“Two heads are better than one,” goes the old saying. In the case of Homeland Center, residents benefit from the collective talents of not one but two boards, guiding management and staff through daily operations.
Homeland’s Board of Trustees is a traditional board, overseeing finances and business decisions. But unique to Homeland is the Board of Managers, an outgrowth of 19th century laws that has stayed relevant well into the 21st century.
In the post-Civil War years, the leading women of Harrisburg banded together and started the process of founding a “Home for the Friendless” to care for Civil War widows and orphans. However, those smart, capable women could not, under existing laws, perform such critical functions as making contracts and holding real estate.
Those duties fell to the Board of Trustees, who managed them well, while the women stayed involved through a Board of Lady Managers. As the years passed, Board of Managers members spent considerable time coming to Homeland to sew curtains, plant flowers, and take residents on shopping trips.
Even as times change, the Board of Managers has survived and thrived, contributing to Homeland’s homey atmosphere. Today, its duties include:
- Hosting special events, such as the 2016 “Signs of Summer” picnic with strawberry shortcake and the sounds of a jazz band.
- Meeting all newly admitted residents, when possible.
- Helping staff decorate for seasons and holidays.
- Accompanying residents and staff on outings to movies, shopping, restaurants, and other activities.
- Producing some activities, such as musical events.
- Weekly flower arranging in the dining areas.
- Helping select interior décor.
“We hope to continue to be part of the residents’ lives,” says Board of Managers Chair Susan Batista. “Our job is making sure that Homeland is a true home.”