Located on Veronica Springs Road, Hillside House provides a home and therapeutic learning community for 59 people with developmental disabilities.
Cynthy Ardell is motivated by a strong sense of compassion and community. In addition to volunteering at her church and with other local charities, she joined the Board of Directors of Hillside House this past Fall. She is also a long-term member of Assistance League of Santa Barbara and, with ALSB, volunteers at Hillside House, creating activities and events for the residents. Cynthy and her husband Dave have also been donors to Hillside House for many years, despite the fact that they do not have a family member living at Hillside House.
With so many worthy causes in the world, one might ask “why Hillside House?” Cynthy replies, “I believe that Hillside House and ALSB share a common value to do their very best as institutions to improve people’s lives in the community and that both organizations are able to accomplish a lot on very modest budgets.” She adds of Hillside House, “It is so amazing to see how kind and patient and loving the staff is to the residents.”
Cynthy was a member of Assistance League in Los Angeles for over forty years and even served as president there. When she moved to Santa Barbara in 2001, she joined Assistance League here and, as part of the training, was introduced to Hillside House. She says, “I was immediately impressed with the opportunity to actually interact and connect with the residents of Hillside House. That is not always possible with many nonprofits serving clients with disabilities. I immediately chose to have a Secret Pal at Hillside House. I still have one today.” ALSB members send their Secret Pals gifts and notes on birthdays and special occasions.
In addition, Cynthy says some of her favorite times at Hillside House include the bingo night that Assistance League hosts several times a year and “The Valentine’s Dance organized by the Assist-teens, high school age kids who volunteer for ALSB, is a big hit. The disc jockey who comes each year and is disabled himself really puts on a show and the teenagers and the residents really connect with each other through the music.”
About volunteering at Hillside House, Cynthy encourages others, “Just give it a try. It may be the most rewarding thing you do all week and it truly means so much to many of the residents.”
Craig Olson, Executive Director of Hillside House, says, “Cynthy truly brings the spirit of compassion and community service to our Board in an inspiring way. We need more people like Cynthy in our community and in our world.”
About Hillside House
Hillside House has been continuously providing a home and therapeutic learning community for people with developmental disabilities since 1939. Established as a non-profit in 1945, Hillside House built its current facility on Veronica Springs Road in 1955, when the Santa Barbara community came together to donate much of the costs of the land, materials and labor for our current facility so that people with special needs could have a caring home and the therapy and educational programs they need to live rewarding lives. Hillside House is home for 59 people with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, providing housing, medical care, specialized therapy and the opportunity for residents to attain the highest level of independence and integration into the communities in which they reside.