A History Snapshot

Serving Montana for more than 40 years

In 1974, AWARE was formed by a small group of parents sitting around a kitchen table discussing

opportunities and possibilities for their children with special needs. Their discussion led to the opening of a small furniture refinishing business where people with developmental disabilities could learn a trade and make a valuable contribution to the community. Our name – AWARE (previously Anaconda Work and Residential Enterprises) – reflects our original mission in 1976 when we became incorporated, and it continues to do so as we have evolved over time.

History Timeline

1974
  • AWARE was formed after a group of parents started talking about how they wanted more for their children with disabilities.

1976
  • AWARE Inc. became incorporated to carry out its mission of serving people with disabilities.

1980
  • AWARE opened its doors to deinstitutionalization, adding its first group home to provide services primarily to people coming from Montana Developmental Center.

  • AWARE received its first CARF accreditation for developmental disabilities (DD) services in 1980.

1989
  • AWARE added transportation services, so consumers could get to and from work. It also served as a paratransit program for people with disabilities and the elderly in Butte.

1990
  • AWARE added its first intensive group homes for youth in Anaconda and Butte.

  • AWARE expanded its group homes throughout Montana and operated a home in New Mexico for a short period.

1991
  • AWARE added adult developmental disability case management services in Big Horn and Carbon counties.

1997
  • AWARE added community support services for youth and children including youth case management, outpatient therapy, therapeutic foster care, transitional living and CSCT services.

1998
  • AWARE opened a recycling program in Anaconda to provide clients job opportunities.

  • AWARE began providing telepsychiatry.

  • AWARE opened the Child Advocacy Center in Helena.

 

1992
  • AWARE developed an internal training program called HELP with a state-accredited manual.

  • AWARE opened the Galen campus.

 

2001
  • AWARE began accepting kids into the Galen program who would be served out of state.

  • AWARE began Early Childhood Services.

  • AWARE began mental health case management.

 

2002
  • AWARE became a qualified provider for developmental disability services for children.

  • AWARE began delivering intensive family education and support services to children and adolescents with developmental disabilities in Western Montana.

  • AWARE developed the Montana Home Choice Coalition.

 

2003
  • AWARE acquired REM and opened residential, work/day and transportation services in Billings.

 

2004
  • AWARE expanded the recycling program into Butte, which laid the groundwork for the AWARE Business Network: Bloom (2011), Growth thru Art and KANA (2012), and Cold Mountain Pottery (2013).

 

2006
  • AWARE was awarded the contract to continue deinstitutionalization efforts.

 

2010
  • AWARE developed the first residential autism services in Montana.

 

2012
  • AWARE transferred the Galen program to what is now known as the Lawrence P Noonan Center for Excellence and opened the doors to the group homes on Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • AWARE formed The Arc Montana to promote for the inclusion and advocacy of people with disabilities.

 

2013
  • AWARE acquired Great Falls YMCA Supported Living Program and continued to build upon our supported living services across the state.

 

2014
  • AWARE opened the newly built Center for Excellence for its first day of school.

 

2016
  • AWARE opened five group homes in Great Falls and Butte to serve some of the remaining individuals at Montana Developmental Center.

 

2018

 

2019
  • AWARE hires Matt Bugni as AWARE CEO.

We Are AWARE

Human Resources: HR@Aware-inc.org

Media: AwareMedia@Aware-inc.org

Phone: 406.563.8117

Toll Free: 1.800.432.6145

Crisis Line: 1.800.481.8980

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