A Special Note from our CEO
Hi-Hope: A longstanding public-private partnership This month at Hi-Hope, our HVAC systems are being replaced in two of our buildings. It’s a big job – the largest of the custom-built units will be placed on the roof with a crane. I don’t know how long it has been since we replaced these units (if ever), but the building is almost 50 years old. What I know more than anything is that those of us who work and the individuals who are supported in the buildings are going to be way more comfortable! This $300,000 project is being funded through Gwinnett County’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. What exactly is this program and how is it funded? The county’s website describes it this way: The CDBG program was authorized by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 and provides annual grants awarded to the county by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of lowand moderate-income. Funding for these HUD grant programs is awarded by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to qualifying nonprofit and government organizations through an annual competition process. From the beginning, Hi-Hope has benefited from its partnership with the county. The original (and currently still used) Hi-Hope school building sits on county owned property which is offered to Hi-Hope through a long-term lease. In more recent years, through the CDBG program, the county has provided significant
support to help ensure that services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities are provided in safe, accessible and pleasant surroundings. In 2017-2018, a $649,000 CDBG investment covered one-third of the cost of renovating our former sheltered workshop into the beautiful Lifelong Learning Center. A $300,000 grant was used to renovate four of Hi-Hope’s group homes. In addition, CDBG grants have been used for the purchase of accessible vehicles and to support program operational costs. The results of this sizeable investment are significant. Renovation of Hi-Hope’s group homes included adding sprinkler systems, generators and accessible bathrooms. These features ensure that people have safe living conditions and can age in place. The newly renovated space for Hi-Hope’s day and employment programs has resulted in 32% growth in persons served over the last two years. Further, the operational support received for both our residential and day programs has allowed us to provide higher staff to individual ratios. This ensures that we are able to serve persons with higher support needs; a significant community need. So, while my mind is currently on those new HVAC systems, I would be remiss not to note the value of HiHope’s historic public-private partnership with Gwinnett County, not just in July 2019, but over our entire 60 year history. All of us at Hi-Hope send a great big THANK YOU!
Our Hi-Hope Family Valorie Williams,
Community Access Group Coordinator
Hi-Hope Service Center is home to some of the most dedicated, hard-working staff members who commit themselves day in and day out to support our individuals and help them lead a full and meaningful life. They are the backbone and the heart of our mission. We wanted to introduce you to an integral part of our Community Access Day Program. Valorie Williams, our Community Access Group Coordinator, comes to Hi-Hope with over 20 years of experience in the public health sector. She started her journey with Hi-Hope in 2010, working part-time as a member of our residential program. Her journey would take her away from Hi-Hope for some time to continue her calling in public health, but she would eventually return to Hi-Hope in 2017. Valorie wears many hats for the organization. She is responsible for organizing all transportation, and she serves as the liaison for all community access activities to provide the best possible opportunities for all of our individuals. Aside from her programmatic duties, Valorie boasts that her favorite part of the job are the genuine connections she’s been able to make. She talks about how the smallest observations picked up through daily interactions with our individuals have led to some of the most rewarding relationships. It makes her day knowing that any one individual could pop in her office looking for a hug or their favorite snack – she keeps a secret drawer just for that purpose alone! She is inspired by our individuals’ successes, big and small, and she believes that all of our individuals deserve equal opportunities to enjoy all that life has to offer in all ways possible.
I believe I have found
the work I would love to do for the rest of my life. I want Hi-Hope to be my final destination. It’s home. I really care about our mission. I want to see us continue to grow, and I want to be a part of that future. – Valorie Williams, CAG Coordinator
Serving is Valorie’s “heart work”. When she isn’t with our Hi-Hope family, she spends time volunteering at a local nursing home with her church. She enjoys cooking, singing, drawing and spending time with her dog. We are grateful for all of our staff like Valorie. They are responsible for changing the lives of so many through their dedication, passion and service.
Big Time Rush Community partners play a significant role in carrying out the mission of Hi-Hope, and our storied relationship with Perimeter Church has allowed us to be the beneficiary of some amazing gifts and volunteer efforts. This summer, we were fortunate enough to open our doors to the participants of Perimeter Church’s Rush Conference. Over the course of three days, we hosted almost 40 students. Students came to us from John’s Creek, Georgia, and the surrounding Southeast region. They spent time getting to know our individuals and completed various service projects including laying pine straw, painting and planting flowers across our campus. Their time spent beautifying our grounds was an enormous help to our maintenance staff, and we could not be more appreciative of their hard work and willingness to support Hi-Hope’s mission of cultivating community. The Rush Conference is an annual event open to students, grades 6-12, and is completely operated by student leaders. They conduct worship, fellowship and community outreach during the duration of the conference. Through our relationship with Perimeter Church and the Rush Conference, we have seen over 200 volunteers who have collectively served for almost 400 volunteer hours – an amazing feat!
Perimeter Church's impact is
when you go beyond the actual service projects and acknowledge the countless lives they've
impacted through good works,
kind & genuine interactions
with our individuals and staff and their eagerness to seek out the next service opportunity time and time again. It is a relationship we truly cherish. – Nick Reynolds, Development Manager
We are completely blown away by the passion of these young students. Their dedication to their mission and readiness to serve is both inspiring and endearing. We hope to have the opportunity to be a mission site for Perimeter Church for many years to come.
882 Hi Hope Rd Lawrenceville, GA 30043
This issue of the Hi-Hope Horizon is
dedicated to the loving memory of
The community and our Hi-Hope family have lost a truly great friend and leader. Her contributions to our organization have left a lasting impact that will be felt by many for years to come.