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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Erie Homes for Children and Adults Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Mental Health, Residential Mental Health Treatment

Mission: The mission of EHCA is to assist people with disabilities to live rich and fulfilling lives

Results: The children and adults supported by EHCA have diagnosed intellectual disabilities, and many have additional physical and medical challenges. These conditions are referred to as developmental disabilities, defined as intellectual or physical impairments that are manifested before the age of 22. Many of the individuals supported by EHCA have seizure disorders and are non-ambulatory and/or nonverbal. The intellectual and physical disabilities affecting these individuals result from a variety of factors and conditions, including the following: •Conditions due to premature birth or complications from delivery, such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy involves the loss or impairment of motor function caused by brain injury or abnormal brain development. •Conditions caused by genetic transmission, such as Down syndrome. Down syndrome is caused by a chromosome abnormality and is associated with the growth delays, a particular set of facial characteristics, and intellectual disability. •Congenital disorders, such as Noonan syndrome. Noonan syndrome can involve heart defects, distinct bodily and facial features, and intellectual disabilities. •Traumatic brain injury, which occurs when an external force causes brain dysfunction. •Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is believed to affect one out of every 88 children in the U.S. Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders producing symptoms of social impairment, communication difficulties, or repetitive/stereotyped behaviors. In addition, EHCA serves individuals with rare and debilitating conditions such as the following: •Aicardi Syndrome is a genetic disorder causing a partial or complete absence of the part of the brain that allows the right side to communicate with the left. •Fibrodysplasia Ossifcans Progressive (FOP) is an inherited disorder in which muscle and connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments are gradually replaced by bone (ossified). •Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (LNS) is a rare gene mutation predominately affecting boys, giving them irresistible urges to hurt themselves. Most individuals with LNS have lifelong mental and physical problems. The families of individuals with disabilities face important and difficult decisions. Can the parents adequately care for their child at home? What happens when their child reaches the age of 22 and no longer qualifies for school district services? Who will care for their adult child while they work or after they’re gone? Some individuals have such complex medical needs in addition to their disabilities that family members simply don’t have the training or physical capability to care for them at home. EHCA’s diverse programming and flexibility of services are intended to address these concerns. From residential facilities to adult day programs to in-home support and respite care, EHCA tailors its services to meet the needs of every individual and every family it serves. For example, Chris lives at home but participates in EHCA’s MOVE program on weekdays. This gives him the opportunity to make friends, attend special events, and pursue his interests while still living at home. Chris volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank and participates in MOVE’s dance program. Adam, on the other hand, has been in EHCA’s residential program for over 25 years. The level of care he requires made it too difficult for him to remain at home. Adam loves making music on his keyboard and swimming in EHCA’s indoor swimming pool. Like Chris, he volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank and participates in MOVE’s creative arts and dance opportunities. His mom, Paula, is an active EHCA volunteer. We have a resident who was expected only to live to his 20's, who is now nearly 40 years old. We also have a resident with severe and significant disabilities who has lived at EHCA for more than 40 years. Our Project First Step program has a 95% success rate of helping pregnant women with extreme social concerns and physical and intellectual disabilities have healthy, full-term babies. Individuals in our MOVE program volunteer in the community and give back over 6,000 hours of community service annually. EHCA has served some of the most vulnerable people in our community and region for over 100 years. Our success comes from treating every person as an individual and knowing that each person with a disability should have the opportunity to make choices, to contribute to his or her own daily lifestyle, to obtain the best education/training possible, and to enjoye a home-like atmosphere with quality caregivers.

Target demographics: individuals with all levels of disability

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 500 individuals and families

Geographic areas served: Erie, Pennsylvania

Programs: residential group homes and a variety of community services and supports.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2 Paula63

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am the parent of a resident at Erie Homes for Children and Adults. This agency is not just a place to live and be cared for but it is an extension of our family. Veryone at this agency treats my son and all the others with respect, dignity, and love. I can rest peacefully at night knowing my son is well cared for by a group of dedicated staff members. They bring me peace of mind on a daily basis.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

There is truly something special going on at Erie Homes for Children and Adults and it has been going on for a very long time! EHCA's employees offer a level of compassionate care to their residents that is truly second to none. For the employees of EHCA, it is personal. You can see it everyday in the most subtle interactions. There is something that has been instilled and passed on since the agency's founding in 1912.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I have been in this field for a long time and I find it very rewarding. Ibelieve until you have worked with persons with disabilities you haven't really worked. I have also been employed with with many other places and hands down EHCA is the BEST place I have ever worked.I have been an employee of EHCA for 19yrs and the agency has been very good to me. I can honestly say that they treat me like a queen. It is abs
olutely an honor to work here and to serve not only our clients but the staff too.

OPTIONS STAFF

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a nurse here for only a short time, but I can tell you the residents that I care for in this building are the sweetest happiest kiddos that recieve the best care possible. Our nurses are up on every single resident. The houses are so clean and every one always has the freshest blankets and clothes ever!!!. The rooms are like my childrens rooms. The residents are able to live like "normal" every day children and adults despite their setbacks or condition. I have been in nursing homes and other state run facilities and have seen residents with bed sore, in soiled depends and bells ringing forever and intentional and unintentionable neglect. But not here. My perspective is this is one of the most well cared for facilities that I have ever seen or been in, and it is a pleasure to work for them

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a nurse here for over 3 years. I can honestly say I love coming to work everyday to work with the residents, They put a smile on my face and I enjoy being around all of them. They receive the best of care I've ever seen . I would definently reccomend EHCA to being the best of all.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The residents here recieve excellent care and have a great quality of life! Highly recommended! The employees truly care and nothing is impossible to achieve.

1 Susan330

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My daughter has been a resident of EHCA for the last 27 years. She gets wonderful care, is loved and respected by her caregivers, and loves them all back. To say they have far exceeded my best expectations would be an understatement. When I placed her there I wasn't sure what to expect but I have never regretted that decision. She needs medical care and she gets the best care there. If and when she has to go to the hospital, my goal is to get her out of the hospital and back to EHCA as quickly as possible because they know her and take better care of her there. It is a wonderful facility and I am happy to be able to have my child cared for by them.

As a person with a Special Education degree (MA) I know what it takes to care for these type of children and adults. I taught children with similar disabilities for 30 years. So happy we have such an outstanding facility close to home.

1 Edie2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Adam, has been with EHCA since January of 2009! I moved him up here to Erie then and I eventually was able to move up here from New Castle in June of 2009. I would drive up here to check on him on the weekends and I would call everyday (sometimes quit a few times a day)! The first weekend I came up here to see him he was standing by the staff and pointing to his head (he does that when he's troubled about something or doesn't like something) and moaning and wouldn't stop. I, of course, got in panic mode and was wondering what the heck happened. He's non-verbal and he couldn't tell me so I watched his behavior and he was really troubled. I told him I would take him to dinner and he didn't want to go with me. He kept pointing to the window and the door. I didn't know what was wrong! Again I asked him if he wanted to go with me to dinner and he did say "yea" but wouldn't come with me but he grabbed the staffs arm. I said "do you want Mike to come with us?" He said "yea" again and began to calm down! I finally figured out.......the little stinker thought I came to get him and take him home with me and he was upset! Once he realized I wasn't going to take him back to New Castle and as long as the staff came with us he was fine! (Mike was his security blanket in his eyes, LOL!) I immediately realized that we found his home and I have to say.........that little stinker doesn't even want to visit me for very long in my home and when I ask him if he's ready to go home (his house) he answers "yeaaaaaa"!! I couldn't or even wouldn't think of moving him to another agency or another place. We are here to stay and EHCA is where my son belongs! The care he receives is unbelievable but what's most important is that he is happy and when he's happy, I'm happy!!! We are a part of the EHCA family and we love them very much! When I came to Erie to look at the different agencies for my son Erie Homes for Children and Adults, I must say, where the only ones who truly treated my son, Adam, like an individual and not a number. Honestly, that is how I felt! They still treat him like a member of their family! I trust them with my son and trust me, that is really something! BTW, One of their staff even watches my dog for me when I have to go away!

Sincerely,
Edie Testa

1 Sarah186

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

I work for EHCA. My Coworkers are so willing to go up and beyond for the people we serve. I love going to work every day not only to help people but because I am proud of the people I work with. It is not just a job it's family.

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

Andrew has been with EHCA for several years now.....the staff is always caring and they always make sure he enjoys what he is doing....and they always have such fun things for him to do....he constantly talks about his favorite staff every evening, every weekend, and even when we go on vacation.....they are part of his every day, and he loves them a lot

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our son, Brian, has been a member of the EHCA Homes FAMILY for 27 years. EHCA has been a blessing for our family. All those who care for our Brian have been warm, understanding, and professional. Everyone has met his needs and more, to the point we think he is spoiled!! And that's a good thing.
EHCA is our family too!

Catherine and Michael Vermillion

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When my daughter leaves the house to go to the Options program, I feel she is int he best hands possible. I trust the staff and the supervisors to make the best decisions for her in my absence. She is accepted in her group just as she is...something every parent with a special needs child longs for. She has opportunities in the community and for recreation that I cannot provide due to having to work. In addition, she has a peer group of others who are differently abled in their own way. The staff and supervisors consult with me on situations and ask how I would like it handled, and we can talk with no judging or arguing. After all, she was my child for many years before I trusted them to care for her, and I am still mom. I appreciate how I don't have to battle them on decision making for her. ( This has been the case in the past.)I believe they really do care and that makes me happy. After all...who wouldn't want their child to be loved by as many people as possible?