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IDD Services

Hope Enterprises Celebrates 70 Years of Serving Pennsylvania’s DisABILITY Community

March 1, 2022

Mackenzie Howe | 570-326-3745

Hope Enterprises, a non-profit provider for people with intellectual disabilities, announces its 70th anniversary. Founded in 1952 by Dr. Max E. Miller and his wife Leona, Hope Enterprises started as a school for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Parents and local leaders in the Williamsport area worked alongside the Millers to grow an organization that supported each person’s needs, regardless of their perceived disability.

“Hope was founded on a deep desire to provide an everyday life,” said Robert Labatch, Hope’s president/CEO. “For seven decades we have aimed to innovate services that help people rise above their challenges and achieve personal goals and ambitions. Everyone at Hope is passionate about continuing Hope’s legacy as we continue to break the status quo for the next 70 years.”

Examples of this innovative spirit date back to the beginning. At the time, a school for children and adults with intellectual disabilities was quite unique. Since then, Hope has continued to redefine what a truly inclusive community can look like. In 1972, Hope’s residential services gave families an alternative to having loved ones live in institutions. Instead, this service enabled and encouraged community living.

In 1993, Hope introduced job training and placement services to provide integrated and supported employment opportunities so individuals could experience a natural work environment. Then, in 2015, Hope led the transition away from sheltered workshops (still in use by some organizations) by discontinuing the service that paid people with disABILITIES a subminimum wage. Those workers were transitioned to a new, integrated employment service known today as MaxWorx.

Most recently in 2020, Hope formed CHOICE services to support each person’s goals through a one-to-one model that pairs one individual with one Hope social worker. Very few organizations offer a one-to-one model, but Hope sees it as the path to the next level of community involvement and socialization.

In the future, Hope will continue to innovate on behalf of people with disABILITIES. “Every aspect of this organization is centered on people,” said Labatch. “As we evolve, families want services that provide the best advancement and growth for their loved ones. And with each new level we achieve, we can see the next opportunity to improve their lives.”

Employees will support change to empower, respect, and reflect the goals of people living with intellectual disABILITIES in the region. To lead innovation, the organization is hiring more employees who are dedicated to Hope’s mission.

Today, Hope Enterprises serves Lycoming, Clinton, Northumberland, Columbia, Montour, Snyder, and Union counties. The nonprofit offers support services in community participation, in-home support, employment services, and living options. The full range of services benefits individuals with intellectual disABILITIES in every aspect of their lives.

Learn more about Hope Enterprises, Inc. and support The Hope Foundation, at www.HopeAbility.org.