Life Bridges began with a desire by several families in the Cleveland community to provide services for local citizens with a developmental disability. In the early 1970’s, to get services, a person had to travel to the Orange Grove Center in Hamilton County. First chartered in 1973, the Adult Day Center began. Since that time, the agency has undergone many changes and has had several names.
Though very small in the beginning, Life Bridges benefited from strong leadership, both from its staff and the Board of Directors. Walter Hunt joined the agency as Executive Director in 1980 and served in that position for 26 years. Under Dr. Hunt’s direction, Life Bridges grew into what it is today; serving nearly 200 people at over 40 sites in Bradley County. With more than 500 staff, 2 physicians, and 40 licensed nurses, Life Bridges is positioned to expand to meet the future needs of people with intellectual disabilities in Bradley County; in particular, for those who are medically fragile and the senior adult population.
A major milestone occurred in October 1991 when Life Bridges moved to its current location at 764 Old Chattanooga Pike SW, Cleveland, Tennessee. The 8.7 acres houses Administrative Offices, Center for Developmental Training, and the Walter C. Hunt Opportunity Center. Another achievement occurred in 1994 when Life Bridges became nationally accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Life Bridges continues to grow; keeping pace in an ever changing industry. Though the buildings and staff may change through the decades, the spirit of the agency remains. It is a joyful determination to provide quality services and supports to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.