Why we are proud of the Elks Home Service program
Dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities, the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Project was originally known as the Cerebral Palsy Nurses Program.
You probably hear the term "Home Service" around Aliquippa lodge quite a bit, and may have wondered what it's all about. This brief article is an effort to explain what the program is and why we, and all Pennsylvania Elks, are so proud of what it does.
This charitable undertaking of more than 100 lodges in the state had its beginning in 1963.
Today, the Pennsylvania Elks State Association employs 26 highly trained Registered Nurses and home visitors who also assist individuals with not only Cerebral Palsy, but other developmental disabilities as well such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and hearing and visual impairments, to name just a few.
The program's services are provided totally free to people with disabilities that are likely to continue indefinitely and cause substantial limitations to major life activities.
Everyday events that so many of us take for granted can be great victories for these people. Just learning how to feed themselves a single bite of food can be a satisfying accomplishment.
For one of our clients to just stand up, or even simply flash a brief smile, can bring him or her a real sense of pride. We who are able-bodied are obligated morally to give our fellow human beings whatever we can to allow them to experience the everyday activities we enjoy.
It isn't pity they need, just some help and understanding; the hope that one compassionate human being can give to another.
So many people fall through the cracks of today's social service system and have no one to help them. These are the people who benefit most from the Pennsylvania Elks Home Service Program.
Our highly-dedicated Registered Nurses and staff constantly search for new ways to help their clients become more independent and contributing members of their communities.
The staff knows how to cut the red tape and how to find services that exist. They know WHERE to find educational opportunities, and they know the rights of not only the person with the disability, but also those of their family members.
These efforts have allowed many persons to establish a viable communication with loved ones and friends. In some cases our clients have gained employment to become contributors to the world in which they live. This is not charity, but merely a hand to people who can --and will -- help themselves.
The only criterion needed to become an Elks Home Service Program client is a developmental disability; nothing else is considered --- not gender, not religion, not finances, not race or any other personal preferences. The members of the Pennsylvania Elks State Association see only a neighbor, another human being who needs support. Just as the Elks in Pennsylvania have done since 1963, we respond to this need with compassion and knowledge.
The Aliquippa lodge is required to pay a per capita assessment for each member in order to support this most worthwhile endeavor. That is why the officers ask each member for a $10 contribution when dues are paid.
Unfortunately, not everyone makes this contribution, and we are forced to conduct additional Home Service fundraising or expend general lodge funds to meet our obligation. So when we ask you for a dollar or two for a paper egg, heart or shamrock, reflect on where that money is going: to help those who the Pennsylvania Elks will not allow to slip through the cracks.