Learn more about our Homes with Heart capital campaign at HCSHeart.org

Lifting Our Agency by Lifting Others

  • A
  • A
  • A

By Drew Bielemeier

I continue to be humbled by the rapid growth of Heritage Christian Services over the past few years. With this growth comes great responsibility, however, and questions about how best to steward it.

Perhaps the most central tenet of our growth as an agency is our staff. From the direct support professionals who form meaningful relationships with the people who choose our services to the directors and administrative staff who lead with respect and love, the staff at every level of our agency play a role in the success of Heritage Christian Services.

As inflation continues to rise, and the cost of living increases, it’s essential frontline care professionals make wages that allow them to meet these growing financial challenges. Last month, we introduced our third wage increase in two and a half years. The $17.80 an hour that full-time Heritage Christian residential direct support professionals now make is above the industry average, and honors the hard work and compassion they show to the people we support on a daily basis.

We acknowledge that the majority of frontline care professionals are women, and specifically women of color, who have been historically underpaid for their tremendous contributions to our country’s care infrastructure. I had the opportunity to speak about the challenges women in the care industry face at the Rochester Business Journal’s inaugural Elevating Women award ceremony. We were honored to be one of the first area businesses to win this award, for our work of elevating the women who have supported our agency and its mission selflessly for so many years.

The increase in revenue over the past few years has allowed us to create a significant number of directorial roles. Of the 16 new directors, 11 were promoted from within the agency. These 11 people have nearly 200 combined years of serving Heritage Christian Services, and are responsible for the growth of key programs the agency provides, including residential programs, customized supports and Expressive Beginnings Child Care, and strategic initiatives including recruitment, education and more. Their work in these areas has been essential to the success of our agency, which is why we have chosen to give them leadership opportunities to continue guiding us in the right direction.

As we work to elevate care by elevating care professionals, we hope that other providers will continue to do the same as well. When care professionals rise, everyone else does, too.