GUIDANCE : PROGRAM DESIGN
Evolving policies, practices and programs
Intentional neighboring must be planned-for, but it can never be fully designed. It must be allowed to adapt over time, filling in details while remaining true to the program mission, as residents and staff gain experience with one another.
When Hope Meadows started there was no community center or neighborhood weekly newsletter. There were neither teenagers living there, nor adults over 70. Parents did not pay any rent and no child who came there from the foster care system was legally free to be adopted. What a difference 20 years makes. Today the community center is the heart of the neighborhood, busy all day long with morning coffee gatherings, after-school programs, and evening bingo or girl scout meetings.
Several of the original residents are facing their 90th birthday and failing health issues, few children are under 8 and one young man who left home at 18 to pursue more education and a job, is now married and has moved back to raise his children in this evolving neighborhood. The weekly neighborhood newspaper helps keep everyone connected and is eagerly awaited every Monday. The institution of foster care has changed dramatically and now very rarely does a child come to Hope who is not legally eligible for adoption.
Times change, people change, and society’s needs change. At Hope Meadows policies and traditions have also changed to meet these changing needs. Some policies and traditions that were started 20 years ago remain, some no longer exist, and others have been added.
But through these changes and resulting adaptations, the GHC Model and core principles continue to guide decision making and serve as a fundamental reference as practices and program design evolve.