Recently, the Hillsides’ administrative staff received an e-mail from Susanne Crummey, our longtime associate executive director, with an extraordinary request for assistance regarding the guardian of one our residents. This young man has been at Hillsides for several months and the plan is to transition him to his godmother who is prepared to become his long-term guardian. One of the challenges with the plan is helping his godmother to become more financially stable. This would be especially important once she welcomed this youth into her household. So the request was to see if we could identify a part-time job for this woman in order for her to be more confident about assuming this great responsibility.
I share this with you because it is a good example of the approach that we take when facilitating services–we do whatever it takes to best serve the children, youth and families in our care. In this case, it meant conducting a job search; at other times it means identifying housing or providing food. We are committed to doing anything we can to help the children and families we serve be successful.
This is very consistent with what emerged from a recent planning session where we identified the top three characteristics of the organization. Listed first was, “a culture of service,” clearly evident in our extraordinary attempts to help this guardian find a part-time job.
Related to this is a yet another characteristic and that is being innovative. Whether it be the establishment of the Hillsides Education Center, thirty years ago, the development of a wide range of community-based services, the creation of Youth Moving On or participation in the pilot program to integrate residential and community-based services for the most challenging youth, Hillsides has been an innovator that has consistently striven to provide the best care possible.
And all this ties in with the third characteristic: advocacy. For us, advocacy is not limited to monitoring and weighing in on public policy and legislation, it is also intimately linked with all we do for each child, youth and family we serve.
These three characteristics, service, innovation and advocacy, indicate not only who we are but also serve as a standard that we value and we plan to develop even more as we plan to be an ever effective organization.