions for people with disabilities. Eventually other facilities including Belchertown, Wrentham, Fernald, Pal A Dever and Monson folded into a Consent Decree. Transition toward community living starts!
Our Agency founded by a group of 5 volunteers. They fundraised for two years to purchase two homes in Southbridge—Oliver Street & Hamilton Street. Both of these houses were rented out to another local non-profit. The revenue was used to get the agency up and running.
Agency Incorporated as South Central Massachusetts Rehabilitative Resources, Inc. (SCMRRI)
First two group homes opened—Cherry Street in Spencer (for adults) & Prospect Street in Webster (for adolescents). 16 people were supported. Also began Individual Supports (home teaching program) serving 25 people.
Transportation Services begin.
Name changed to South Central Rehabilitative Resources, Inc. (SCRRI)
Agency name changed to Rehabilitative Resources, Inc. (RRI)
First Venture Community Day program opens in Sturbridge.
First Venture medical model home opens on Hope Street in Leominster. The home provides round the clock nursing care to people with complex medical issues allowing them to live in the community.
2nd Venture Day Program Opens in Leominster.
Rosa’s Law signed by the US Legislature. Replaces the word Mental Retardation with Intellectual Disabilities.
RRI undergoes rebranding—name changed to Venture Community Services. Services include Adult Foster Care, Day Services, Community Residences, Transportation, Shared Living, Supported Employment, Individual Supports, Youth & Family Services—plans to expand to provide more autism supports and behavioral day services. 670 Employees | $31 million revenue | supporting 300 people across the state.
In 2021 we expanded services at our Sturbridge location to include The Venture Advancement Center. The Venture Advancement Center benefits young adults (18+) in the central Massachusetts community who have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This transitional program focuses on assisting with the training, education and social skills required to find meaningful employment. In general, engagement in meaningful work provides a host of benefits in addition to compensation and self-sufficiency.