I Am: A Care Moment Between a Residential Youth and Staff

At the ground-breaking event, Diana recited a poem that earned a standing ovation from the crowd titled 'I Am'. We are so proud of her for getting in front of the crowd and showing how amazing, genuine, and bright she is. Residential Therapist Rebecca Rudolph and Program Manager Deanna Howard each worked with Diana, our youth in care who was selected to speak at our groundbreaking ceremony.

Diana is a 14-year-old foster youth who has experienced trauma and is also intellectually and developmentally delayed. Since arriving in January, she has made significant progress. “I've learned to control my anger and use my words to communicate better,” Diana said. She likes the staff and admits they've helped her a lot. She helps her peers too. “They know they can come to me for help,” Diana added.

Diana selected Deanna to sit with her at the ceremony. Deanna indicated that she has a strong rapport with Diana as a result of their many talks in the evening (relationship based). Deanna said she knew Diana was getting nervous on the morning of the event so she continued to encourage her by telling her how great she was going to do (competence centered). Deanna shared that Diana thanked her for allowing her to be part of the ceremony to which Deanna replied, “you got this. You are important and loved. If you get scared up there just look at me,” (Developmentally focused).

Rebecca reinforced these same care principles saying that she practiced the poem with Diana and said she was comfortable working with her because of their good relationship. Rebecca said she read the poem to her a couple times first so Diana could hear the tone and pauses in the poem and then she listened while Diana practiced reading it. Rebecca says she can tell Diana is starting to see that she is loved and cared for by her peers and staff at Hoyleton and knows that is great progress. Both Deanna and Rebecca are so proud of what Diana has accomplished.



Hagar House: A New Beginning

The Hoyleton Transitional Living Program for Pregnant and Parenting youth has been converted into a Transitional Living Program (TLP) for developmentally delayed females aged 17.5 to 21. The living arrangements for the clients in this program have also changed. Our clients now live in a duplex in a residential neighborhood with 3 young females living on each side. This home provides a much more comfortable living environment which aids in our client’s healing and growth.

The small number of clients in the home allows our staff to build strong relationships with each youth and creates opportunities to be more developmentally focused. While living in the TLP our youth learn how to cook, clean, manage finances, practice personal hygiene, self-care, social skills, and more. When youth leave the TLP they should possess the life skills they need to live in a CILA (Com-munity Integrated Living Arrangement), group home, or in their own place based on their level of independence.

The transition from the previous TLP facility to the new home-like setting hasn’t just been beneficial for the youth, our staff appreciate it too. The Hagar House staff say they now feel more relaxed while at work and find themselves having more fun and engaging in more positive interactions with the youth which leads to stronger connections and better outcomes. Hagar House Program Manager Pandora Harris said, “there have been a few bumps here and there, but everyone is moving towards their goals and we’re looking forward to experiencing that success.”

Pandora has been the program manager at Hagar House since September 2022. She has been very successful at building special relationships with each of the young women in her program. Pandora embraced the CARE model since the day it was introduced at Hoyleton and utilizes the care principles on a daily basis. Pandora’s leadership at Hagar House has also benefited many of her staff who have learned the importance of the CARE principles as well as the ability to stay calm in tense situations from watching Pandora’s actions.

Pandora understands the importance of being trauma informed and approaches client and staff challenges with tender words of understanding and a gentle touch to acknowledge them and let them know she is there to help and support them. She has earned the respect of each of the young women living at Hagar House and they all affectionately refer to her as “Mama.” Pandora works hard every day at instilling confidence and self-worth in the young women in her care at Hagar House and she makes sure she validates their feelings when they share stories about their lives. Pandora spends a lot of her time giving guidance to the youth at Hagar House about finances, the importance of school, friendships and relationships because most of these young women never had a parent or role model around to discuss these topics with them. Hagar House now looks like a family home on the outside and in many ways feels like one on the inside too.

Schippel House Provides Opportunities for Youth with Developmental Delays

Rachelle Dunahee is the Program Manager at Schippel House, a therapeutic residential home in Salem, Il. for youth with special needs, specifically those with developmental delays who are low-functioning and on the autism spectrum. There, she works with youth to help make them as independent as possible and integrate them into the community.

Meet Rachelle

Rachelle’s background in special needs education uniquely situated her to work at Schippel House, especially after having worked with Hoyleton Youth & Family Services’ summer program as a teacher for six years. She decided to make the transition from education to residential care after she realized she could combine her love of teaching youth with special needs with her love of leading teams.

As Program Manager, Rachelle is responsible for overseeing staffing, programming, community engagement, service plans and making sure that everyone is working toward the goals set for youth to address the unique challenges presented by their developmental delays.

Meeting Goals

These goals differ for every youth as their unique disabilities affect their independence in different ways. Some youth have goals as simple as picking up their toys or organizing their room. Other youth have more complex goals related to socialization. It all depends on where their developmental abilities are and what the care team at Schippel House deems appropriate.

One goal for the whole of Schippel House is to keep clients’ families involved. Because of the nature of their needs, youth require 24-hour care and can’t stay at their families’ homes. However, that doesn’t mean families are cut out of the picture. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachelle and her team hosted “family days” where youth and their families could participate in group activities, meals and even have photos taken.

“A lot of my staff, even if they weren’t working, would bring their families to these days,” says Rachelle. “And the families of clients themselves have made connections with other families and created a support network, which is important.”

School and Community Engagement

That support network doesn’t end with the family units. It extends into their schools where Schippel House staff work with special needs educators and administrators to mutually work toward students’ goals, making sure their goals at home and school align. One of these goals is community integration, which takes place in school but also in the greater Salem community.

“Our youth are out and about every day,” says Rachelle. “They struggle with social cues and social settings, but depending on the severity of their developmental delay, if they’re willing and able, we get them as involved as we can. I will say the community has always been extremely supportive of us. Even our neighbors, they’ll come visit when we’re outside playing, and if they feel like maybe something is wrong, they’ve called and checked in. All of our neighbors have been understanding and welcoming of us.”

When asked how her job has affected her personally, Rachelle explained that she sees her work as a calling.

“I have a God-given ability to work with these types of kids, and I have a really unique understanding for them. When family members let you know that what you’re doing matters and that they trust their child is safe, growing and learning, that is huge.”

To learn more about Schippel house and the amazing work they do to support youth with developmental delays, visit https://hoyleton.org/programs/therapeutic-residential-care/severe-developmental-delays/

Hoyleton CAREs About Our Clients and Team

By Stephanie Seaton, Director of Project Implementation

In 2017, we began implementing the CARE model, a comprehensive practice model that guides everything we do at Hoyleton. We are one of only 50 agencies nationally, and the only one serving youth in southern Illinois, that follows this model. It guides how we interact with the people we serve in the community and also our own goals and values and how we treat each other internally. It shapes every facet of our organization’s culture.

What is the CARE model?

The CARE model was developed at Cornell University and is rooted in six core principles:
Developmentally focused
Family involved
Relationship based
Competence centered
Trauma informed
Ecologically oriented

Why CARE works

These principles have been applied agency-wide since the CARE model’s adoption, particularly when interacting with our youth, many of whom have a history of trauma, CARE has shifted how we think about disruptive youth by changing the conversation from “What is wrong with them?” to “What has happened to them?” It shifts from the behavior to the story behind the behavior, which allows for more focused conversation instead of reactionary measures. It can be easy to take certain behaviors personally, but recognizing that it’s coming from a place of trauma response not only makes conversations possible but humanizes clients in meaningful ways.

CARE has also given our organization a common language to speak with clients and each other. Our staff has a wide range of education levels in terms of social work, psychology, therapy and other backgrounds. What may seem like common language to one of those groups may be new to another because of its clinical nature. CARE helps keep conversations consistent and understandable for all people involved because it gives us a shared vocabulary rooted in understanding and trauma care.

CARE at Hoyleton

What’s amazing about the CARE model is that it spills into the overall work/life relationship of our team as well. Thinking in terms of events that influence behavior instead of behavior itself helps team members have more grace with one another. It helps us remember small gestures go a long way to show care and encourages us to think about what little things we can do for one another. People forget how embedded the CARE model is in our culture because of how second nature its principles come to us.

This is what a good practice model does: it embeds itself. It becomes so much a part of the culture that CARE becomes the norm. CARE and its principles are so powerful because it strengthens the possibility for empathy. This is what Hoyleton is all about when it comes to our interactions with clients and each other.

Learn more about our approach to CARE by visiting our approach page.

A Warm Welcome to Our New CPO

Hope Carbonaro, LCSW Joins Hoyleton Youth and Family Services as Chief Program Officer

After graduating from SIU Carbondale in 1989 with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, Hope Carbonaro, LCSW, started her career that opened the door to many future opportunities, both locally and nationally!  After taking a personality career assessment in college, she realized that her skill set was consistent with working with people and felt a sense of purpose in helping others. She chose to pursue a career in social work and soon continued her education, completing her Masters of Social work with a Child Welfare specialization, from SIU Carbondale.

Originally born in Altamont, IL, Hope spent her adult life in Mt. Vernon, and to this day, lives there with her husband of nearly 30 years, Mike, and their daughter, Hannah, 23 who recently received her Master’s from Eastern Illinois University.  They share their home with 3 furry family members, two dogs and a cat.

Hope brings with her years of experience in both the Government and the Private Sector.  One of her memorable experiences during her time in private practice involved a contract to oversee a Rural Gang Initiative program supported by the Federal Government.  Through her work with this program in Southern Illinois, she was selected as a member of a national consulting panel, traveling to new program sites to train in strategies to curb the spread of children engaged in gang activity. These sites included locations in California, Florida, Texas, and Ohio, as she worked with detectives, probation officers, and community members to aid in development of programming in high activity gang areas including mentoring, educating and finding alternative activities.

Her most recent position,  DCFS Deputy Director of Intact Services, involved serving in a statewide capacity, contributing to her knowledge of the DCFS system and leadership skills, while ultimately bringing her full circle to continue her career in an agency with local impact. When choosing a new agency for her career, she believed Hoyleton Youth and Family Services would be a great fit. She wanted to return to work in a faith-based setting, with a feeling of family, where she could make a difference in the lives of children and families. Hope shared, “My dream job is like that of any good social worker, I’m looking to increase permanency for children, enhance child and family connections, and look for growth opportunities for the agency to support our community needs and expand  prevention efforts  to avoid and heal trauma experienced in the lives of our youth and their families.”

In addition to looking forward to the New Year and the opportunity to join Hoyleton, Hope is looking forward to some wedding planning in 2021 for her daughter’s May wedding.  Hopefully, 2021 will also bring her the ability to continue her family’s tradition of visiting her husband’s family in New York City during the holidays.  She enjoys the lighting of the tree and ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center during Christmas with her family.

All of us at Hoyleton welcome Hope and look forward to her joining our family as we move forward with our mission.

For more information on Hoyleton, our leadership team, and general information, please visit Hoyleton.org

A Message from Chris L. Cox

At this point, there is not much more that can be said about 2020, other than it will soon be over. We, as an organization, a community and a nation, have been challenged by political divisions, societal divisions and a global pandemic that have made us change the way we approach both our lives, our work, and our everyday.

Many organizations who serve in their communities feel these challenges have held them back from achieving their mission. I feel the opposite. I feel that what has happened this year has strengthened us as an organization, strengthened our programs and services and strengthened our resolve to help the growing needs in southern Illinois.

Be brave and think differently

When the pandemic first hit earlier this year, I asked our staff to be brave and find new ways to meet the needs of our communities. To do so, we needed to shift priorities to ensure the safety and well-being of families and children we serve as well as our staff and their families. We knew that now was not the time to close our doors to those who needed us most, but instead find a safe and new ways to engage and help them.

Hoyleton has developed a comprehensive three-year strategic road-map. This plan is very broad and a bit overwhelming when we look at the work on the hard issues we need to focus on and the key issues that sit in front of our daily work today. We had to relook at some of our long-term planning and accelerate the execution to meet today’s demands. We knew as a leadership team that we needed to break it down into quarterly plans and focus on the essentials.

I told our team, we have to think differently about how we put the building blocks together when we have a limited amount of blocks to work with. Doing this helped provide focus and reduced anxiety in our system.

Investing in areas of immediate need

Investments in technology were imperative.  We needed to ensure we could provide our counseling and services virtually if needed. We also took a close examination of our personnel policies to ensure staff members had the flexibility to meet their own personal needs as well as the needs of our clients. And in 2019, we began the journey to address societal issues when it comes to race and inequality, a journey that sped up as we watched racial injustice continue to play out across our nation. This included the hiring of our first Chief Diversity Officer.

We have learned a lot this year. And as a leader, I have learned even more. Agility and flexibility are paramount in succeeding as an organization. Times like these are not for the timid. These are times that you must be bold and try innovative approaches to solve problems. If you fail, you pick yourself up, take notes of the changes needed and continue to move forward.

Support to move us forward

As we close out 2020 and look forward into the new year, our priorities remain focused. We continue to focus on the communities we serve and expand and improve on our programs to best meet the needs of families and children. Much of this focus will be in behavioral health services, a growing concern across communities in today’s unsettling environment. And in January, we will be opening our first therapeutic foster care home in Belleville, IL (read more about that here).

Another key area of focus will be in supporting our tremendously caring staff as they provide these valuable services. We take great pride in our strong culture that is centered around our mission and faith. We are united in purpose and know we are only as good as the people who are passionate about what they do each and every day.

Beyond our outstanding staff and leadership team, the work ahead cannot be done without the tremendous support of our donors. This past year, they have supported us like never before, they know that their grants and donations go directly to those who need it most, our communities. They have understood the urgency as the needs in our communities have grown, and they have faith that we use the funds as they are intended. For us to continue, it will take this kind of support moving forward that will allow us to further make a difference and impact in our communities in the future.

This year has been a time for us to embrace change, not hide from it. We know we are needed now more than ever. And we are not going to stop the support we can provide.

We ask that you stand with us. Together, we can make real positive change in our communities and achieve our mission to enable all people.


Chris L. Cox
President and CEO
Hoyleton Youth and Family Services

If you are interested in helping further Hoyleton’s mission, please visit: https://hoyleton.org/ways-to-donate/

Hoyleton | Philanthropy and Development

Hoyleton's Philanthropy and Development

I was asked to write a blog post about Philanthropy as Director of Philanthropy here at Hoyleton Youth and Family Services. A blog? How do I put philanthropic efforts in a blog? For over 25 years I have been trained, mentored, and guided that philanthropy is all about relationships, communication, and the purpose of the organization. That being said, grab a cup of coffee and let me share what motivates a donor – remember that if I call you for a visit, it's just to learn more about you, and what makes you feel excited about your favorite charity – which I hope is Hoyleton. 

First, donors love mission-based organizations. They need to believe in the cause and if the organization proves they are deserving of trust and dedication the donor continues to support them. Dependability and consistency are important – we have to be true to our word as organizations.

Making a difference - a lot of donors want to feel like their donation has a direct impact in improvements within the organization. At  Hoyleton we do our best to share our children's experiences and success stories in treatment. HIPPA rules often make it difficult but we want our donors to embrace our youth's stories and display how you make a difference! Joy and happiness that is produced from generosity has shown to activate dopamine. Dopamine is produced in the brain and allows feelings of enjoyment and pleasure.  Sharing makes you feel good and can make you feel better than you do after exercising. 

Family traditions, where the act of giving is passed down from generation to generation affects the decisions in the honoring of a donor that has supported an organization during their life. The behaviors taught at a young age of showing kindness and generosity stay with us into adulthood. This act of educating your family on organizations you cherish and support, is the legacy that you are passing on through the simple act of educating your family on your desire to support missions and organizations you believe have an impact on the greater good in society.      

Donating is an emotional act. Connecting you to the personal stories allows us to put a human connection to what we do here at Hoyleton – it’s essential that as a philanthropic director, I connect you with the personal feelings that you have to our services we deliver at Hoyleton, whether they are new, current, or services from our past, you have connected to us and our mission. 

Everyone believes in goodwill, caring for others and supporting charities. Personal beliefs based on your religious values also gives you a strong connection to an organization. At Hoyleton and our founding under the United Church of Christ, allows us to connect to churches and the UCC across the country. In the 2017, the report from Giving USA discovered that giving to a Religion happens in 62 percent of American households. They give to a charity of some kind, whether it is religious or secular. 

A new kind of donor partnership has evolved from the influence of social media, technology, and online donations. Peer to peer giving has increased and generates enthusiasm among like-minded individuals and also about Hoyleton. Seeing a goal being reached as a social community on Facebook or any other platform, allows inclusion, excitement, and joy! 

And lastly, people also give to receive tax benefits. While the tax benefit is not as common as it used to be, many people continue to give because they have formed a relationship with their charity. 

Having said all this, people give for many reasons. We know that the number one way of creating a relationship with a donor is through connections and conversations. A cup of coffee can open up a range of opportunities for the donor and Hoyleton. The main goal, I have is to make sure you, our donor, understand you are appreciated, valued, treasured, and needed. I looking forward to seeing how our relationship can translate to a donation that will help Hoyleton and, more importantly, how it can match with your desire to make a difference!

-Alice Drobisch
Director of Development and Philanthropy

Hoyleton | Hiring Military Spouses and Veterans

Hiring Military Spouses and Veterans

The pandemic has proven that Hoyleton hires heroes. However, there are a group of heroes who work for Hoyleton that often go unnoticed. We are speaking of armed forces veterans and their spouses. Hoyleton has not intentionally set out to hire or recruit "Mil-Spouses" as Camille Howard, Hoyleton's Human Resources specialist puts it, "It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with these individuals”, and we have had the pleasure to hire several.

This week we want to introduce you to Camille and her experiences at Hoyleton and as a military spouse herself. Camille can identify which specific characteristics are prevalent in a candidate that wishes to work at Hoyleton. And she is a great person to help everyone involved connect their personal passions and services to the mission and service at Hoyleton.

What does Hoyleton look for when hiring an individual? 

Based on a survey by Hoyleton Youth and Family Services conducted in 2019, we found future applicants and current employees value Hoyleton's flexibility. The military, as with Hoyleton, is family-oriented. Being family-focused makes a great fit for family matters and the time it takes to handle last minute events. Camille, herself, has first-hand experience with flexibility from Hoyleton. She describes Hoyleton's policy as "one of the best" from the companies she'd previously worked with. Hoyleton's policy allows for ample time and understanding when a spouse is about to be deployed. Hoyleton also allows for an equal amount of time after they return to bond with family members by a soldier and reacclimating to family life and "normalization" 

How does hiring a military spouse or vet benefit the organization? 

"You mean besides hiring SUPERHEROES?" Camille gleefully shouts. Being family-focused is probably one of the best benefits because military families are typically very good about making sure the "home-front" is well taken care of. With military-based families having to be prepared at a moment's notice, organization is a great skill that benefits Hoyleton as well. These individuals tend to be mission-focused, have fewer outside work issues to contend with, and adapt to change easily. As a military family that moves frequently, being in different communities holds an additional benefit. Hoyleton represents a diverse group of clients across a large portion of the state. Living in different communities allows a staff member with military experience to relate to a more culturally diverse group of people, especially foster children, who may also move frequently. 

How do you see the competencies and diverse background supporting Hoyleton’s mission? 

Being the spouse of a service-person, dedication is a primary trait that crosses over to Hoyleton's mission. Dedication plays a significant role because of the nature of Hoyleton's work. We find these particular employees already possess a desire to make the country a better, safer place, which falls directly in line with Hoyleton's mission. Military spouses also seem to hold a high sense of urgency and a high standard that has already been put in place by military policies. 

Being a service-person 's spouse, dedication is a primary trait that passes to the mission of Hoyleton. Dedication plays an important part due to the essence of Hoyleton 's work. We consider that these individual workers already have a willingness to make the world a healthier , safer place which is directly in line with the mission of Hoyleton. Military partners often tend to possess a high sense of urgency and a high expectation already set by military policies.

How does Hoyleton reconcile "career gaps”? 

Camille believes that every company will profit from such "gaps." "New eyes" she claims will add new ideas to the organization. When recruiting we look at volunteer experience and work in the community to decide if an applicant has appropriate skills needed for the open positions within the Hoyleton. Camille underlines the value of volunteer service on resumes when discussing if community service translates. Skills learned through group or charitable service, such as accounting, correspondence, and organization, translate well into place in the non-profit or even the private sector.

How does Hoyleton recruit military veterans or their spouses? 

In the past, Hoyleton worked with the Airman Readiness group at Scott Air Force base to post opportunities. Hoyleton registers for job fairs on the base and utilizes free resources such as Facebook to recruit people of all backgrounds. When asked about the challenges of hiring military Family, Camille says there is little distinction between a "traditional" employee and an employee with military experience. She does state that those with military experience tend to stay with the organization longer. "Mil-spouses" have already done quite a bit of research, and when they decide on a place of employment, they come "hungry" and ready to work, which adds to their dedication and commitment. 

In conclusion, Camille shared her perspective of interacting directly with transitioning service members and soldiers' families, by emphasizing their dedication. "There's less chance that an employee will 'ghost' or leave without a notice." It's also her experience that individuals living a military lifestyle are less apt for job hopping and are extremely dependable. She continued, "It goes back to their spouses service to our country, their spouse has committed to defending the United States, and the family mindset is that you don't let anything minor prevent you from serving." There is a mental and emotional commitment set in the family unit.

Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is an equal opportunity employer and values the dedication of all its employees and appreciates the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

Hoyleton Youth and Family Services is an equal opportunity employer and values the dedication of all its employees and appreciates the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. If you or a family member are in transition between orders or looking at a permanent change of station and are looking for an exemplary, mission-driven organization to continue your career, we encourage you to follow us on social media or reach out to us through our website at www.hoyleton.org/careers.

 #Hoyleton #HoyletonCAREs #HoyletonHires

Hoyleton | Voices from the Frontlines

Voices from the Frontlines—Wren Fallon 

 Twenty-twenty has brought with it some unexpected moments, but also a time for reflection and a chance for me to support my community in new ways. I came to Hoyleton in February as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist. However, by mid-March, COVID-19 had changed the landscape as churches, schools, and community centers began to close to lessen the spread of the virus. I needed a new pathway for supporting my community. My director, Kristen Shinn, had heard individuals were needed to help work at Hoyleton’s TLP (Transitional Living Program). I readily jumped at the opportunity to get out of the house and to help others. 

 I am a people person by nature, but this was a new experience for me. The TLP is the residence of high functioning young men with behavioral challenges who have experienced trauma. To write there was a steep learning curve is an understatement. The residents at the TLP have trust issues, and rightly so. I was a new person in their space during a time when individuals were scared and uncertain of what to expect. But little-by-little, they engaged with me, and we began to lay the foundation for trust in our relationship. This was important because the clients had started acting out due to being in extended confinement. I needed the residents to trust me to help them navigate their emotions and find positive ways to channel their feelings. Coping skills are essential in the middle of a crisis, but a learned response. I spent time engaging with the residents and letting them know their feelings were valid, and they were not alone. Individuals within the community were feeling the same sense of uncertainty and vulnerability. It was eye-opening for the young men to learn they were not alone in feeling overwhelmed by their circumstances.  

COVID-19 pushed each of us to think outside the box when it came to our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. I reminded the residents of the power over the situation; they just had to think outside the box. Individuals acquire confidence from their appearance, and the same could be said for these young men. With barbershops closed, they were frustrated and beginning to feel unkempt. I let them know I had some experience in cutting hair and was willing to offer my services. Quite a few young men took me up on my offer. Just that simple act raised their confidence level and provided a brighter outlook on the situation. We began to apply the same logic to other areas of their lives. With physical fitness being limited, the residents made better dietary choices to limit unwanted weight gain. Or when each of them needed a change in scenery, we headed outdoors for a walk while practicing social distancing and wearing the appropriate PPE. And when those measures failed, it was time for introspection and a chance for them to understand why they were acting out. I would ask them three questions: Why are you angry? How can we fix this? And what can you do better next time? Each of these questions is grounded in understanding yourself, your surroundings, and what is in your control. I wanted each young man to know they are not powerless. 

I enjoyed stepping outside my normal work duties. However, I am more cognizant of the emotional toll working this closely with clients can have on an individual. In our field, we speak openly and frequently about taking time for one’s emotional health. Working at the TLP taught me it is essential to carve out a space to process what I see and experience. Individuals in social services learn about compassion fatigue because we are a vessel for others’ emotional stress and trauma. I would not change this experience or my time with the residents at Hoyleton’s TLP. This is who I am, a person willing to walk beside another amid trauma so they can find a path to well-being.  

 We thank Wren Fallon for sharing his story. For more stories from Hoyleton’s frontlines, visit our blog at www.Hoyleton.org, or check out our Frontline Fridays on Facebook. Interested in being an agent of hope and renewal in your community? Call Meghan Murphy, Volunteer Coordinator, at 618.688.7092. Together, we can positively impact our communities. 

#HoyletonResidentialCare #Hoyleton #HoyletonCares #WeAreAllInThisTogether #BuildingCommunity #HoyletonTLP 

Hoyleton | Making Safety a Top Priority

Making Safety A Top Priority

June is National Safety Month and time to reevaluate the safety measures in place at home, work, or in our communities. At Hoyleton, we make safety a top priority for our residents, staff members, and volunteers. This week I had a chance to speak with Hoyleton’s Building and Grounds Manager, Steve Bradley, regarding how the maintenance department is protecting the Hoyleton family during the COVID-19 phase-in process and into the future.

One of the essential steps in protecting the Hoyleton family is building and reinforcing a culture of safety. This means stepping back and taking a look at the workplace and the employees through the lens of safety first. “A culture of safety is built upon having guidelines in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all. Then we [maintenance staff] models safety protocol for our residents and colleagues,” stated Steve. During orientation, new employees learn best practices in creating a caring, safe, and accepting environment where residents and employees can thrive, and workplace safety is an integral part of that training. 

The maintenance department knows it is necessary to look for ways to mitigate risk while being mindful of the youth in our care. Hoyleton is comprised of two main campuses, Fairview Heights and Hoyleton, along with three other residential homes in Belleville and Salem, Illinois. Hoyleton serves a diverse group of youth, and our residential homes must be well-maintained and free from hazardous materials. Employees can alert the maintenance staff to any issues by utilizing our electronic Maintenance Requests, which are answered and serviced the same day.  As Steve reiterated, “It is our job to keep our clients safe. When making repairs from light fixtures and wall sockets to fixing plumbing or door latches, we strive to keep our work area neat and safe for all involved. If extra supplies are needed to finish a job, we pick up our tools, acquire what we need to finish the job, and come back to repair the issue.” 

As Hoyleton looks to the future and beyond COVID-19, improving our safety standards is in the forefront of Steve’s plans for the maintenance department. During COVID-19 and in the phase-in process, Steve’s team maintains a high level of safety protocols to reduce the chances of transmission as workers move from one residential facility to another to complete maintenance tasks. “We take our temperature, wear PPE before entering and dispose of used PPE before leaving each location. We are letting the residents know their well-being is important to us. Good habits are the basis for keeping everyone safe.”  

While safety may seem like a natural tendency, the reality is accidents can happen from simple mistakes. Hoyleton’s maintenance staff continues to ensure the safety of our residents and staff by alleviating potential hazards and working to fix and correct issues that arise. If you would like to support the maintenance department’s efforts, you can send them a note of thanks, encouragement, and gift cards to assist their daily work and ensure that everyone entering a Hoyleton location is safe.