Setting a Direction

Tonight the Jewish community begins their High Holiday celebrations with Rosh Hashanah culminating with Yom Kippur. It is a time to review the past year, atone for any wrongs and celebrate the beginning of a new year. This annual ritual is similar to other religious traditions that provide an annual opportunity to reflect on the past while also looking forward, hopeful for what lies ahead. This annual review is good not only for individuals, but for organizations as well. And so as Hillsides’ anticipates our centennial in 2013, we are taking some time to review the past century, in light of our ever compelling mission, in order to better position us for the next century of faithful service to vulnerable children and their families.

As a result, this past week a select group of board members and executive staff set aside half a day for the first of two sessions to set a direction for Hillsides’ next century of service. In preparation for these planning sessions, interested parties have been interviewed, some internal focus groups have been held, and an initial organizational assessment has been developed. The process is meant to be iterative, so as materials are developed they will then be vetted by staff, the board of directors and our principle stakeholders. The goal of these planning efforts is to reinvigorate Hillsides, affirm our historic mission, and set a direction that will allow us to be confident of yet another hundred years.
I’m only stating the obvious when I say that much has changed since 1913, but as much as things have changed, some things are still the same and that is our mission and commitment. Even the challenges today have some similarities with those of 1913. They have to do with funding, practice trends, quality of care and ultimately the long-term well being of the children we serve.
Hillsides has always been an organization that is very responsive to the needs of the children we serve. This is reflected in the environment that we have established on the campus to provide a safe and welcoming place for our residents, the development of our educational service over the last thirty years and, most recently, the creation of our community-based programs, specifically our services for youth leaving the foster care system. It is this history of innovation that inspires us to look ahead to the challenges the children and families we serve confront and set a direction to be ever responsive to them and a real resource to aid them in achieving their dreams and hopes.

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