Monday, February 11, 2013

Heritage Christian Services opens new home with help from Rochester community

Brighton, NY – Feb. 11, 2013 – Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and community supporters, six people with developmental disabilities have a new home that better fits their medical needs. Schools, churches, businesses, Rotary and government agencies pulled together to build the new home near Twelve Corners in Brighton, and many of those supporters celebrated the grand opening with Heritage Christian Services today at nearby Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church. 

The new home is adjacent to a two-story apartment building that’s operated by HCS and is currently home to 10 individuals with developmental disabilities. Five of those individuals have moved to the new one-level home, and they have been joined by one person from the community who was waiting for residential services. The five units on the second floor in the current apartment building will be converted into apartments for people who are ready for more independence.  

“By keeping the apartments and new home together, we’re able to preserve the family network that has grown among the people living here these past 20 years. We’re also able to be efficient with our resources – whether that means sharing land resources or staff support,” said Ron Little, the agency’s vice president of finance and agency advancement.

This model will help pave the way for HCS and other agencies to serve more people across New York state, chipping away at the waiting list of more than 11,700. The new reality is that agencies and parents can no longer count on Medicaid funding to completely pay for residential, comprehensive clinical care and vital programs like respite. Heritage Christian is being proactive by engaging the community and offering solutions so people can get the support they need and the quality care they deserve. Each solution offers the chance for another family to be served, another person to have the chance to experience independence. And each new solution chips away at the waiting list.
A sampling of community partners:
Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church; Perinton Presbyterian Church; Webster Presbyterian Church; St. Catherine’s Church (Mendon); First Baptist Church and Society (Rochester); Twelve Corners Men’s Bible Study; Pen-Web Rotary; Brighton Rotary; Rochester Rotary; Irondequoit Rotary; Charles J. & Burton S. August Family Foundation (Rochester); Davenport-Hatch Foundation, Inc. (Penfield); Kilian J. & Caroline F. Schmitt Foundation (Rochester); Flower City Habitat for Humanity; Brighton Central School District; KeyBank; Wegmans; Morse Sash & Door; Solid Surfaces (Rochester); Accurate Acoustical, Inc. (Victor); Empire State Carpenters Apprenticeship; Turner Engineering  (East Rochester); Taylor, the Builders (Penfield); DDS Engineers (Rochester); SWBR Architects (Rochester); Hoselton Auto Mall; Toyota Dealer Match Program; DDSO; Monroe County

About Heritage Christian Services
Heritage Christian Services supports more than 1,700 children and adults with disabilities; provides high quality child care; and matches business owners with talented workers who have developmental disabilities. The agency now operates more than 70 neighborhood homes; offers service coordination, respite, community habilitation and 27 day programs; has been recognized by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities as one of New York state's top service providers to people with special needs; and recently earned national accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Successful communication starts with authenticity

By Marisa Geitner, president & C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services

Great communication is key to the success of any organization – especially one like ours with such an important mission. But long lasting success rarely comes from large corporate communications plans. It comes instead from authentic conversations, the kind where all those invested in our mission not only receive information but feel that they, too, have been heard. 

These conversations – planned or spontaneous, between two or among many – set the tone for an entire agency. They are where we learn from one another or push each other away. They are where we strengthen our culture and our commitment to the people we serve or shut down innovative ideas.

So, what can we do?

We can turn off our automatic responses and listen more. We can show emotion and make it easier for people to read us and our intentions. We can talk about what is going right and plan how to make it work even better. We can offer specific feedback that helps people grow and learn. We can take risks and share what’s most important to us and to the people we serve, always with tact so we’re offering dignity and showing respect.

We can model courage and honesty in all that we do because that is the kind of communication that strengthens a great organization.