Part of HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region. HYPE encourages cross-collaboration among agencies and organizations that offer opportunities to volunteer in the community. The Community Conversations series focuses on interviewing professionals in a local nonprofit to bring awareness to their mission, highlight their impact in the community, and provide information on how to get more involved with the organization. For the April edition, HYPEster and Community Involvement Committee Member Matt Hankins interviewed Barry Simon, President & CEO of Oak Hill.
What is the mission of your organization?
Oak Hill was established 125 years ago, beginning with a mission to support the blind. Throughout the years, Oak Hill has continued and expanded their mission by establishing a full-service organization to care for, educate and advocate for disabled people, their families, and their communities. Through supportive programs and community education, Oak Hill empowers the individuals they serve to be contributing, productive members of their communities.
What is your role within the organization?
As CEO, Barry’s focus is to make sure the agency and services stay viable. Barry likens administration as another program, whose role is to make the jobs of the support staff easier. As CEO, he ensures that the administration is stable so that the mission of Oak Hill can carry on.
How do you implement your services or programs?
At Oak Hill, hands on services are key to implementing their mission. As the largest private nonprofit provider of disability services in the State, Oak Hill strives to stay up to date on emerging technologies to stay relevant and best serve their clientele.
Oak Hill and their affiliated organizations have over 1,700 trained professionals serving over 152 program sites in 77 towns throughout Connecticut, and in certain areas of Massachusetts and New York. Programs are designed to address all of the needs of the disability community, and serve children, adults, and seniors with intellectual, developmental, physical, mental health, and multiple disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments. Additionally, Oak Hill offers extensive training programs and assistance to caregivers, families, and support staff.
In what ways has your organization been impactful to your cause?
Barry believes in the mission of Oak Hill, and that they are good at what they do. He asks himself that if his own family member needed services, would Oak Hill be the organization he would want to support them. This mainframe keeps Barry focused on the mission and continuing to provide quality programs and supports to the individuals they serve. For Barry, seeing the smiles on the faces of the individuals served at any one of their facilities is testimony to the great work done at Oak Hill, and motivation to continue to support and advocate for those with disabilities.
How does someone get more involved?
There are a multitude of ways to get involved with Oak Hill. From participating in group activities, to yard clean ups, to leading a trip to the park, hands on opportunities to volunteer are always needed. Advocacy and financial support are always needed in addition to volunteers. To volunteer or donate please contact the Oak Hill Development offices at 860-769-3830 or visit their website.