13 Feb Mission Minute: Connections of Hope
by Cassi Dean, Director, Supported Living Program
I first heard of New Hope in 2007 from a co-worker of mine. At that time, I was working a full time weekend position with at-risk juveniles. Although I loved my job and felt like what I was doing mattered, I was also concerned about missing family time each weekend. Working from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM every Saturday and Sunday was difficult for me and I was missing my then 2-year-old son tremendously.
At first, I was reluctant to make a change, but my co-worker continued to talk about his work at New Hope and encouraged me to apply; this is where my connection and love for this wonderful place began! In December of 2007 I began my career with New Hope as a Team Leader in our Supported Living department. I helped my Manager, Tracy Brabec, open Parker 2 a new Supported Living site and I immediately fell in love with the guys living there! After becoming acclimated to my new role, I began leading several other locations; growing my deep-rooted faith and dedication to our mission and those we serve!
In April of 2012, I began a new role as one of the Managers in Supported Living. This was an exciting time for me, as I continued my professional growth and spent dedicated time focused on my leadership and team-building skills. During my time as a Manager, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of Team Leaders who I am very proud to say are still here to this day! Their dedication to our mission and to providing quality supports made me proud beyond measure.
In 2017 I accepted another professional opportunity outside of our organization, leaving the comfort of the New Hope family and all who helped me grow into the professional I had become. Although I accepted another position, I knew that New Hope would remain an important part of my life. During my time away, I remained actively involved with New Hope. I volunteered my time serving on our Human Rights Committee and participated in various events supporting the mission. Although I was gaining valuable experience in my other roles, I always missed the friendly halls of New Hope and the culture of kindness that permeated my time here. From time to time, I would talk to many of my professional mentors still with New Hope and would always say things like, “I like what I’m doing but it just doesn’t feel like home.” New Hope was always my work home!
When I learned that Lynn Feldman, my former boss and someone who I admired tremendously, was retiring and that New Hope was accepting applicants to fill her role, I knew I had to apply! I am so glad I made the decision to go for it, because my return has been nothing short of dreamlike. I am incredibly grateful to be home, and I am honored to be a small part of what makes this organization such an outstanding place to be!!