Everywhere you turn during this last week of the year you hear people summing up the accomplishments of this year. The same is true here at Hillsides. 2010 was a very eventful year in many ways. What follows is just a partial listing of some of the highlights.
Executive Leadership Transition
After nearly forty years John Hitchcock retired, and in his place I began my tenure as the chief executive officer. John was without a doubt the modern day founder of Hillsides, adding many innovative programs to the residential program long associated with Hillsides. In spite of the challenge of following someone as respected and loved as John, this first year has been a good transition as we begin to set a direction for the organization into its next century.
Any one of the programs we offer have seen significant changes, whether it be the introduction of evidence-based practice with its emphasis on outcomes, to the introduction of more family-centered services and how it is reducing the length of stay. These changes are having a historical impact on how Hillsides fulfills its mission.
Although this past year saw an improvement of the reimbursement for residential services, the severe cuts statewide of education funds has jeopardized funding for services offered at Hillsides Education Center. The constraints on public funding have made all the more significant our ability to raise $2 million a year as we did this year.
In spite of the challenges, we were able to lift a yearlong freeze on salaries and provide staff with a three percent adjustment in their compensation. In an effort to strengthen our position with staff, a staff survey was conducted, clearly identifying a set of priorities.
This year also served as an opportunity to review the position many of our programs have in this field, develop plans to sustain our position and improve upon it. Our decision this year to pursue a national accreditation and participate in a statewide benchmarking project will help to strengthen our position as a provider of choice.
Ultimate Achievement Criteria
In total, Hillsides serves nearly 6,000 individuals, including children and their families, this year. Yet the only questions that matter and serve to help truly identify our achievement are: did we make a difference in the lives of the children, youth and families we serve and what more can we do?
During this holiday season I had the pleasure of meeting many of the parents and guardians of the children we care for. Without exception, they all thanked me for what we do to support them and their children through what is a very difficult time. More than anything else their acknowledgment points to the greatest achievement of 2010….the improvement in their lives and of their children.
There is always more we can do for those we serve so let me take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support without which we could not achieve what we have this year.
Be sure of our best wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!