As The Center at Hampton House (TCHH) celebrates our Third Year in business, we have many successes to look back on. For new nonprofits, the three-year mark often indicates that the group has overcome the startup hurdles all new businesses face. We have overcome challenges, faced them and grown both as a group and a business. We have grown from 5 passionate business women and moms to a 12-person strong team of women who are passionate about making a difference, regardless of the sacrifices. The work is hard, the work is meaningful, and our work is important.
We all are now facing the impacts of COVID-19 and some of the impacts exacerbate the needs of our clients who are young adults with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. Isolation has always been an issue for this population. Compound basic challenges, with COVID-19 and isolation makes it become more difficult, yet more critical, to help make connections for our clients.
The Center at Hampton House began the first pilot program in February 2018, as a proof of concept. Our program, Get Your Future in Focus, provides Work Readiness and Independent Living Skills to students with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. During our first year alone, we provided services in 4 Montgomery County school districts; Philadelphia County school district; and several YMCA locations. We employed several Penn State, Human Services students as interns, and created the connection and support with our local Penn State branch.
Since our first program, we have completed 12 "Get Your Future In Focus" programs as a state funded service provider and delivered services to over 300 students and clients. We provide unique and creative ways to engage the students through hands on shopping and cooking lessons, “What to do when there’s nothing to do”, among others.
We brought in professionals from the local banking, landscaping and construction fields to offer insight into career options. They explained what it's like working in these fields and what is needed to get started.
The key to success for each individual is to explore options and find their gift. Then it's our job to locate a position that will make use of their talents. Increasing the chances for success is our primary objective. While we can't claim victory for all, we have achieved many significant accomplishments.
When we consider our successes and the lives we have touched, we can draw from many experiences. Among them include:
- We have helped develop friendships among our students.
- We have continued to stay in touch with dozens of clients - they let us know they want more!
- Our commitment was tested in 2019 when our state funding was unexpectedly pulled and we completed the program pro-bono to avoid disruption to the students.
- Many of our students became attached and counted on us for additional support and we never waivered.
- Over 3 years we received emails, cards, letters and artwork from our previous clients.
Facing Hurdles Head-On
We recently converted our in-person program to a virtual zoom program that no other local provider could deliver. Our team pulled together and made the necessary program changes and created the accounts to get started with nearly no lead time and completed a successful 6-week Summer Program. We were just asked to return for a fall program as well.
Our clients' families recognize their loved one may have potential to achieve success. If given the chance, we can help them to succeed! This population needs advocates to help break down barriers to employment. We need businesses to recognize their potential and take a chance on making a difference. Our clients need individuals who are willing to spend a few hours to help them learn more about our community and make introductions. This is all within our reach. We are happy to offer friendship, our support and ideally opportunities.
We are so grateful for the support we have gained and are continually surprised by the outpouring of support. If you think you or your business or organization may be willing to help in this important work, we would love to invite you to visit The Center at Hampton House and see what potential may be right around the corner.