One of the things Hammer Residences and Northeast Residence (NER) have in common is a workplace culture supportive of staff who have met and married or employees who encourage family members to apply for jobs with the organization. The Heroff family has taken that to heart: Lisa Heroff, along with her three adult children, all work at NER.
Lisa joined the NER finance team part time in 1996. She had three young children at the time. Her daughter, Kate, was 5 years old and her twin sons, Kyle and Kevin, were 9. A few months later, she accepted a full-time position and today she is NER’s Director of Finance. One might say it was natural that Kevin, Kyle, and Kate would gravitate toward NER. “We lived in White Bear Lake and my kids grew up with NER and would go to all the events with me,” Lisa says.
NER opened an extended day/after-school program across the street from the kids’ school. Kevin and Kyle started working there after school when they were 15. “School let out at 2 p.m. and we’d walk across the street and hang out with the young adults and children for a few hours,” Kevin says. “It didn’t seem like work, it was fun. It was something Kyle and I did until we were 18 and then we also picked up one weekend shift a month up in Hugo.” When they went to college, they came home one weekend a month to work at NER. Kate also began working part time at NER when she was 15 years old.
After college, Kevin, Kyle, and Kate each decided they wanted to stay connected to NER. Kevin accepted a job as a program supervisor at the Cedarwood home. “I did program coordinator duties, taking care of the books, making appointments, attending to medical management, and staffing. It was a lot of responsibility for a first job out of college.” He later became one of NER’s first full-time weekend relief float employees. Today, he supports 19 of NER’s homes.
Kyle became a special education teacher and works in the Roseville School District. He covers one weekend shift a month, alternating between two of NER’s homes in Hugo and then works there full-time in the summers.
After college, Kate went to Uganda for a year. When she returned, she accepted a full-time job at NER as a float supervisor supervising staff at multiple sites. In 2019, Kate began working at 3M full-time, while continuing on the float team picking up occasional weekend shifts. About a year ago, she accepted a full-time sleepover position with NER while still working her full-time position at 3M. “I’ve always wanted to keep my foot in at NER, for fulfillment,” she says.
Lisa says she believes being involved at NER at such a young age shaped who her children became. “All three have worked here for more than half of their lives,” she says. “The compassion, the patience—for Kyle to be a special ed teacher, that probably wouldn’t have happened without NER—and for Kevin and Kate not wanting to let go. None of them ever wanted to let go.”
Kate agrees. “It carried over into other areas of my life. It’s affected the way I look at life,” she says. “Growing up around people with disabilities, we didn’t see them other than just people who needed a little more help.”
Thank you, Lisa, Kate, Kyle, and Kevin, for all you do for the people we serve!