Strong Foundation Upheld for a Century
2013 will mark Hillsides centennial. Reviewing the historical archives provided an affirmation of the organization’s characteristics that had surfaced when we were developing a strategic road map this past year. Clearly from its inception, Hillsides has been an organization unquestionably committed to those it serves, willing to innovate in order to be most effective, and always dedicated to raising a voice in favor of those who otherwise would be ignored.
Our founder, Deaconess Evelyn Wile, was a woman on a mission. Having abandoned the comforts of her day, of family, and a home, she committed herself exclusively to the quality care of the children entrusted to her. She lived for them! Her absolute dedication established a work ethic that to this day permeates the organization, witnessed in the extraordinary number of staff who have worked most of their professional lives at Hillsides.
From the very beginning Hillsides was like no other “orphanage.” Turning away from constructing a large, dormitory like structure, Deaconess Wile preferred a campus setting with cottages to provide children a home environment. Over the years, the organization developed the capacity to always look for additional ways to best serve vulnerable children. It was this spirit of innovation that led to the construction of Hillsides Education Center, the establishment of an array of community-based services throughout greater Los Angeles and Pasadena, and most recently, the creation of the Youth Moving On program to address the needs of former foster youth striving for independence.
All of these efforts to provide the best possible care has also allowed Hillsides to be recognized as a credible advocate, speaking out throughout its history to help engage the community to value the tremendous capacity of the children, youth, and families its serves.
Much has changed in 100 years; Avenue 64 is no longer the leafy refuges from the city that it once was, buildings have been added to the original three structures, and an extensive network of services in the community has been developed. Yet through these subsequent generations, some things remain the same–quality care, innovation, and advocacy. These are the foundation for what we hope will be yet another 100 years.