Debbie McGinness Interview on WALL Radio


Speaker 1 (00:00):

It is 8:10, 68 degrees, and I have a guest with me on the phone is Debbie McGinness, the CEO of New Hope Community. Good morning, how are you?

Speaker 2 (00:12):

I’m fine, Kate. How are you?

Speaker 1 (00:14):

Oh, very well, very well. New Hope Community is based in Sullivan County in Loch Sheldrake, right?

Speaker 2 (00:21):

Yes, it is.

Speaker 1 (00:22):

And maybe a lot of people aren’t familiar with what you do, but we were going to talk about Disability Pride Month and more. Can you please introduce your organization to our listeners?

Speaker 2 (00:34):

Absolutely. I’d be happy to. New Hope Community is a large nonprofit voluntary provider agency to people with developmental disabilities. We are 46 years old. We not only have a diverse array of supports and services in Sullivan County, we also have a division Select Human Services, which is located in Pleasantville, which is in Westchester County, New York. So we have certified residential settings, we have day habilitation, we have supported employment, we have community habilitation, respite, self-direction. I think total we probably provide close to a thousand people that receive supports and services from New Hope Community. So our reach is, is goes far wide and deep.

Speaker 1 (01:28):

It truly does. It truly does in two locations. Then Loch Sheldrake and Pleasantville. Okay. And yes, you, you sent me some information about some of the work that you do and some of the programs that you have. It’s really nice. You have Hope Farm, a three-acre working farm that, that the people can go and, and work with growing things and learn how it works and have productive work to do. That’s kind of fun. Also.

Speaker 2 (02:01):

You know, it’s such a fantastic experience and we work very closely with SUNY Sullivan. It’s actually their land that they have provided to us for this purpose. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And we’ve done a lot of cool things with their culinary program. At the college, we also have people that are part of our New Hope family that go over there, not only for work purposes, but through their day habilitation experiences. We’ve developed an incredibly collaborative relationship with BOCES and BOCES students are coming over to our farm to work a couple days a week and have some really cool experiences where it’s hands on and as you said, growing things. I think when people get into the farm fields and they really see what nurturing a garden to its full abundance is all about, it’s just, it’s a wonderful experience all the way, way around. We also provide fresh food from our farm fields to our residential programs to help with healthy eating. We also partner and provide fresh veggies to local food pantries. So the Hope Farm is something we really celebrate during the growing season. It’s fantastic. 

Speaker 1 (03:17):

You sure should celebrate it. That’s, that’s great because yes, when you see that the work you do with your hands turns into growing things and that turns into food that you can eat, what a wonderful lesson.

Speaker 2 (03:30):

Yeah, no, it’s a, it’s really multi-leveled in terms of what it teaches all of us. So that’s a, a really cool part of us. So yes, we are very, very happy and proud to have that farm.

Speaker 1 (03:42):

And then there’s New Hope Community’s therapeutic horseback riding and in-house program where people can go riding on horses. And, and, and this is not just, this is not really for the public so much as for the clients of New Hope Community that they can ride on a horse and they can help take care of a horse.

Speaker 2 (04:07):

Yes. We have some beautiful horses up above in the back of our main campus here in Loch Sheldrake, it’s called McCoy Meadows. We have a wonderful barn manager, Paige, and we have a really cool equestrian program. So people of all abilities can really enjoy learning to both groom and care for horses as well as to ride horses. And, you know, it’s another experience that connects people to life other than human life. So whether it be the farm where you’re really, you know, nurturing plants and food to four-legged horses, it’s another really sort of mind expanding and body expanding experience to commune with horses. So we’re looking to expand that. We are hoping to add additional opportunities with our equestrian riding program. So I think in the future there may be some new things that we roll out that could be very exciting to announce, but yes, that’s another very important part of who we are and what we do.

Speaker 1 (05:19):

We would like to hear about them when you can release additional details. So <laugh>, consider this a standing invitation to, to come back on the air and talk to us again and again as you roll out new programs to help people.

Speaker 2 (05:33):

I appreciate that.

Speaker 1 (05:34):

Oh, sure. Thank you. So now what Disability Pride Month was in July, because that was the month that the ADA was passed, which we just recently celebrated by having Doug Hovey come on the air from Independent Living. But this is also so important to the work you do.

Speaker 2 (05:53):

Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, and we had all sorts of, of celebrations throughout our homes and on campus, and a lot of things were spoken about and shared in written form. And, you know, I know that it was the 25th anniversary of Disability Pride Month. And I think the big thing that is our position and our message is it’s so wonderful to be able to have an opportunity to specifically call out all the value of people that have whatever the variety is of a disability. I mean, I kind of like to say it’s abled in differently abled because truth be told, people with disabilities bring so much value and so much ability and so many incredible ways that we feel that it’s very important 24/7 every day of, every month of every year to really be aware of and to support the incredible value of all people with disabilities in terms of how they add to our human experience. So the month in terms of disability pride is wonderful, happy to celebrate it, but this needs to be an everyday thing that we are very mindful of and, and, and supporting in terms of the contribution and the value of people with disabilities in our community.

Speaker 1 (07:22):

Thank you very much. You, you work extensively with all kinds of disabilities or, or is it, what, what kinds of disabilities are, do you specialize in? I’m, I’m really not sure how to phrase the question right. The, the, the first information that you sent to me said that one in four Americans have some form of disability, and, and Doug Hovey was talking about that also, that you can’t even realize just by looking at someone, what, what they may be dealing with and how organizations like yours can help.

Speaker 2 (07:57):

Well, you know, people with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within our population. And they basically represent all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religion, socioeconomic backgrounds. And it’s more than just a diagnosis. It really represents the totality of each person. So if we have someone that is diagnosed with a developmental disability, they are diagnosed based on cognitive ability. And also what they are able to do in terms of their level of independence specific to day-to-day activities of daily living, their functioning adaptively. So we could have someone that is on the autism spectrum. We could have someone with Down Syndrome, we could have someone, there’s so many different specific diagnoses that fall within this realm. But I would tell you that it’s becoming increasingly complex in that we have people that are medically frail, medically complex. Some people are ambulatory, some people are not.

Speaker 2 (09:07):

We have people that are dual diagnosis, so they may have a mental health diagnosis as well as a developmental disability diagnosis. Mm. So it’s, it’s a real potpourri in terms of each person, but we are so incredibly equipped to meet each person exactly where they are in terms of how they are in their life, how they respond to their world. And our goal here is to holistically support each person to be as independent as possible, to live a life to the best of their ability that is of their choosing, and to really be behind them, to support them, to create meaningful relationships, both on a, both on a personal level and within their communities. Because as we all know, human relationships are critically important to who we are and how happy we are in our lives.

Speaker 1 (10:07):

Of course. And that’s, that’s really putting it beautifully. I, I thank you for that. You work on education therapy, recreational programs and, and as you said, delivering it to each person where they are, what they need, learning about each individual. I, I wish everything was so individually designed. I thank you for that.

Speaker 2 (10:31):

Yeah. People, you know, our, our service sector for many years has really talked about the fact that we need to be so person-centered. And it’s an easy thing to say. It’s another thing to really embrace that and be moment by moment mindful of the importance of that. We always say that, you know, it’s one thing to support someone, but we are not here to do anything beyond the level of support that’s really appropriate for the person that we in fact, are supporting because everyone has abilities and potential. And, and, and our goal is to, in, again, a very holistic, safe way, support people to bloom and be the best they can be.

Speaker 1 (11:17):

That’s just lovely. Thank you very much. Let’s take a break for just a moment and then we will be right back with Debbie McGinness, CEO of New Hope Community.

Speaker 3 (11:28):

Put that wow into your summer at the Dutchess County Fair. August 24th through the 29th in beautiful historic Rhinebeck, New York, showcasing the agriculture of the Hudson Valley with hundreds of farm animals and displays, the rides, the games, the food, the to…

Speaker 1 (11:46):

And we are back. It’s 8:23, you’re listening to WALL Radio, and I’ve got my guest on the phone, Debbie McGinness of New Hope Community. Debbie, what was it that, that we were chatting off air. I’m not supposed to actually talk about that, but we do always talk before we go on the air. <Laugh>, you said you’re hiring.

Speaker 2 (12:07):

Yes. So we have a lot of wonderful employment opportunities here. I think that for anyone who is really giving thought to finding work that has meaning where they honestly can make a difference in another person’s life, this is an incredible opportunity to do just that. We’re actually holding open interviews on campus several days a week. I believe they’re from 10 to 3. You can walk in and we have people to talk with you, answer questions, help you with paperwork. I mean, we have incredible benefits, and it’s a wonderful place to live. We do so well by our, our employees in terms of supporting them, because you know what’s so interesting? We’re here to support all the people that have found New Hope as their home in terms of receiving supports and services, but right alongside them, we are here to support our staff so that they know that they matter, that they have value, and we want to always be sure that everything they do, they get the why of it, and that we are here to communicate with them and hear them. So, honestly, I’ve been here just about three years, and I’m, I’ve been working for many, many years in this field since the mid-eighties, and this is, in my opinion, the most wonderful organization I’ve ever had the privilege to be at the helm at.

Speaker 1 (13:34):

That is that is a big testimonial. That’s wonderful to hear. And, and the people that you are serving are probably glad to hear that too, because you, you care for each person as an individual and yeah. And, and that means the employees also. Okay.

Speaker 2 (13:52):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Speaker 1 (13:54):

Please let us know of any events you have coming up, but, oh, well now we, we said that you’re hiring. How do people get in touch with you?

Speaker 2 (14:02):

So they can go through our website, So it’s simply Okay. They can also go on to We have several job postings there. Easy to get in and to submit a resume. We have a whole team of staff very eager to talk to people and to share our life here, to show people around. We open our arms to people that want to learn more about New Hope and possibly consider becoming part of our family. But so I, you know, I’ll just throw in, in terms of events and things. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, one thing that I always love sharing is that New Hope Community has become increasingly involved in our local community. And it’s such a cool thing because I always say we’re stronger together, and that as much as we so appreciate the support of our community and our families and our staff as well, we love being able to give back to the community as well, because I think that together, you know, we lift each other up in terms of our total levels of health and wellness.

Speaker 2 (15:14):

So we’ve done so many cool things. We’ve got people that live here with us that volunteer at the Rock Hill SPCA, and we, as I said, provide all sorts of fresh food deliveries to local food pantries. We have this incredible community outreach dinner in December each year where we provide free dinners to families. We’ve given $25 gift cards to ShopRite, and that’s been an incredible experience for us. We’ve got over 20 people that are employed locally at Emerald Green, Forestburgh Playhouse, Resorts World, just to give a couple of examples. But, you know, we’re an important part of this community, and our community is just as important to us. So I love that we’re in this as a partnership, and I just wanted to share that because that’s very important.

Speaker 1 (16:02):

Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, it has been a pleasure to have you here today, Debbie McGinness, the CEO of New Hope community. And I, I do believe that you celebrate Disability Pride 12 months of the year, not just in July.

Speaker 2 (16:20):


Speaker 1 (16:22):

You’ve made me a believer. Oh, thank you for being with us <laugh>. Thanks, Kate. Okay. Thank you for being with us on WALL Radio. It is 8:27. Got time to hear a song before the news update from CBS. We’ll hear this one. Haircut 100 at WALL Radio.