3FROM THE PRESIDENTTo our supporters,For those of us at Heartspring, our jobs are unique. They require us to think beyond ourselves, to look ahead toward the dreams of our clients and families, and to mold their stories into success. Our jobs require patience. They require understanding. And they require adaptability. Most importantly, our jobs at Heartspring require change. Change in the form of searching for better techniques, teaching individuals and families methods they’ve never known, and adjusting our plans to fit the unique needs of those we serve.This year will hold one considerable change—a change in leadership. I will be retiring later this summer. I am confident our search committee, which includes three past chairs of the board, the current and next board chairs and two newer members of the board, will find a strong leader to help Heartspring embark on a new journey that will undoubtedly be filled with remarkable achievement.Heartspring’s history is rich with accomplishment, and with time, it becomes more apparent how imperative our mission proves to be. Our vision, to guide individuals with special needs on the path toward greater independence, is indeed a necessary service not only in our community, but also across the nation and around the world. Throughout the past 13 years I have spent serving this exceptional organization, I’ve seen our staff, our families and our children strive for nothing short of spectacular. Heartspring is a special place, with people committed to bringing hope and assurance to children with special needs from all walks of life. I’ve watched an organization flourish and continue to do so, in a fashion others could only envision. In the last 13 years, our therapeutic residential school has grown by 35 percent; and now, more than 50 students are getting the quality of education and round-the-clock attention they deserve. The unique services of our intensive educational program have improved the lives of individuals and families from across the United States. We also continue to help those in our own community access these specialized services, increasing the number of Kansas students from one to 13. We’ve also worked to emphasize the importance of placing students in our program as early in their lives as possible, lowering our average age from 18.7 years old to 16 years old, and increasing the number of students ages 12 and under from one to 11.Our other programs have also shown tremendous growth. Last year, Heartspring Pediatric Services served a record-breaking 900 children from the Wichita area. Behavior services have grown an unbelievable 92 percent, with more revolutionizing practices to continue these successes. Not only do we continue to expand our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies, we’ve focused on creating innovative partnerships. In a joint effort with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, we provide telemedicine clinics to our clients, allowing our families access to more therapies and services without having to add travel expenses and additional time to their plates. Collaborations with programs in Boston, Dallas and Erie, Pennsylvania will further our efforts in implementing assisted robotics to our programs—including the utilization of large Android tablets and a telepresence robot. Our impact continues to extend beyond borders. This year, we celebrate 10 years of partnership with the Stars and Rain Institute for Autism in Beijing, China. Through our exchange program, professionals and staff from both Stars and Rain and Heartspring continue to visit each other for training. When I first met Hope, a mother of a child with autism searching for advice and inspiration to start her own program, resources in China were all but a dream. Today, Stars and Rain has a network of more than 230 organizations with trained professionals who have learned from Hope and her colleagues. Their influence has altered the mind-set of government officials and revolutionized care for children with autism in their country. Our success is a direct result of the devotion, compassion and patience of our staff. It’s amazing to me the boundless energy they have for our children, demonstrated time and time again. To our community, I thank you for embracing our organization and finding a place in your heart for those we serve. It has been an honor to work alongside of you, to ensure that individuals with special needs have the opportunities they deserve. Through all of this change, the one constant is Heartspring staff’s unwavering commitment to the children we have been entrusted to serve. That will never change. Gary W. Singleton, Ph.D., President & CEO3Gary W. Singleton, Ph.D.
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