History of Bear Creek Services

The 1970’s

At the time of its conception, Bear Creek Services was formed out of necessity. Parents had no options for placement of their adult children with developmental disabilities (DD).

In 1974, those parents began researching the possibility of residential group homes for their own children in Rochester, Minnesota.  It was a long and tiresome struggle, but they were tenacious in reaching their goal! 

In May of 1976, Olmsted ARC (OARC) Homes opened their first group home: Sixth Street House. It became home to 6 young adults with developmental disabilities.  Under the care of staff, they were able to grow and lead more independent lives. 

In 1977, Bear Creek House was opened to another 6 individuals with DD. The progression continued! By 1980, we had four residential group homes:

Sixth Street House / Bear Creek House / Meadow Park House / Southside House.

The 1980’s

In 1987, OARC officially changed their name to Bear Creek Services. Bear Creek Services continued to grow, adding an additional 6 homes! This allowed us to provide homes for dozens of people who had developmental disabilities.

The 1990’s

In 1997, based on the concerns of parents, we branched out to provide homes for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Our Kelly D’s house opened in May of 1998.  It was specifically designed to accommodate those individuals with TBI.  Our most recent group homes, Century Heights House, Mary Ridge Apartment, and Westberry House, were built to better accommodate our clients’ ever-changing needs.

The 2000’s

In 2009, Bear Creek Services partnered with the Rochester Parks & Recreation program. The Parks & Rec department has many programs for children and young adults who have disabilities, but they lacked a facility to house the programs. They had all of their programs at continuously changing venues. Bear Creek Services stepped in and allowed use of our building to host these programs. Our building now hosts such programs as the After School Program, Young Adults Night, Adaptive Girl Scouts, Music Movies and More, Teen Scene, Music Therapy, and much more!!!

In 2013, Bear Creek Independent Living Services (BCILS) opened. BCILS is a program that helps train adults with disabilities the living skills necessary to live independently, outside of group home settings.   The first BCILS program was opened specifically for women with disabilities. In 2014, a second BCILS program opened for men with disabilities.  

Today we are looking to the future.   We now have a total of 14 homes —all located within Rochester. Bear Creek Services continually strives to meet the needs of the more than 70 individuals we currently provide services for.  We continually look beyond what we have and reach for that which will not only serve those with DD and TBI, but possibly those who are physically or developmentally challenged in any way who would benefit from the services we provide.

The horizon is within reach…and we will keep reaching!!!!!

View Our History






LIC seal

Bear Creek Services has been certified as a "Best In America Charity" by Independent Charities of America.

CLICK HERE to learn more!


Holiday Gift Wish List --- 2021

25 October , 2021

Thank you for viewing the holiday wish list for Bear Creek Services! Present drop-off loca... Learn More

November 2020 Happenings at Bear Creek Services!

29 October , 2020

Words from Linda Driessen; Executive Director The wheelchair accessible van we recently purchased f... Learn More

Participate in the "10 Days To Make A Difference"

30 September , 2020

"10 Days To Make A Difference" with the Walk N Roll takes place from October 1st – October 10t... Learn More

September 2020 Happenings at Bear Creek Services!

09 September , 2020

Essential: crucial; absolutely necessary; indispensable; extremely important. That is the definiti... Learn More


Walk and Roll

LINK TO PARTICIPATE in the Walk N Roll! Walk or roll to show your support for a loved one or ot... Learn More

Lunch With A Purpose

Click the link for dates!

Bear Creek Services Office

You are invited! "Lunch with a Purpose" explains what Bear Creek Services does, and how the... Learn More

Wines of the World

May 13, 2022

Rochester International Event Center

Wines of the World will be an in-person event in 2022! Sponsorship Opportunities: As a fundraiser for... Learn More

Bear Creek Cookie Classic

No 2020 Event

Bear Creek Services Building

2021 Update:CLICK HERE to learn about what's happening with the 2021 Cookie Classic! We are lookin... Learn More