Woods Community at Brian’s House History
In 1976, Dave Tuttle founded Brian’s House to provide essential services for people with disabilities, including his son, Brian. He contracted with the Chester County Office of Mental Health & Intellectual Disability to operate clustered apartments and community homes to meet the residential needs of several children and adults with disabilities.
Two years later, Dave Tuttle opened Brian’s House, a renovated historic home in West Chester, Pa., that served as a residence for 14 children with profound developmental disabilities. Brian Tuttle was one of its first residents and lived there until he passed away.
In 1996, Brian’s House affiliated with Woods which enabled the organization to expand with the addition of more community homes and, in 1998, the establishment of Brian’s House Enterprises, a vocational program and meaningful day program for adults with more profound disabilities. Brian’s House now provides residential supports for 105 individuals, vocational opportunities for 92, and day programs for 44 adults.
Mollie Woods, a Philadelphia schoolteacher with great foresight and compassion, sought to establish a new type of educational and residential center, specifically to support children with exceptional needs. Her vision was to provide care for the exceptional child in a home-like environment that would foster the ability “to meet the problems of everyday life, to make normal adjustments, to acquire sources of satisfaction for the present as well as for later years, and to know the joy of achievement.”
Mollie’s determination, pioneering leadership, and innovative approach that was centered on creating an individualized program of supports for each person, was well-received resulting in growth that necessitated a move from her farmhouse in Roselyn, PA to Langhorne in 1921. The move to Langhorne signaled an incredible period of growth and international recognition.
Over the past century, we have grown from a 25 student farmhouse school, to a world-renowned private non-profit organization serving more than 4,100 children, adolescents, adults and seniors. Mollie worked tirelessly, as we will, toward the realization of her original mission: to advance the quality of life and standard of care for individuals with disabilities.