2 Elm St., Great Barrington, MA 01230
M - Th 10am - 4pm / F - Sun 11am - 5pm413.645.3247

Our Programs

Five days each week, participants are dropped off by parents and caregivers to learn, work, and thrive in our warm and welcoming teahouse. Protection of this vulnerable population is of the utmost importance. We love providing a safe haven for our participants – and other adults with disabilities in the community.

Our community-based day program is headed up by Alicia, our day program manager, and many fun, engaging and stimulating projects are scheduled throughout the day. You might walk in and find several of our participants doing art therapy with Kristen, playing a card or board game or, if it’s Wednesday, participating in a group project of preparing a lunch of the group’s choice. During the warmer months, there is wonderful laughter coming from our courtyard garden where our participants maintain the flower beds & pots which adorn ExtraSpecialTeas.

Our supported group-employment program is headed up by Kristen, our vocational teacher. Participants work on the tea room floor and are involved in all the duties of running a tea room – like greeting and waiting on customers, running the cash register, stocking shelves, busing tables, and washing dishes. On Thursdays Kristen takes a group to do the gluten-free baking for our tea house at Hevreh Temple’s commercial kitchen and Alicia heads up a group that stamps all our paper goods, such as bags and labels.

We do activities together, like:

Art Therapy: Participants (ExtraSpecial Servers) regularly have the opportunity to engage in art therapy groups led by Kristen. Art therapy allows our participants to relax, process their emotions in a constructive way, engage in sensory exploration, and connect with others in the group. Our projects are diverse and include: watercolors, acrylic painting, drawing, collage, and clay. Our groups also occasionally lead us outside, where we paint bright pallets for our garden or collect objects found in nature for art projects.

Gardening: Last summer we made ExtraSpecialTeas’ backyard into a boho teahouse bistro with tables made from enormous cable spools, mis-matched chairs painted in our bright brand colors, and a lounging platform popular with young adults. This year we want to do even more in the garden: host performances by local musicians, performers and artists to engage community and participants; have participants create a large visual piece to draw community to our garden and promote our belief that “The World Belongs to Everyone Belonging;” bring in a gardening expert for a workshop for participants; and fund the purchase of perennials and garden equipment.

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Baking: Our baking program is popular with some of our participants and we want to keep them engaged and learning. We want to take them on bakery field trips, host guest bakers, and access experts to help us continue to produce delicious gluten-free baked goods. Our participants will be involved in all of this. We currently do our baking off-site in Hevreh’s commercial kitchen and pay $120/quarter to rent that space. These funds will help with the purchase of ingredients and necessary equipment.

Crafting: Some of our participants are very adept at crafting, such as following the steps to create necklaces and bracelets, and tea-infused products, such as candles and soaps. We want to continue to create amazing products for tea house visitors!