Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Building friendships and building bridges

Teen ATTITUDE gave Emily the opportunity to meet young women her own age. It was her only time with peers who didn’t have developmental disabilities. Teen Attitude helped her find friends during a difficult time of transition. The young women at Teen Attitude learned that they have a lot in common despite different levels of abilities. -- from her sister, Amy

You can help other teen girls learn about friendship and socialization TODAY and it will be matched dollar for dollar when you give at

Teen ATTITUDE is a peer to peer program that pairs teen girls with and without disabilities for mutual support and friendship at the Pieters Family Life Center. ATTITUDE stands for: Awareness Teamwork Trusting Independence Together Understanding Differences for Empowerment.

As a peer to peer social group for teenage girls, we energize the CAPABILITIES of all participants by providing activities that encourage fun and friendship.  In a nurturing environment we support and assist one another with unleashing each other’s highest potential.

To hear about one family that's anxiously waiting for the program, visit

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HCS Foundation: Making a Difference Today

The Heritage Christian Services Foundation exists to ensure people with developmental disabilities have the best care and the best quality of life regardless of how the economy is doing.

“Heritage Christian has received Medicaid cuts, which means the need to strengthen our financial base has never been more urgent – so we can maintain the fine services we offer now and ensure our agency will stand strong for generations,” said Mark Zawacki, executive director of the Foundation. “That’s why we’re asking you to give now, to our four key areas.”

·         Spiritual Life: The agency seeks to support people along their journeys of faith and facilitate attendance at places of worship. 

·         Workforce and Talent Retention: The fund will help provide salary increases and professional development, each a critical element in recruiting and retaining the best employees. Also, it will ensure the agency can offer generous benefits that are designed to retain a high quality staff. 

·         Residential Opportunities: Over time, people could face the loss of a parent or a sibling, steep medical bills or other unforeseen challenges. To prepare for that, the agency is creating a fund to ensure that financial grants can be provided in times of change or crisis. 

·         Health and Wellness: Through the creation of the Heritage Christian Services Successful Aging and Wellness program, which is now in a pilot phase, the agency can help individuals age with grace, dignity, greater health, and an even stronger sense of engagement.

 To donate, visit and know that all donations -- up to $1,600 -- will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to the KeyBank Challenge Grant.

Investing in hope at Heritage Christian Stables

What does hope sound like? 

It’s the tiny sound of a rider drawing in his breath as he mounts for the first time, trusting the powerful animal beneath him and the people who are standing beside him. It’s the rhythmic brushing from the woman who wouldn’t go near a small dog but now grooms a horse taller than she is. It’s the scratchy voice of a rider who hasn’t spoken in years, saying, “Walk.”

There’s something about those amazing, nonjudgmental animals that brings out the best in people, that allows people to trust and to try – and to hope. 

And that’s where you come in. 

When you give to Heritage Christian Stables, you’re helping people with developmental disabilities have access to riding lessons and time with horses. You’re giving a young man who uses a wheelchair the chance to walk, or maybe even trot.  You’re supporting the girl who struggles with social skills as she learns to become friends with a horse. You’re making a world of difference.

Thanks to your generosity, we’ve already hired an internationally known expert to oversee our therapeutic riding program and our horses. And we’ve added run-in sheds and other improvements.Many of you have graciously shared your time with us as volunteers and have helped us serve more people in our riding lessons. We appreciate your work, and we couldn’t have done it without you. 

Roc the Day is another way that you can help those at our stables and so many others. Thank you for considering our request and for your interest in enriching the lives of those we serve.

To donate, visit and know that all donations -- up to $1,500 -- will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to the KeyBank Challenge Grant.