In a world where being different often means isolation and exclusion, can you imagine a world where everyone–regardless of their situation in life–was a respected, valued member of the community? That is the vision of Hope House, a rapidly growing nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with co-occurring autism, intellectual, and mental health needs.
Though having a noble goal is one thing, doing something about it is entirely different. For this month’s Client Spotlight, we sat down with David Bernstein, Executive Director of Hope House, to learn more about the nonprofit, how they continue to make a difference decades after their inception, and how they have adapted to business and industry challenges over the years.
A History of Hope
Founded in 1963, Hope House was started by a group of community leaders and parents of children with multiple handicaps. Because most of the existing programs at the time were designated exclusively for a particular challenge, individuals with multiple disabilities often did not qualify.
Unable to find treatment services for their children, the group knew they needed help to offer more for their kids. And they weren’t alone. Due to increased awareness of mental and intellectual health challenges from publicity around the Kennedy family, all across America parents began forming organizations like Hope House to serve their kids with handicaps.
Unlike in many other social services, it was mostly parents who really created and pushed for progress in this field. In the case of Hope House, the nonprofit began in Covina with a 6-bed home. Now, 56 years later, the organization is proud to assist 81 individuals in their residential care homes. These homes span 12 different sites in El Monte, Monrovia, and Baldwin Park.
Hope House Today
Decades after its establishment, Hope House continues to lead the growing movement of families and advocates. Together, this movement advocates advancing the rights of children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Whereas national and state legislation funding regional centers serve individuals to a great extent in their natural homes, Hope House offers a 24-hour residential alternative for families who need greater assistance.
Additionally, Hope House has placed a passionate focus on building its homes around the concept of “normalization”. Having spent years tinkering with their economies of scale, Bernstein shares that this emphasis is really about providing their clients a “normal” life.
This stems from the idea that all people deserve, want, and benefit from the same life we all seek. Specifically, this “normal” life includes a good family, education, job, friends, and community.
Applying this concept, Hope House has pioneered a number of innovative ideas to improve clients’ quality of life. For example, Velcro curtains and secured plexiglass wall decor frames provide a unique way for residents to personalize their rooms. (Typically care centers refrain from using these decorations to avoid them being pulled off of the walls.)
Above all, Hope House is committed to keeping their clients’ wants and needs front-of-mind – no matter how large or small.
In 1986, Hope House switched to Southland Data Processing from ADP. Bernstein, an employee of Hope House since 1979, shared that he loved how SDP:
…was always willing to make whatever we needed happen. There was no cookie-cutter approach.“
Today, Hope House has more services than ever with SDP, including our timekeeping and scheduling solution. Having grown from 1 facility when we first began working together to 12 today, and 75 employees to over 200, he strongly recommends SDP. He shares,
They’ve never missed a payroll – never missed a paycheck. They’ve helped us grow.“
And truly, that mindset is what we’re all about at Southland Data Processing. We say it time and time again, but we’re not in the payroll business – we’re in the people business. We understand that people are at the heart of every business. And that’s why we view every business we work with as a valued partner to grow with.
Supporting the Movement
In partnership with Hope House, we would love to invite you to attend their 3rd Annual Dinner and Dancing: Noche de Esperanza. This “Night of Hope” will feature a gourmet banquet, flamenco dancers, and more. Additionally, all proceeds will go towards supporting the nonprofit. Can’t make it? You can learn more about other ways to support and partner with Hope House here.
Whether it’s making a donation to the thrift store or making your next Amazon purchase through their Amazon Smile, we invite you to join the team at Hope House in making a difference in this community and the lives of every individual and family they serve.
SDP Client Spotlights: Celebrating Our Clients
Every month, we highlight one of our amazing clients with the SDP Client Spotlight. Here at Southland Data Processing, we’re in the people business and strive to always put our clients first. So if you or your organization is interested in becoming our next Client Spotlight, please contact us at [email protected] and we’d love to hear your story!
Photo by Hope House