Our clients and staff offered many suggestions for the name of of our new bed and breakfast at 4505 HH Road in Waterloo, but the winning moniker is one that just “felt right” to all who heard it.
Our bed and breakfast, which will officially open to guests on yesterday, July 1, will be called The SeeMore Inn!
The name, which was suggested by HSS staff member Geri Kutz, comes from a Robert M. Hensel quote which reads: There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.
When we heard the meaning behind the name, we felt right away that it was perfect.
Not only does it speak to what we do as an agency, in truly seeing the greatest potential in everyone who comes through our doors, but in another sense, we want the Inn to encourage people to see more of our community – of Waterloo, Monroe County and southwestern Illinois.
While The SeeMore Inn was the winner, our clients also had some other great options to choose from, including Das Haus, in honor of the community’s German heritage; 1875 House, a nod to the year the home was built; and the We Dream Big Inn.
In case you missed the announcement, we’ve also named the new innkeeper/manager of The SeeMore Inn – our own Jessica Helm of Waterloo!
“This is more than just a job, for so many reasons,” said Trisha Hoagland, our human resources director at HSS. “With her background in hospitality, and her success in working directly with the clients here, we felt Jessica was meant for this role.”
Clients participated in the interviews of all the applicants, which were all internal.
“In speaking with the clients after the interviews, they all had very positive things to say about Jessica,” Hoagland said. “They said, ‘she treats us like everybody else.’ That is so important in a role in which we are focusing on people developing their independence and pursuing their potential.”
Helm, 29, previously worked at the Waterloo Country Club for 13 years, working her way up from a server to general manager. In July 2016, Helm started as a direct service provider for HSS at Waterloo Main Street Apartments, working hands-on with clients on their daily living skills.
“I fell into the job at HSS,” Helm said. “I had intentions to go to nursing school because I wanted to take care of people. But then I finished my CNA course, and I wanted to stay with HSS because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
In 2017, Helm moved up to the HSS workshop, where she helped clients train on job skills.
“I loved the workshop because I got to work with all the clients but I wanted to do more – to teach them more,” Helm said. “When the job opening happened for bed and breakfast manager/innkeeper, it was perfect. I get emotional about it, because it was so aligned.”
Clients will work a variety of jobs at the bed and breakfast, and eventually three clients with developmental disabilities will live in the five-bedroom home full-time. The clients, with help and round-the-clock supervision from Helm and other HSS staff, will work at and operate the The SeeMore Inn.
Each client will have his or her own bedroom and bathroom. The remaining two bedrooms will be offered as traditional bed and breakfast rooms – open to the general public and/or out-of-town guests and client family members visiting HSS.
Helm said all the HSS clients are already teeming with excitement over the prospect of working at The SeeMore Inn. Several have already helped with yardwork and cleanup projects on the property, and have accompanied Helm to pick up furniture and decor for the Inn.
“All the clients are so excited – you can feel it when you walk in,” Helm said. “I’m making sure that they’re involved in everything we’re doing. I’ve created job descriptions and applications for them to fill out to make it as much like a job as possible so when they’re ready to venture out beyond here they’ll have experience.”
The Inn, which the previous owners had for many years operated as the Waterloo Inn bed and breakfast, came on the real estate market in 2017. We closed on the property in February.
Though there is a similar bed and breakfast being operated by a nonprofit in Clarksville, Mo., this would be the first such effort of its kind in Illinois.
The entire project is part of our ongoing effort to pursue “person-centered” services, which focus on developing services and supports around the skills, interests, dreams and desires of each individual served, instead of the “one-size-fits-all” services of the past.