St. Vincent’s Home’s mission is to meet the needs of individuals with unique learning challenges across the lifespan.
St. Vincent’s Home was an orphanage built by St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke on March 1, 1893 and was staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky. A school was designed to meet the educational needs of the orphans and later, publicly and privately placed students. This school became known as The Achievement Center. In 1975, The Achievement Center (TAC) was licensed by the Virginia Department of Education to serve students with learning disabilities. The Achievement Center’s main focus was to help students who needed services address special learning needs, beginning with the orphanage at St. Vincent’s Home, in Roanoke, Virginia. St. Andrew’s Catholic Church charged the school $1 a year rent for the 28 years TAC was there. TAC existed in the old orphanage until 2003, when they purchased land and built a state-of -the- art school in Roanoke County to serve 100 students with learning disabilities.
The Blue Ridge Autism Center (BRAC) was incorporated in September 2002 by a small group of parents and professionals dedicated to providing appropriate education, support, and information for children who have autism and their families. In September 2002, Blue Ridge Autism Center began its program serving two children in temporary quarters located in the children’s education building at Rainbow Forest Baptist Church in Blue Ridge, Virginia. Upon successful completion of application to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) for a certificate/license to operate, BRAC began offering a six-hour daily student educational program five days per week. In 2009, BRAC was serving over 100 students with autism in the center’s location, private homes and within the 8 contracted public school districts, combined.
In 2009, Blue Ridge Autism Center (BRAC), established in September 2002, and The Achievement Center merged to form Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center (BRAAC). BRAAC operates as a DBA (“Doing Business As”) under St. Vincent’s Home at the 312 Whitwell Drive location in Roanoke, VA. Shortly after the merger in 2009, BRAAC opened school locations in Buena Vista and Lynchburg.
As the first class graduated and outgrew the programs offered through BRAAC, it became apparent to those who had depended greatly on the services offered that significant programs needed to serve the adult population were not available. From this realization, SVH Adult Services and SVH Family Services became a reality. In February 2016, these programs were introduced to the community, and St. Vincent’s Home is now able to offer services to individuals over a complete lifespan as well as grow their services to family members.