Mitchell Allen Bayes, was born to an Appalachian family that moved to Dayton, Ohio in pursuit of a better life. His parents worked hard to care for their four boys, the youngest being Mitch. But times were tough, and Mitch began working at a very young age. In addition to working hard at his early morning newspaper route, and various other jobs, Mitch began volunteering at the age of twelve at a summer day camp for teens and adults with developmental disorders. He spent six summers volunteering, and thus began a lifetime of serving people.
During his summers at camp, in the evenings after the campers had gone home, Mitch and some of his fellow counselors spent time together talking about the powerful work they were doing, and discussing how they could build a better life for this severely underserved group--a community where everyone could learn and have access to a rich and meaningful life. It was in these discussions, and through this work, that the dream that would become Bayes Achievement Center began to take shape in Mitch’s heart.
In the years that followed, Mitch married his wife Colleen, and had four children. The dreams that he had carefully cultivated in his idealistic youth seemed to be suspended as he worked tirelessly to support his growing family doing any job he could while also working on his teaching degree in special education. As a special education teacher, he continued his studies, eventually earning a graduate degree to work as a diagnostician. During the next several decades he taught special education; and he worked as a diagnostician and a consultant in a number of different settings including state schools, public school, and residential programs. As he worked diligently and tirelessly serving children with special needs he was mastering his craft and building the framework that would eventually allow his dream to happen.
At long last, in 1993, after many discussions with his wife, and much prayer, Mitch began the process of opening the school and residential program that became Bayes Achievement Center. There were days that seemed hopeless, and everything was put on the line, but every need was always met. Mitch had this dream formed in his young mind as he lay staring up at a summer camp moon, but now he also had a special group of people working alongside him who shared his dream and mission—to help the children and young people who are MOST in need have the BEST life possible.
Twenty-seven years later, this dream is still coming true. What began as a modest residential home that doubled as a school on a dusty road; is now two campuses with spacious classrooms, office buildings, horticulture, music therapy, animals, sports courts, and a fishing pond. The outer trappings are different, but the heart of the program has never changed, and the people who continue to carry out his dream all have that same heart. A heart of unconditional care for the children and young people who are most in need and a commitment to help them have the best life possible.