Hands of Heartland, which serves adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, has opened an office in Grand Island.
The Grand Island Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at the agency’s facility in Bosselman Plaza, 3012 S. Locust.
Brad Samson, president of Hands of Heartland, said it was “really important for us to offer our services to more Nebraskans.”
“It has been a goal of ours for a while and Grand Island was an obvious choice,” he said. “We felt that we could not only serve the people of Grand Island, but the surrounding communities.”
Samson said Hands of Heartland’s mission since it opened in 1998 has been to “provide communities across Nebraska with viable managed care solutions that humanize the process of providing support and provide clear paths for community integration at all levels for individuals with I/DD.”
According to Hands of Heartland, it serves people who have had some form of intellectual or developmental disability from birth or shortly after birth. “These conditions are chronic and generally manifest before a person reaches their 20s,” according to the organization. “What makes these conditions challenging for people born with them is that it limits them in a multitude of ways that people without such conditions take for granted.”
Samson said that in order to accomplish this, Hands of Heartland has built out a number of programs across its facilities that help to enable people with disabilities to experience life, employment and independence, as well as provide benefit to the families of individuals with I/DD and the communities where they live.
He said the organization started off in Bellevue in 1998 and has offices in West Point, Lincoln and now in Grand Island and Fremont.
Samson said one of the things that Hands of Heartland focuses on is making its facilities able to support both creativity and individual choice.
“It is really important for us that guardians, as well as the people we support, have a say in what their services are,” he said. “We also want to make this a great opportunity for our employees, too. We know that people who love their jobs will provide the best service.”
In the services that Hands of Heartland offers, Samson said, they are using technology “like we have never before with the locations we have.”
“We are going to be creating art and we will be building sort of a store outlet,” he said.
Eventually, Samson said, they want to involve the Grand Island community in creating art projects with the people that they support.
“We really want community integration for the people that we support, but we also want the community to feel comfortable coming into our facility and working and creating side-by-side” he said.
Samson said they employ artists “who come up with some pretty cool projects.”
Hands of Heartland also offers employment services for their clients, along with group homes. They also provide day service for their clients.
“We want to be anything that the person is needing and the family wants,” he said.
They also support independent living for their clients and teaching them how to be self-sufficient.
“We just see that the more choice people have the more better their lives are,” Samson said. “They also feel they have more control over their lives. People really realize their potential when they have more control over things.”
Hands of Heartland serves people of all age groups.
Samson said Hands of Heartland believes in empowering and enriching the lives of our people through skill enhancement, community integration, advocacy, and the support needed to pursue their own dreams.
He said their philosophy has become the agency’s top priority: ensuring that our services are driven by and created for the person.
“We are equipped to support people with varying levels of mental, physical, and behavioral needs,” Samson said. “Our staff is compassionate and highly-trained, and is ready to help lift our people to new heights in whichever ways they need.”
He said that at Hands of Heartland, they operate on the idea that “our people can do just about anything they put their minds to, and that they deserve a safe, supportive, and creative community in which to explore and achieve their aspirations.”
“We want to be a valuable member of the Grand Island area,” Samson said. “We want people to see that we are giving back to the communities. We really want to become ingrained with Grand Island and truly a part of the community.”