by Ashley Emerson, Program Manager at Hammer’s Emery Home

Danel at camp

At Hammer, each individual has the support of an entire village. It starts with the staff team, supporting the individual on a day-to-day basis and making the house a home. Some of the support includes positive behavior modification, encouraging skill building, independence, and planning activities out in the community to demonstrate their positive value in their communities. 

Lunga Sinuka, support staff at Hammer, makes sure the individuals are involved and have many fun adventures together!

The village expands as they leave home to include transportation entities, day programs, family, and the community where you have another whole group of people adding on to what is valued by each of our individuals, leaving impressions on each other and brushing elbows with people from all walks of life.

The next part of the village is the family. Some families spend a lot of their time with the team and some are there when needed most. There is a great connection here because they are often the team members that have been there the longest have histories that help create a good environment to work and grow.

Another aspect of the village is the Hammer family of central office employees, that assist the teams by sharing their life experience, each one of them doing their best to keep the teams working together as they grow and change.

Then outside of Hammer, but still part of the village are the doctors, dentists, specialists and even the schedulers who help to advocate for the individual. We have found that sometimes just getting everyone’s schedules lined up can be a full time job!

Danel with Lisa Vue and her family that volunteer weekly at the Emery home.

And last but not least, you have the community that is an important part of the village, because of the connection they make with the person we support.

This part of the village helps to model social nuances and reinforce the value of the individual by just being a friend. They share personal stories about their loved ones, offer to help, to hand hold, and sometimes they just engage so wonderfully that you want them to be part of the Hammer family.

I have worked with Hammer for over four years, starting on a part time basis, then transitioning to a full time position within the last two years. I have been so happy to be a part of this organization and  staff team that makes up the individuals village. I have always felt a pull to be in people’s lives where I am needed. Selfishly, I want to help people so I can feel like a part of something bigger than myself. I want to be part of someone’s village.