by Jan Hopper, Program Manager
Written on the wall outside the training room at our main building there is a quote from one of the founders of Hammer Residences. “We saw the need and we went ahead and did it.” This simple sentence is so powerful. It must have taken a great deal of bravery and resolve to start a school for handicapped children in the 1920’s. This was a time when parents were advised, for the good of the family, to send their disabled children to an institution and write them off as dead. But these ladies with big hearts felt that these children could live better, productive lives in their community. So they just went ahead and did it!
This one sentence also describes Hammer’s approach to providing services for 90 years. Although it was uttered in 1923, it is a philosophy that continues today. It inspires me, and the other staff, to think outside the box. We are allowed and encouraged to dream, to brainstorm, to indulge in wild flights of fancy, to think of possibilities, and to dream about what could be. It makes us feel that nothing is impossible. It means we spend time thinking about what could be done to make the individuals we work with have the best lives possible.
Sometimes this takes a bit of detective work. For example, Janet doesn’t talk, at least not in the way most of us do. Janet can make her needs and emotions known, but sometimes the finer points take some interpretation. We discovered, for instance, that she loves the Twins and baseball. It took us some time to figure this out, but now she goes to several Twins’ games every year and has an entire wardrobe of Twins themed clothing. She LOVES the Twins, even when they lose, and that is saying something!
When I mentioned to one of the staff that I was writing a blog and using this quote as the theme she said: “That is exactly how we do it here! We look for needs and then we find a way to get it done.” She is right, and it makes for a job that is both fun and challenging. When I am asked what I do for a living I am SO tempted to reply, “I make dreams come true…” because that is how I see my job. Of course it is only a small part of my job, I still have meetings, paperwork and payroll to do, but I see the dream-supporting as the most important part!