Expanded Technology Solutions Connect Staff and Youth During COVID-19 Crisis

With remote work suddenly becoming the new normal for many Hillside teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology tools are rising to the challenge. In one example, Hillside has dramatically expanded the availability of TeleCare resources that make it possible for staff to meet virtually with youth and families using encrypted videoconferencing. Earlier this week, 236 Hillside staff participated in a live virtual training session provided by Hillside’s Technology team—and our people immediately put this new tool into action. Literally one hour after completing her training, Hillside staff used TeleCare to admit a youth into Hillside’s Family Crisis Support Services program…

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COVID-19: Mask Donations Show Support for Hillside Nurses

Hillside teams are rallying around our youth and families during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, and support from the community makes their work possible. This week, nurses in Hillside’s health office at the Finger Lakes Campus in Auburn were encouraged by a donation from Cheryl Heller, owner of The Savvy She Shed in Baldwinsville, NY. Heller offered hand-sewn protective masks that the clinical team could use while working with youth, in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. Youth on the Finger Lakes campus are pitching in as well, working with staff to make…

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COVID-19: Reports of Contact Involving Hillside’s Crestwood Campus

Hillside has learned of a potential COVID-19 exposure that may have occurred during the week of March 9 involving the community at our Crestwood Campus school on Scottsville Road in Rochester. We are concerned about any possible exposure to our staff and students, and we have been in contact with the Monroe County Department of Health to make sure we have all available information. We are in the process of notifying Crestwood staff and families and encouraging them to report any symptoms to their primary care providers or the Monroe County Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline. The Crestwood Campus school…

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COVID-19: Visitation Restrictions Updated

Given the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, Hillside has strengthened its previously revised policies regarding visitors to youth, effective immediately: All visitation is suspended at all Hillside sites except when medically or clinically necessary, i.e., the visitor is essential to the care of the resident. Additionally, any visitors to any Hillside site for agency business must have prior authorization and comply with screening protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NYS Department of Health. This policy remains subject to change as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

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COVID-19, and Hillside’s Commitment to Our Community

At Hillside, our dedicated and talented teams provide individualized services and support to more than 14,000 children, adults and families every year. We understand that because each person’s challenges are unique, the same is true for their pathways to healing.

But right now, a common danger is uniting the communities we serve, our country and the world. The novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, is spreading with alarming speed and requiring everyone—young and old, urban and rural, living in poverty and affluence—to take strong and immediate precautions in the name of personal and public safety.

Hillside’s people have rallied together in the face of this unprecedented outbreak. We’re working round-the-clock to refine our existing pandemic prevention plan and ensure that the children and families who rely on our services can remain healthy and safe. And we’re equally committed to our staff, who must balance their dedication to Hillside’s mission with the need to care for themselves and their own families. That’s a particular challenge, in the face of school and business closings that make child care and other issues a vital concern.

This evolving crisis is asking much of all of us—and for the good of our communities and each other, we must rise to the challenge. Hillside supports the protocols of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and we encourage everyone to follow their simple advisories that will help slow the spread of COVID-19.

On behalf of the entire Hillside family, please do all you can to protect yourselves—and in so doing, protect each other. Now more than ever, we are one community. We will get through this together.

Maria Cristalli
President and CEO
Hillside Family of Agencies

Diamonds are Forever: So too is a Culture of Philanthropy

RDI Diamonds is committed to doing well by doing good. Every time the wholesale diamond distributor’s five sales teams hit their daily goals, money is donated to a charity of each team’s choosing. Recently, Hillside was honored to be selected as the quarterly philanthropic focus for a gem of an RDI sales team. This culture of philanthropy was started by RDI owner Michael Indelicato who encourages his employees to make a difference in their communities through volunteerism, donations and participation in charitable events. By explaining that they are raising money for a worthy charity as part of their calls, RDI…

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Crestwood, Halpern Day Treatment Programs Affected by COVID-19

March 15, 2020—With the closure of Monroe County public schools due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Hillside leaders made the following announcements today regarding two educational sites in Monroe County: Hillside’s Day Treatment program at Halpern Education Center, 695, Bay Rd., Webster, will close to students. Staff should report. The Day Treatment program at Hillside’s Crestwood Campus, 2075 Scottsville Rd., Rochester, will close to non-residential students. At this time, the on-campus school will remain open to youth receiving residential treatment services at Crestwood. Staff should report. Both changes take effect Monday, March 16, until further notice.

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NYS Assemblywoman Hunter Thanks and Inspires Hillside Staff

Pamela Hunter, Assemblywoman for NY’s 128th District, joined a recent Hillside staff meeting in Syracuse to thank Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC) staff for all they do to make a difference for so many, including her family. Assemblywoman Hunter related her personal experience with HW-SC, having a son who was a student in the program several years ago. She opened up to staff about the challenging times he faced, and how thankful she was for his Youth Advocate who provided him structure and motivation. She also expressed gratitude for the services and programs HW-SC made available to help her son realize…

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Hillside’s Parents As Teachers Program Featured in “Thriving Forward” Podcast

Hillside’s Parents As Teachers (PAT) program is featured in a “Thriving Forward” podcast linked here which spotlights people involved in good works and projects in the Greater Rochester Area. Based on the principle that a parent is their child’s first teacher, our PAT program helps parents give their children the best possible start in life to increase school readiness and success for children of participating parents. In the podcast interview, Hillside PAT program manager Alice McAdam describes the research-based, early childhood parent education and family support program with Rochester Regional Health (RRH) pediatrician Dr. Sarah Collins-McGowan. Alice is joined by…

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Hillside and University of Buffalo Partnering on Grant-Funded Foster Care Research

Hillside is committed to using research to improve our services to youth and families. As part of that commitment, we’re partnering with the University of Buffalo (UB) on a project designed to support youth who “age out” of eligibility for foster care. A multidisciplinary UB research team has received an $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and Amazon to develop a machine learning system that could eventually help caseworkers and human services agencies determine the best available services for the more than 20,000 youth who annually age out of foster care without rejoining their families. UB, a longtime research…

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