In October of 1995, a small group of family members and friends in the Sheboygan, WI area were drawn together for a common concern they shared about how we as a society were caring for individuals with disabilities in our community. The initial focus of this group was directed mostly to the residential care facilities we had in the county. The concern and grassroots efforts by this group lead to the creation of “HearthStone of Wisconsin,” which filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Wisconsin as a non-stock, non-profit organization in December of 1996.
HearthStone is a self-help and advocacy organization for people with disabilities and their families. Our mission is to make our communities a welcoming place for people with disabilities and to support and encourage positive life experiences. Our members are people with developmental and/or physical disabilities, their families, friends and people within our communities who care about them. We believe in working together to help dreams come true; Dreams of Independence, Dreams of Respect, Dreams of Achievement, and Dreams of Laughter.
Under its previous mission, HearthStone helped provide and obtain funding which enabled individuals and families with a member who has a disability to have their own home. We helped families obtain funding for specialized equipment and/or respite care.
Currently, we continue to hold quarterly community educational meetings and seminars for people with disabilities and their family members. In addition, we regularly provide social opportunities for our young people, including summer outings, bowling parties, a Christmas party, and a spring dance. We continue to be a strong advocacy voice for people with disabilities in our community and throughout the state, attempting to influence legislative policies that improve services and promote greater independence for individuals with disabilities. In addition, we provide sponsorship and donations to organizations and events that share our mission in the local community.
Hearthstone has an active advisory board which includes individuals from the following partner organizations: Sheboygan County Health & Human Services, RCS Empowers, Wisconsin DVR, Homes for Independent Living, TLC Homes and Paragon Services. In addition, HearthStone has been on the Family Giver Coalition steering committee since the start of the coalition.