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BALANCE 4 KIDS

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Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

BALANCE4kids has been serving children with special needs since 1999. Their annual fundraisers provide an opportunity for schools to be awarded otherwise unavailable supplies to create a more rewarding environment for their students. BALANCE4Kids' has grown in order to fill the gaps... The after school program; Kid Quest Center provides an uplifting and invaluable experience for the participants. Staff members and volunteers are constantly striving to make life better for the participants and do so with a warm and loving heart. BALANCE4kids truly empowers their participants and raises the community understanding for those with special needs.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked for Balance for many years now and have had nothing but a positive experience. It's been incredible working for such an amazing lady who cares for others so deeply. The only thing I think that is unfair for employees is the yearly time card test. I don't see how it is necessary for people who have never messed up on their time card.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked for Balance4kids in numerous roles, firstly as a 1:1 classroom aide and respite caregiver and then as a trainer and as the Program Director. I throughly enjoyed the four years that I worked at Balance4kids. I learned a huge amount through the roles that I held and also with the additional training that was provided (at no cost to me). I felt supported, considered, respected and challenged in all the positions which I held. I found decisions and actions taken by The Balance4kids board to be completely focused on the needs of the students that they served. I found my boss Vicky to be imaginative, forward thinking, open and extremely client focused. I was proud to work for such an organization and they were highly respected within the other organizations that they worked for. A high standard of work is expected and opportunities for professional growth are available.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working as a support person/behavior tech/educational aid for 10 years, and for the past 3 I have been with Balance4kids. In the years I have been there, I have been acknowledged for the work I do, been provided opportunities to learn and grow in my field with intimate fireside chats as well as have numerous opportunities to get support for the students I work with. Each job site I work at has detailed sub notes which allow me to do the best job that I can for that student as well as supportive staff that is willing to answer questions, give breaks, and fill me in as to the schools day to day details. Balance also gives respite to families in need with special needs children at home as well as provide an after school program called Kids Quest, where special needs children are given the opportunity for play in a supported environment. Balancekids is amazing!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with Balance4kids since July 2016 and I am in love. This is the first job I've had where I look forward to coming to work everyday. Vicky is a great boss, I have always felt my needs were heard and she has stuck up for me when I was in a tough spot. All the aids are amazing and I highly recommend Rhiannon-profit for work as well as services for your children.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked for Balance 4 Kids in multiple roles. It started me on my current career and gave me a depth of experience that I draw on every day.

If you remember that the mission statement is focused on meeting the needs of students with special needs, and work earnestly toward that goal, there are many opportunities to build experience for careers in the field of education and special education by working for Balance 4 Kids. A great many former staff members have gone on to be teachers, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, counselors and psychologists. Balance also pays based on experience, and keeps their rates competitive. I always lived comfortably when working with Balance, though sometimes I had a side job, and I had to be a little creative during the summer months when school hours dry up.

Due to the constraints of school budgets and the school year, working for Balance 4 Kids is not always as clear cut as working in retail or in an office setting. There's a certain element of having to "get" what Balance is all about in order to enjoy and succeed in the positions it fills. Flexibility about job location and hours are a must, not due to a company trying to punish employees or minimize costs, but due to the nature of the service provided. School hours are relatively short and students with special needs have fluctuating and evolving needs, hence the changes in assignment and the amount of hours available to work. The most successful, happiest and longest term employees at Balance were a collection of very patient, caring people who were passionate about supporting students with special needs. The people that had problems during their tenure at Balance tended to be focused only on what they were getting out of the job monetarily or did not understand the complex level of discretion and decorum that is needed to be successful working directly with the most vulnerable population of students.

These successful, happy, long term employees were also clear with their needs, preferences and suggestions and voiced them appropriately to the administration. The Balance administration is always trying to better itself by serving the students and employees better. They are reactive to meaningful communication and proactive in their problem solving. They are the intermediaries between a lot of different stake holders (parents, students, employees, school districts, other organizations).

The board members and administrators (of which there are few, in order to keep operating costs low) are continually striving to make things better for the staff. I worked in the administrative office when Balance started offering health insurance to staff members. There were constraints, and it was not something that every staff member took advantage of, but this was years before the ACA, and Balance was not required to offer any sort of benefits. We had employee forums where employees got to ask questions directly of the insurance agent. They learned side by side with us in the agent's office. It was a familial atmosphere. Balance was reaching forward and trying to do right by their employees.

Balance offered trainings that they sponsored or cosponsored multiple times each school year. Additionally, they publicized other trainings being hosted at the COE and other education related institutions. It was all voluntary, but almost always paid time, and attendance of trainings was calculated into discussions of pay raises and assignment changes.

To be frank, I started at Balance straight out of college. I had little experience in any one field. I had a really tough first assignment where a student was physical and the family dismissive. I tried my best to bear with it, but eventually I went to the office and asked for a different assignment. My next assignment was a positive, educational and albeit, tiring and demanding one. But I could support myself on the pay (with another smaller side job) and it helped form my future career as a teacher. Throughout my time at Balance, I found that if I was seriously engaged in my job duties and communicated my thoughts and needs to the office, I was taken care of, earned raises, increased my knowledge and felt satisfied.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Great company To work for -- competitive pay based on your EXPERIENCE (sorry to those complaining, I'm stoked with my hourly wage), attentive and caring staff!

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

B4K does not value their employees. Low pay, high cost "benefits", and historically absolutely no paid time off, ever. They only recently began to offer sick days, when the govt mandated it. Good luck getting a raise. Never a cost-of-living increase. One must grovel for a modest increase, and most likely it will be denied. They contract with schools, making $ on each aide they place. One MUST wonder what their cut is. If costs for aides to the schools goes up they certainly don't pass it down to their employees (despite perfect annual reviews... I hear this time and time again. The employee evaluations are annual, but only to give the school districts the false perception that employees are being rewarded for their excellent work, when actually they mean anything at all; years of perfect reviews may pile up/collect dust- that fine employee is not compensated for it. Do NOT work for this company, and if your school district uses them encourage them to check to books once in awhile, inquire as to if "their" aides are being compensated fairly. Balance: what DO you make on each aide? I challenge you to answer in percentages.

Comments ( 1 )

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Balance4kids 04/28/2017

Although we don't agree with this review, we are appreciative of feedback, whether negative or positive and what this review has made us realize is that employees really don't have a vehicle for giving feedback to the company. Therefore, we plan to send the link to this site to all of our staff, to invite them to submit their own reviews. It is only through receiving commentary, that we can make improvements. We would like to comment that we agree that our highest pay rates have been frozen for some seven years, and similarly, costs to schools have been maintained at a single rate. The last time we passed along increases to the schools was to enable the company to offer health and dental benefits to the employees. We do value our staff, and we are making inroads to offer higher pay in the coming school year. We try to get employees to a rate commensurate to a living wage in Santa Cruz county.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

I've worked alongside many Balance4Kids aids, and most of them are incompetent. If I were a parent, I would think twice about having my child get services with this company. There also, from what I understand, is no oversight from BCBAs or even associate-level behavior analysts. This is a company full of "instructional" aids who know absolutely nothing about behavioral support. Go elsewhere!!!

Comments ( 1 )

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Balance4kids 07/21/2016

We are sorry to hear that you have this opinion of Balance4kids. We do indeed work with BCBA's, however as I am sure you know, most school districts have their own BCBA's and prefer to provide their own oversight. We do train our own staff and school staff in therapeutic crisis intervention, and we offer many work shops. We like to think that we set a high bar and that we find staff who have experience that fulfills the needs of each student. Please call us at 831 464 8669 if you have seen any Balance staff in particular conducting themselves inappropriately.