HSS Gets Rave Reviews from COA

June 16th, 2017
HSS Executive Director Robert Cole, Jeanne Borromeo-Otty, Ed Cote, and HSS board members Jan Crawford and Bob Polansky celebrate the completion of the COA site visit.

HSS Executive Director Robert Cole, Jeanne Borromeo-Otty, Ed Cote, and HSS board members Jan Crawford and Bob Polansky celebrate the completion of the COA site visit.

This week, Human Support Services completed the on-site review process for the Council of Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization.

Every four years, we go through the lengthy, multi-step process so that we can maintain our COA status.

Initially, our managers fill out and send in documentation indicating how our organization is performing in all areas, from finance and facilities management to governance and ethics.

COA also furnishes HSS with surveys that we send out to clients, staff, managers, partners, other agencies and community stakeholders. Individuals complete the surveys anonymously before returning them directly to COA for review.

COA representatives compile and review all the data from the surveys and our documentation before coming to HSS for a site visit.

The site visit, which this year took place June 12-13, is the opportunity for COA reps to verify that all practices, policies and procedures are operating as they should.

“We did very, very well,” said Anne King, HSS chief program officer. “They were very complimentary to all of us for every program.”

Now that the site visit is complete, COA staff will finalize their report. Soon we’ll receive our new certification for the next four years.

“Out of all the reviews I’ve been through this was the most positive,” said Susan Harbaugh, HSS chief financial officer.


New Van Makes Travel Easier on HSS Clients

May 30th, 2017

new van

Some of our clients now have a new ride, thanks to our recent purchase of a new 2017 Ford Transit van!

The van will allow Human Support Services to transport two wheelchair-bound individuals plus three additional riders and a driver.

This allows for fewer trips and great accessibility for our residential clients, said HSS Executive Director Robert Cole.

“We have found that our residents are requiring more assistance with mobility and standard mini-van vehicles did not have enough room to accommodate multiple wheelchairs plus walkers,” Cole said. “It is also hard for the residents to move to the rear seats in mini-vans.”

new van

The new van is taller, more spacious, and is specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, so it should be easier for clients to enter and exit. It also has a nice, flat floor and wheelchair lift so it should make traveling easier for both staff and residents, Cole said.

The van will be used daily to transport our Hecker residential clients on visits to the store and for medical appointments and entertainment.

As a private nonprofit, HSS relies on support from the community to provide the best service to our clients.

We hope you’ll continue to support our mission to provide affordable, local services aimed at helping individuals challenged by mental health concerns, developmental disabilities, or substance use build satisfying lives. Donate to HSS here.

new van

HSS Clients Working to Beautify City

May 19th, 2017


HSS is excited to announce that some of our clients will now be working with the City of Waterloo to help beautify the community!

Through a new partnership with the city, our clients will work to keep the streets of downtown clean and continue the mayor’s ongoing efforts of beautification.

“Our clients our thrilled with this new employment opportunity, and love being an integral part of our community’s success,” said HSS Chief Program Officer Anne King. “We appreciate this new partnership with the city, as well as their ongoing support of the work that we do with our clients every day.”

Residents may see HSS clients performing their new jobs some weekday mornings – just look for them in the bright yellow safety vests!

“Our clients are hard-working and resourceful,” King said. “Many of them perform volunteer tasks in our community and hold a variety of jobs. We hope this partnership will begin to highlight the many talents of the clients we serve, and will lead to other opportunities for employment with local businesses.”

HSS Clients Give Back & Get Job Skills in Return

May 12th, 2017
Rachel volunteers at the Mayfest

Rachel volunteers at the Mayfest

Our clients love it when they get the opportunity to give back to our community.

When those opportunities also happen to teach them job skills, it’s even more exciting.

For the last several years, clients from our residences have been volunteering behind the scenes at the Mayfest, Octoberfest and Downtown Concert Series in downtown Waterloo.

They empty trash cans, refill liners and move straw bales – performing the maintenance work to keep the Courthouse grounds tidy for the duration of the event.

While these tasks aren’t glamorous, they’re vital to the success of the events.

Even better, our clients learn valuable skills through this volunteer effort, including:

  • Listening to instructions
  • Reporting for work on time
  • Completing a task
  • Working as a team
  • Serving a community purpose

For some clients, these events have led to job opportunities elsewhere in the community.

Clients all say they enjoy volunteering at the festivals, and love to attend as patrons.

James, who volunteered at this year’s Mayfest, said he likes that he can listen to the music while he volunteers.

“I like to keep the street clean,” he said.

Thanks to the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and the Monroe County House of Neighborly Service for their support of this program.

Steven picks up strawbales after the first concert of the new Downtown Concert Series

Steven picks up strawbales after the first concert of the new Downtown Concert Series

Parent Counseling Services

April 25th, 2017

It doesn't have to be this way.we can help

It’s 2 a.m. and the sound of the baby crying startles you awake.

With a groan of despair, you roll over in bed and stare at the white bassinet beside you. Tiny fists punch the air and little legs kick frantically as your daughter wails in infant fury.

Her cries get louder but you can’t seem to move.

Why? Why won’t she sleep?

People keep saying that infants are supposed to sleep a lot, but not yours.  She wakes up crying four, five, six times a night. She barely sleeps during the day.

Your husband said he’d rather go to the bar than put up with “that kid” crying all night.

No big loss. He never helped much anyway. Now he mostly just passes out on the couch and stumbles off to work in the morning, muttering about how a good mom would be able to keep the kid quiet.

So it’s all on you. It’s always on you.

And right now, you’re so tired you can barely lift your head from the pillow. And she just won’t stop crying.

She’s had two bottles and a fresh diaper.

What else can she want?

Tears sting the back of your eyes as you lie there feeling worthless and frustrated. Maybe you’re just not cut out for motherhood.

Maybe your husband is right – if you were a good mom, your baby would sleep and wouldn’t cry so much.

The other moms, the ones you see at the doctor’s office and in the grocery store, they look like they know what they’re doing. Their babies aren’t always crying.

Caught between desperation, grief and anger, you yank the pillow from under your head and pull it over your face to drown out her cries.

You just need one minute of silence and maybe a few hours of sound sleep. You just need time to think!

Why won’t she stop crying! Doesn’t she know you’re doing your best?

You sit up in bed and stare at the bassinet, a wash of irrational anger coming over you. You don’t want to feel angry – she’s just a baby. Your baby.

But it’s like she’s doing this to you on purpose. The guilt and the anger war inside you as you clench the sheets in your fists.

Stop crying! Stop!

Please, please Lord make her stop crying. . .

In these moments of despair, there is hope.

Human Support Services, a private nonprofit based in Monroe County, can help parents and families before a crisis emerges.

Caring for a small child is difficult and stressful, even in the best of circumstances.

The sleepless nights, the sense of helplessness – it’s all a part of new parenthood most of us can relate to.

But when you factor in other stressors – mental health concerns, physical illness, financial burdens and strained adult relationships – a night such as this can be a terrifying breaking point.

An exhausted parent with no support system, crippled by extreme emotional duress, can make a decision that could endanger themselves or their child.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we believe education, intervention and support are crucial factors in helping prevent child abuse and neglect.

Human Support Services is here to help parents get the resources they need before they reach that breaking point.

We offer counseling for mothers battling postpartum depression, parents facing mental and behavioral health concerns, and families struggling to manage outside stress.

We also provide a variety of other services aimed at building stronger, healthier families.

Our staff teaches coping mechanisms, parenting skills, self-esteem building techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and other evidence-based therapeutic interventions to help parents address their concerns and find positive outcomes.

We’re here to show new parents they are not alone, and to provide them with the resources, tools and self-confidence to be the best parents they can be.

If you or someone you know could benefit from individual, family or child services, contact HSS at 618-939-4444.