I am excited to share that the Board of Directors of H.E.A.R.T. has named me a permanent member of the Board, and also elected me to serve as the Chair of the Board of Directors of The H.E.A.R.T. Program! I couldn’t be more pleased about my new role and the opportunity to lead the vision and strategy of this organization for many years to come.
Twenty years ago, my husband and I had a dream of providing unique and innovative programs for adults with developmental disabilities like our son Bradley and we formed a non-profit organization. Since that day in May of 2002, I have served as its Executive Director. Over these two decades, I have worked tirelessly towards the dream of creating The H.E.A.R.T. Program, launching the program and its affiliated programs in 2006. Our dream then became a reality because of all of you: the donors, volunteers, supporters, members of the staff, members of the board, and community partners who have transformed our dream into a daily reality.
There are so many accomplishments over the last two decades that I could spend pages listing them. To name just a few of the ones I am most proud of personally are H.E.A.R.T.’s partnerships with Papa John’s Pizza, The Toyota Center, H.I.S.D., The University of Houston-Downtown, and the Houston Food Bank. I am especially proud that H.E.A.R.T. has become the site of the first CVS Career Resource Lab (CRL) in the entire State of Texas. These programs and partnerships have resulted in over a thousand people with intellectual and developmental disabilities earning paid work experience, internships and competitive and integrated employment in the greater Houston area. I am proud of what H.E.A.R.T. has become, and I’m looking forward to being part of an even brighter future for the organization in the years to come.
I believe now is the perfect time to hand the day-to-day operations and faithful execution on this dream to the next generation of leaders and a new Executive Director. As the Founder, I will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. And this year, I am also taking on the new role of Chair of the Board. Throughout this year, the board and staff have been working with me on this important transition, and I am very excited about what the future will hold.
The H.E.A.R.T. Program will always have a special place in my heart, and my family’s hearts, and of course I will always be involved. As long as I have a dollar to give, I will give it to The H.E.A.R.T. Program and ask everyone I know to do the same; there is no better way to invest in the futures of people with intellectual challenges who are far too often overlooked by our society. H.E.A.R.T. is a place that values these individuals and creates worth for them, their families, the companies that employ them, and for our entire community.
Thank you for helping H.E.A.R.T. on our journey thus far, and thank you in advance for your continued support as we work together to provide innovative education, job training and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in our community.