Each of our Hammer & NER homes is unique because of the people who live and work there. Each month we will “showcase” one of our homes (or apartment programs) and celebrate the people who live there and the staff who support them. We will have wonderful stories to share! To launch this new program, we introduce you to the Hale home!
The Hale home in Oakdale is home to four lovely women. Three of them have lived together over 25 years and all four see each other as family. Michelle Hartmann is the home’s Program Manager. She has worked with NER for 28 years and joined the Hale home 15 years ago. “It was a fluke, really,” she says. “I had never met a person with a disability. I was 19 years old and needed a part-time job. Once I started, there was no turning back. I know I’m making a difference. It’s a good feeling. I’m attached to everyone here. These ladies are a part of my daily life. I’ve recently picked up shifts at some of our other homes so I can spread my love to more people.”
Here is the Hale team, who are all Direct Support Professionals:
Kelly Jarosz, 24 years
Katie Schultz, 14 years
Sharlene “Shar” Beaudry, 9 years
Qadira Bradshaw, 6 years
Audra Iverson, 5 years
Marcella Moore, 5 months
Jedidah Goffa, 4 months
Let’s meet the Hale ladies!
Amy loves to help others and is very caring and compassionate. She likes to travel and is looking forward to a summer road trip with her mom to the Black Hills. She enjoys spending time with her mom, bowling, softball, dances, shopping (she has a great eye at thrift stores) and snuggling with George and Gracie, the home’s feline roommates. Amy is a great organizer: On grocery shopping day she stocks the cabinets, putting everything in perfect order. She enjoys checking out new places and although it may take her a few minutes to adjust, she always seems to have a great time. Amy loves the rides at Valleyfair, enjoys boat rides, and does seem to be somewhat of a “thrill seeker.” She is not a fan of green beans or cooked carrots.
Denise has a great sense of humor, loves to drink coffee, going to Target and McDonald’s, and visiting with her friends and family. She enjoys people watching and saying “Hi” to everyone she sees while out in the community. She also enjoys spending time watching DVDs in her bedroom (her favorites are The Dukes of Hazzard, Gilligan’s Island, and The Brady Bunch). Denise likes to make people laugh by telling silly little jokes and has many friends. When out and about, she always seems to see someone she knows. Denise uses a wheelchair for longer distances and seems to be more willing to go places when using it. She and Amy have both lived at the Hale home for 28 years and are old friends.
Mary Anne moved into the Hale home 26 years ago. Her niece and guardian, Becky Bollinger, is a Program Compliance Manager with Hammer & NER. She says Mary Anne is funny, a morning person, and a good hostess (she will always offer you pop if you stop by). Mary Anne is very social and loves to chat with new people. She really likes birds, baking and sampling, shopping at Target, bowling, and eating out at Arby’s. Mary Anne is pretty talented with an Etch A Sketch. Her favorite show is Bewitched. She’s not into carrots, radishes, or waiting for dinner.
Sarah is the newest addition to the Hale home family, having moved in just four years ago. She has a personality that shines very bright. She is very intelligent and knowledgeable about a variety of topics. Sarah cares a lot about others and their health/wellbeing. She loves to collect Care Bears, panda bears, and anything PAW Patrol. Sarah has collections of books and puzzles that exceed several hundred! She enjoys spending time with her family, seeing friends while out and about, and shopping. Sarah also enjoys finding the perfect movie or show for everyone to watch.
The Hale gals have similar interests and enjoy doing things together like going bowling or to dances. They also enjoy going to a special service at North Heights Church on Sunday afternoons. This faith community and the connections they’ve made there are important to them.
“We try to do a range of activities that the ladies enjoy,” Michelle says. “For Valentine’s Day, they got dressed up for a dance organized by Community Bridge. We schedule lots of activities and classes through them. Amy likes sports and has been playing t-ball for 10 years through Community Bridge. Sarah and Mary Anne want to join the team, too. Everyone enjoys eating out and shopping. And bowling! We’re working on joining an adapted bowling league.” Michelle adds that her goal for this year is to take the ladies to a summer camp designed for people with special needs.
The women’s families maintain close ties to the Hale home. “The parents and guardians are very involved,” says Michelle. “Two of our gals spend every other weekend with their family. Our families have helped us purchase things for the house and are always checking to see if there is anything the house needs. They’ve been great about helping during staffing shortages by taking their loved one home with them for longer periods of time. Their appreciation for what we do shows in many ways. We are truly blessed to have these families. Their support is amazing.”
Family, extended. And likewise, the home’s staff have made the ladies part of their own families. Staff member, Qadira, has often invited Amy and Mary Anne to join her family for Christmas and sometimes Mary Anne join’s Kelly’s family. Kelly, also on staff, is guardian for one of her cousins and the three wear matching pajamas Christmas morning. “The way our staff’s families include our gals in their lives is quite impressive,” Michelle says. “The ladies enjoy being involved with them and know everyone’s children’s, spouses’, and pets’ names. Every so often, my husband, Wade, who works at our Highway 96 home, will drop by to say hello. We really are one huge Hale family!”
Staff member Marcella joined the conversation as her shift started. While she is one of the newest staff to join the team, she has worked in the field for many years. “I just love helping people,” she says. “It’s something I’ve always done. I like to see the excitement in the faces of the women here. We have a lot of fun. I hope they will always feel safe and loved here and that we can help them live their best lives.”
What makes the Hale home special?
“Hale is such a great house with a true ‘home’ feeling,” Michelle says. “Most of the staff have been here for several years (which is almost unheard of these days). I have been told when people walk into Hale, they can really feel the love in the house. I take great pride in being able to provide a warm, friendly, safe, and welcoming house for the ladies who live here and our staff.”
Thank you to our Hale home staff for everything you do to help the people we support live life to the fullest.