Partners In Care Maryland
Imagine waking up one morning so old and frail that a simple run to the corner store to pick up milk takes over three hours. Imagine fretting that your bedroom lightbulb will burn out and go unchanged for weeks because there’s no easy way to reach it. Imagine what it’s like to have a true desire to live at home, but be without the funds to make that happen.
There is another way. It’s called Partners In Care Maryland, a vital resource for elderly people and their families and friends living in Maryland–and a dream come true for Barbara Huston, the organization’s CEO.
Its service–exchange concept is based on the idea that everyone has something to contribute to their community. People give their time and talents and that time is logged in to the "bank," so when they need to draw from it, they can.
In some ways Barbara herself can’t believe she has been running Partners In Care Maryland since 1993. Back then the kitchen table served as a boardroom, and her sister and friend, both with gerontology degrees, helped run the show. Barbara left a successful career as a navy budget analyst working in the Pentagon. That background, she says, certainly helped her learn how to burn the midnight oil to get a job done.
Today, Barbara still hits the ground running every morning, overseeing nine full-time staff and about 20 office volunteers as they help coordinate about 100 rides per week out of their 6,000-square-foot office and thrift–store space–plus, assisting with other programs for the whopping 2,600 members now signed up.
Here’s one of the reasons for the organization’s growth: Barbara pitches in. When no one else is available to give a member a lift, Barbara hops into the car and does the job herself. If she’s at the office after five o’clock and everyone else has gone home, she makes it a point to answer the telephone. It’s a rare CEO who is willing to wear the hat of receptionist in a pinch.
Barbara talks about opening a bookstore someday. Until then, she’ll do everything she can to make her members’ lives easier, more fulfilling and less lonely.