A Tribute to Kathy Ballard

A Tribute to Kathy Ballard

Kathy Ballard, Ph D., New Hope’s Community Outreach Director, has served individuals at New Hope for over 24 years! During this time, Kathy has been an integral member of New Hope’s executive team by consistently challenging the status quo and propelling New Hope to provide more innovative programming to the individuals it serves and ultimately, creating a more inclusive environment for all individuals with disabilities in our community. This Friday, June 28th, Kathy will be retiring. Here as an inside look at some of the things she accomplished during her tenure at New Hope.

Kathy has spearheaded multiple efforts for new, creative programs/services. When Kathy began her journey at New Hope, one of her first additions was the Children and Youth Services (CYCS). Today, this program (Family and Community Services (FCS), is still thriving at New Hope and is providing support to individuals in their private homes. Kathy then brought Family Preservation Services (which became Homebased Services) as an option to New Hope. This program created a new relationship/contract with DCS and allowed New Hope to reach another population of individuals in need in our community through home-based services and case management.

In recent years, Kathy began thinking how New Hope could help individuals with disabilities in transition from high school to adult life. This formed two programs in a new Transitions Services Department – Achieving Inclusion and Meaning (AIM) and the Cheese and Thank You Food Truck. AIM was Kathy’s original idea, and it provides adults with disabilities community-based opportunities to develop skills for independence, practice interpersonal skills and empower individuals to live their best lives. Additionally, Kathy implemented the Cheese and Thank You food truck program, which was a concept of New Hope’s CEO, Allison Wharry. Through the opening of the Cheese and Thank You food truck, Kathy’s commitment and dedication to the individuals and New Hope was apparent as she learned the new process of the food truck industry from health department certifications to mechanical issues with the truck to implementing the program/service platform to equip the young adults with disabilities with experience in the food service industry, social marketing, sales, customer service and business practices.

Over the years, Kathy has been a staunch advocate for individuals with disabilities, not only from an employer perspective, but she also has the unique experience as a parent. Kathy is a champion of not using labels. She has been instrumental in guiding New Hope to make sure it looks at things from the individual’s and family’s perspective. Kathy does not shy away from asking questions of “why we can’t” do things, taking risks, and is the go-to person to ask if language and words are used correctly to describe a person with disabilities. Kathy’s perspective is invaluable since she is a parent of an adult receiving support services.

Although she is retiring, Kathy’s legacy is woven through New Hope community outreach program, in New Hope’s history, and throughout the Indianapolis disabilities community. Moreover, Kathy’s legacy lives within her son, Bryan, who now lives a more fulfilling life because of the relentless advocacy of his mom.

Kathy – thank you for the tremendous impact you have had on New Hope and the individuals we serve. We will miss you!

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