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HCPS Guardianship Program Fights the Summer Heat
Published on July 9, 2018 by HCPS Content Manager in Newsletter
Two weeks ago, the Adult Services Division got a call from one of their wards. The ward was 89 years old and had called to tell us that her AC unit broke. Her son got a quote from a repair company, and the company told them the repair would cost $13,000. Once Adult Services heard this, they immediately looked for a better solution. Yaksha, one of our employees, asked somebody she knew to help out. An employee who works for Air Energy Company in Stafford, TX, was happy to come to our ward’s house and check her air conditioner. After his inspection, he discovered that all she needed to replace was the compressor. As a result, the price of the repair dropped to $2800. Even with the reduced price, our ward still couldn’t pay the money upfront. This is a problem that HCPS faces pretty often. Most repair men are unwilling to start working without a full payment. Thankfully, the Air Energy employee was willing to work with her, and they made a deal. They set up an agreement where the job would be paid through a monthly bill after a down payment was made. The money was going to be taken out of her savings, but then a miracle happened. Kara, another one of our Adult Services employees, posted about the situation on social media. Her friends/followers sympathized with the story, and she kept them updated throughout the process. Eventually, Kara’s aunt wrote a check for the full amount of the repair, lessening the burden on the ward immensely. Her AC broke on Saturday, and it was fixed on the following Wednesday. During the time in between when the AC broke and the repair, HCGP called her daily to make sure she was ok. HCPS always does its best to provide for citizens in our care. To help make situations like these easier, HCPS wants to create a running list of repair men that are willing to work for free or on payment plans. Situations like this happen every day, and most of our wards can’t afford to pay large sums of money for repairs. If you know any company that is willing to be a part of the list, or if you are willing to be added to the list yourself, contact Melva Parker at 713-363-2349 or
HCPS works through Harvey to serve clients, community
Published on August 31, 2017 by in Newsletter
Evelyn Emdin, HCPS Kinder Emergency Shelter program manager, and the 14 youth under her watch worked together to devise a plan for additional food items on Sunday. They had been sheltered-in-place throughout Hurricane Harvey and remained optimistic. “It was so exciting and amazing to know the strength of these children,” Emdin said Tuesday. Emdin was one of several HCPS staff members who remained at the Youth Services Center throughout the record-breaking Houston disaster, and many more staff who remained committed to the community and their clients from the first day. “Judge Ed Emmett has encouraged staff to volunteer this week, while our buildings are closed. But what’s amazing about our HCPS staff is they didn’t need that encouragement,” said Joel Levine, HCPS executive director. “They were already in the community, helping the public and each other.” Community Youth Services (CYS) staff have volunteered at major shelters, such as those at the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium, as well as those in their own communities. Kristen Ballard, a CYS program manager, said one of her staff members arranged the setup for a shelter. CYS is a crisis intervention program housed in the community, primarily within schools, to provide counseling and assistance to youth experiencing crises. “It’s normal that our staff would be among the first to volunteer,” Ballard said. “It’s very typical of who they are as people and the work that they do.” Emdin and many staff members did not pause their work throughout the storm. Staff with the Guardianship Program has worked with clients under the care of HCPS since Thursday to first ensure each had the necessary supplies and disaster plans, checked on each client throughout the storm and is now personally delivering items to clients. Guardianship serves as the court-appointed guardian to more than 1,100 elderly and disabled adults in Harris County. Meanwhile, Emdin, and staff ensured the needs of the youth were met throughout the event and kept youth in the shelter occupied with arts, crafts, movies and other activities throughout the weekend. An on-sight therapist, and staff from TRIAD Mental Health and Intake Diversion also assisted the shelter over the weekend and this week.  The Kinder Emergency Shelter is a temporary home-like facility for youth experiencing familial family crises. Bernadette Green, HCPS operator/receptionist, was among the overnight staff who could not leave the building Saturday night and remained in place until Tuesday. She helped answer calls from the community, directing them to resources and organizations who are accepting donations. As Green prepared to leave for home Tuesday, she reflected on her four days in the building and all the stories she had heard about staff assisting clients. “It says that we care,” she said. “We’re here for these kids and the community in any way we can be. I’m proud of that.”

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Recent HCPS Happenings

Conference celebrates 'Superhero' support staff

Published on June 13, 2017 by in Newsletter
Conference celebrates 'Superhero' support staff

The superheroes of HCPS and other Harris County offices are the administrative support staff (administrative assistants, cooks, cleaning staff, etc.), according to the speakers and theme of the annual Dianne Bynum Administrative Support Staff Conference.

"You take care of us; you take care of the office," said HCPS Executive Director Joel Levine. "You are our first contact (with the public) in many cases. How that client, that stakeholder, that public is treated, that tells a story about our agency -- or your agency."

Participants packed the conference rooms of the Harris County Department of Education building on June 2. This year's theme was: "Supporting the Superhero in You."

The Training Institute of HCPS has organized the conference for the past nine years to both train and celebrate support staff from organizations throughout the county.

The conference was named for Dianne Bynum, a former HCPS board president who championed the conference

In a unique arrangement, leadership from participating organizations agree to take care of the office while their support staff members enjoy a full day of training -- the same as any other staff member would.

“It shows their commitment and appreciation to us, by doing our work for us,” said Valencia A. Linton, who works at the front desk of the main HCPS building. “And it gives us a chance to learn what we need to help them on a regular basis.”

Attendees first heard from keynote speaker Dr. Tamra Lewis, a motivational speaker who spoke about how to be “The Captain of Your Own Ship.” Through colorful tales of her own life, Lewis told the audience their lives are in their own hands and very few obstacles should keep them from manning the helm.

Participants were then given choices on which breakout sessions to attend for the remainder of the day. Sessions included on-the-job skills, such as phone etiquette and dressing for success, and lifestyle classes to aid them in their financial and health successes.

The conference will continue to return each year, Levine promised the crowd.