By Gregory Miller
President/CEO Penn-Mar Human Services
Penn-Mar Human Services is known for leading the industry with innovative community-based supports as well as an Employment First focus for individuals with disabilities. But we are just as passionate about providing the highest quality supports for those folks who have not yet made the transition to be out in the community and need to receive our assistance inside one of our facilities.
To that end we have embarked on two significant renovation projects that I would like to share with you.
The first involves a building purchase we made last year in Shrewsbury, PA that we are referring to by its street name: Far Hills. It is a perfect example of how Penn-Mar’s disciplined financial oversight, our committed partnerships and innovative collaborations have enabled us to boldly turn our dreams into reality.
By earmarking the proceeds from the sale of our buildings in Glen Rock and with the support of our resource partners and a business community committed to our mission, we were able to avoid a capital campaign to fund this purchase.
You can imagine how proud I was to join our supporters, including members of the York County Economic Alliance, our staff, families, individuals and friends at the Far Hills Grand Opening held recently on June 12th.
Not only was this facility delivered on-time and on-budget, but it is exactly the space we need to “right size” our operations and eventually consolidate all of our programmatic and Pennsylvania-administered programs in one place. The facilities we are relocating from in Glen Rock were built for very different purposes. The new building is designed to meet the way our services are provided today, and in the future.
The Far Hills Learning Center features state-of-the-art design with a small gym, individual training rooms, and computer classrooms. It also has customized settings conducive to concentrated learning where music, speech and art therapists can work with small groups of people.
It stands as a testament to our future strategy of giving the individuals we support more skills and opportunities to help them participate in the community while providing the physical space we need to catch-up with our ever-expanding capabilities.
Additionally, we are currently conducting a full evaluation of our space at Penn-Mar’s Freeland, MD headquarters facility where we will be making significant changes to accommodate our future growth and, as with the Far Hills design concept, address the changes in the way our services are provided.
The large open areas in Freeland that were once used for production activities will be redesigned for instruction and small group activities in keeping with the transition of employment, vocational, and day service programs to a community-centered model.
To help with these renovations, the Maryland State Legislature has approved a Bond Bill that will provide $200,000 toward the renovation project and Penn-Mar is committed to raising an additional $700,000 from our Foundation partners.
The goal of both of these ambitious projects – and Penn-Mar’s reason for being – is to provide our team members with the highest quality resources to ensure that every person that we support has the opportunity to live a meaningful life based on their terms, aligned with their dreams.