About

The Belchertown State School Friends Association is a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit. For questions, comments, or press inquiries please contact us at thebssfriends@gmail.com.

Our Expertise

The Friends have a rich background in research, archival preservation, education, and community outreach. The Friends are dedicated to sharing the history of special education, institutionalization, and community treatment and support of individuals with disabilities.

Our Partners

The Friends have partnered with the Belchertown Historic Commission and the Belchertown Cultural Alliance. Activities include planning for a memorial to the state school, interpretive trails and signage on the state school property, and revitalization efforts on Berkshire Row.

Our Mission

The Belchertown State School Friends Association’s mission is to ensure that the state school administration building is dedicated to preserving the history of the building while providing community space and diverse educational opportunities.

Fundraising

The Friends maintain open membership enrollment throughout the year. Donations are always welcome. Visit this site often for updates on upcoming fundraising events, grant opportunities, and our plans for a capital campaign.

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The Team

The Belchertown State School Friends Association was originally founded in the early 1950s as a means to improve conditions at the state school. The Friends were revived in 2019 with the express purpose of  maintaining the history of the state school and to make that history accessible to the public.

Katherine Anderson

President & Founder

Katherine Anderson is the award-winning author of a number of volumes on the history of institutional treatment and special education. She has been in special education for more than twenty years and is the Director of Education at RFK Academy (formerly the RFK Children's Action Corps). For many years Kate has worked to painstakingly research and document the history of state hospitals and state schools in New England, lecturing on the history of mental health and special education. Kate revived the original Belchertown State School Friends in 2019 with the express purpose of maintaining institutional history and providing a community education space where individuals with disabilities can come together and share their histories and stories, as well as their hopes for the future.

Phone: 978-424-3155

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Courtney Keating

Vice President 

Courtney Keating is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. She is originally from North Adams, Massachusetts. Courtney is passionate about advocating for mental health awareness, educating others about mental health and medical history, and supporting historic perseveration. In her spare time, she enjoys photographing historic architecture.

Phone: 978-424-3155