Heartland Services in Sevierville, TN

Supporting our Most Vulnerable Citizens for 45 Years

Heartland Services is a private non-profit agency that seeks to enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization began in 1976 under the name Douglas Cooperative but has since renamed itself after expanding to meet the needs of East Tennessee. Currently, Heartland Services serves Blount, Cocke, Jefferson, and Sevier Counties as well as portions of Greene County with a wide range of professional training and rehabilitation services.

Through its mission, this organization provides freedom to the individuals it serves. Simple daily tasks such as preparing meals and going to work are difficult and seemingly impossible for some. Heartland Services helps its clients make individual choices that lead to a better quality of life and improved happiness.

This outstanding agency opens the door to possibilities for those who need help discovering the outside world. We recently spoke with the Executive Director for Heartland Services, Joyce Hughes, to learn more about how this organization is changing lives in our community.

“We genuinely love and care for those we serve, but we can’t do this without the support of our community. Anyone can make a difference,” Joyce answered when asked which one message above all she would like to share about Heartland Services.

It is our privilege to share this essential organization with you. Read on to learn more and discover how you can help.

Employment and Professional Development

Heartland Services helps connect individuals with jobs.

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities don’t always have access to employment. Heartland Services provides professional development to assist these individuals with their desire to work. In this program, the agency teaches skills and then connects its clients with local businesses to gain employment.

“We teach pre-vocational and vocational job skills,” Joyce explained. “Some individuals train for extended periods to obtain the skills necessary for employment.”

Once matched with an employer, on-the-job training takes place with an employment specialist from Heartland Services. After training has been completed, the individual contributes to the company just as other employees do.

“We have one such individual who is so proud of finally becoming employed that she wears her pay stub in a lanyard around her neck just to show everyone she got a job. To see that kind of dedication and passion about achieving employment is very rewarding for us, but it’s even more important for that person,” said Joyce.

Individuals interested in employment opportunities can apply online here.

Supported Living

Housing assistance for individuals with intellectual disabilities

Heartland Services provides supported living opportunities for its clients. Generally, the agency aids in searching for a home, although the accommodation is purchased or rented by the client.

“One individual, upon entering our residential program, began telling everyone he lived in a mansion. It was just a normal home, but his entire life had been spent living in one small room. To have the opportunity to live in a regular house gave him a sense of pride and dignity that most people take for granted,” Joyce told us.

The program provides a 24-hour staff to help the residents with living skills and encourages independence. Residents learn valuable skills for daily living such as food preparation and meal planning. The staff also teaches residents how to get ready and care for themselves. These basic skills instill a sense of pride. Every individual is different, which is why this agency offers customized support.

“The people we serve are the most vulnerable, poverty-stricken population in the nation. They have an IQ of 69 or below with assets of less than $2,000,” Joyce added as she explained the supported living program.

The agency owns 2 homes in Sevier County. Agency-wide, it has 4 group homes and 7 supported living homes. The program serves approximately 60 individuals in these residential settings and supports approximately 150 other individuals and families.

How You Can Help Heartland Services

Fill vacant positions for your business in Sevier County

This organization makes a meaningful difference in our community. Help the team at Heartland Services continue their mission. Here are ways you can help:

  1. Donate. Help Heartland Services by donating; it’s easy! Click here to make a secure donation.
  2. Volunteer. Many volunteer opportunities exist ranging from gardening, maintenance, and landscaping at homes. Other opportunities include reading, storytelling, crafts, and playing music. What are your talents? Call Joyce for more information. 
  3. Provide job opportunities. Call Employment Director Missy Ottinger if your business is able to offer positions to Heartland Services’ clients. Tax deductions are available for businesses that participate.

“We are grateful for whatever talents people are willing to offer,” Joyce explained. Whatever way you can help, contact Joyce to discuss the opportunities available.

Heartland Services is an asset to our community; learn more about this organization and contact the team to help make a difference. Additionally, read these inspiring success stories to discover how these services are changing lives.

Kellum Creek Business Solutions is reworking the Heartland Services website. On behalf of our entire team, we would like to thank Joyce and her group of employees and volunteers for making a difference in our community. We hope you feel inspired to contribute to this agency’s mission – contact Heartland Services today!

If your business has an outdated website, we would appreciate the opportunity to provide a complimentary quote for updating the site. A current website is vital to your company’s success. Our websites are search engine optimized, user friendly, and effective in reaching your customers. Contact us today to get started!

Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton