Celebrating 55 Years

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Fifty-five years ago, Home of Guiding Hands (HGH) created something special: a safe place for individuals with disabilities to call their home. That was the beginning of Home of Guiding Hands. Today, HGH owns and operates 31 group homes in East County San Diego. Having grown from a 200-bed campus setting in Lakeside, Home of Guiding Hands now provides an array of services throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties. Though premium, around-the-clock, residential care is still their specialty and rooted deep in the core of their business, HGH’s community and in- home services provide expert care to over 4,000 people every year. In fact, Home of Guiding Hands has served over 20,000 individuals since their inception in 1967.


Home of Guiding Hands serves infants, children and adults who have been diagnosed with an intellectual disability such as Down syndrome, autism, epilepsy or cerebral palsy. They are the largest employer in East County, with over 800 employees and was recently voted one of the best places to work in San Diego. The organization’s workforce consists of a diverse population, representing every aspect of the industry they serve. HGH respects the cultural and environmental influences that contribute to each person’s unique characteristics and support the needs of their workforce by embracing the philosophy of the whole person.

Edward Hershey, President, and CEO of Home of Guiding Hands, has a daughter diagnosed with Williams syndrome, a rare genetic disorder characterized by delays in cognitive development or learning difficulties, a distinctive facial appearance, and a unique personality that combines over-friendliness and high levels of empathy with anxiety. Edward knows, firsthand, how special each of HGH’s clients are. Edward shared with GB Magazine, “we ourselves must be willing to experience all of our services in the exact manner our clients do.” In other words, each HGH employee should be comfortable spending a week in one of their group homes or riding comfortably on one of their buses, and if they are not, then the organization needs to make improvements.

In 2022 alone, HGH completed 50 needed improvements and beautification projects at their residential homes, re-investing over $300,000 back into their properties. They take great pride in the premium condition of their homes and in making the houses a little more “homier” for the residents.

Client-centered quality is the focal point of the organization’s decisions. Client experience is at the top of all of the program funding decisions. It is what sets Home of Guiding Hands apart from other congregate care providers. It is what they have based their values on Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect, and Empathy.

Home of Guiding Hands’ mission has not changed over the last five decades: to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental delays. Home of Guiding Hands is still managed by a small group of community leaders and parents, and they proudly boast of the quality of care given daily to every client.

Today, Home of Guiding Hands is one of San Diego County’s largest providers of support and services for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They extend a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to their beloved community for their support over the past 55 years as HGH embarks on another 55 years of exceptional work.


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Esteban Villanueva