Home of Guiding Hands is a local organization that provides direct services and supports to more than 4,000 individuals diagnosed with an intellectual disability such as Down syndrome, epilepsy or autism. The inception of Home of Guiding Hands traces back to the early 1960s when family members banded together to strategize on how to fill an unmet need for their loved ones with developmental disabilities. This group of dedicated parents lobbied the legislature to ensure that core services would be provided for their family members, and they succeeded.
The Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act, known as the “Lanterman Act,” passed in 1969. The California law states that people with developmental disabilities and their families have a right to get the services and supports they need to live like people without disabilities. This right is known as an entitlement. In preparing for the passage of the Lanterman Act, families across the state began designing community-based programs for their loved ones. On August 4, 1967, an impressive 14-acre, state-of-the-art campus in Lakeside opened its doors. From that single campus, Home of Guiding Hands has evolved to a provider of a full spectrum of services; now serving all of San Diego and Imperial Counties. HGH is one of the largest employers in East County with over 1,000 employees and an annual payroll exceeding $18 million dollars. An impressive record for a homegrown non-profit.
About the Carne Family
On November 12, 1967, Dottie and Bob Carne united their families and their lives as they promised to love and honor each other in marriage. Dottie and Bob could not have known at the time, how their lives and the life of this locally-based non-profit would end up sharing.
Dottie was a widow and the mother of four children when she and Bob met at the municipal gymnasium in San Diego during a social game of volley-tennis. Bob had two children from a previous marriage when he and Dottie married, giving them six children together. Two years after their union, they celebrated the birth of their seventh child, Terri. Born with cerebral palsy, Terri, now 53 was the primary reason the Carnes and their family became involved with HGH. When Terri was 11 years-old, she became a resident of the HGH Lakeside campus. From then on, Bob and Dottie put their efforts into helping support what would become Terri’s home for the next 30 years.
At that time, there were few services to support families of children with disabilities. But Bob and Dottie saw a brighter future for their daughter, and other children with similar disabilities. They were willing to work hard to give their daughter the same opportunities other pre-teens in the community enjoyed. The Carne’s sponsored a weeklong Mexican Rivera cruise for three residents and three caregivers- providing an opportunity of a lifetime for Terri and her friends.
Mark Klaus, CEO of Home of Guiding Hands, praises Dottie and Bob for their ongoing support of the residential clients even though Terri had to move to another care-provider specializing in 24-hour clinical care. “Dottie and Bob have such generous and humble hearts. They have been instrumental in improving the quality of life for all of our 150 residents”. Dottie and Bob have given over $750,000 since they were introduced to HGH so long ago. And their generosity goes beyond monetary contributions.
Bob, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for over 40 years, and past President of the San Diego Chapter of the California Society of CPAs, has volunteered hundreds of hours to HGH, lending his financial expertise as a member of the Board of Directors and the Board of Governors. In fact, Bob chaired the audit committee for 12 years and is credited for the organizations exceptional fiduciary policies. He knows firsthand how well HGH manages its money.
Dottie’s volunteer involvement with HGH included being the chair and a member of the Family & Friends support group and member of the Women’s Guild where she chaired the Annual Fashion Show. The Carnes said some of their favorite memories of HGH have been hosting the Annual Holiday Parties and attending the organization’s many events. “For me, the most rewarding thing has been the associations and friendships that we’ve made throughout the years through our participation with HGH,” said Bob. Terri, who has moved to a sub-acute facility where she receives a higher level of nursing care, still stays in touch with her housemates and direct care staff at HGH. According to the Carnes, HGH has been an extended family for them. “It’s a wonderful agency,” said Dottie. “I’m so thankful they were there for us.”
Recognizing that the past year has been difficult for all non-profits, the Carnes made a recent donation to Home of Guiding Hands in the amount of $50,000 with a challenge to the non-profit to raise another $50,000 by September 1. If HGH succeeds, the Carnes will contribute an additional $50,000. They asked that the funds be used for the enrichment of the lives of the clients now, and in the future. They hope that this gift inspires other philanthropists and community members to take action and contribute as well.
“We continue to support HGH because of the quality of care our daughter Terri received while a resident there for more than 30 years,” the Carne family said. “We strongly believe in their leadership and the quality of care they provide.”
If you have a loved one who is in need of care, please call Home of Guiding Hands at (619) 938-2856 or visit www.guidinghands.org.