THIS MONTH: Life Safety & Residential Support, young artists & more!
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For LSRS, safety and support roles intertwine

When kids return to the OneHeart campus shortly after 3 p.m., they are excited to tell their buddies on the Life Safety & Residential Support (LSRS) Team about their day at school.

“Many of these children have really taken to members of my team,” said Wayne Asscherick, OneHeart’s Director of Operations & Residential Life. “We have the opportunity to talk to them in the morning, drive them to school, and welcome them back at the end of their day.”

The LSRS Team is comprised of nine men and women, some in part-time positions, who keep the campus secure but, more importantly, contribute to the supportive environment OneHeart aims to create for guests. "We try to build a positive relationship with them and help them embrace the community we are trying to build here,” LSRS Team member Fred Baxter said.

“If one of our guests is navigating troubled waters, then I expect the LSRS Team to notice,” Asscherick said. “I want them to talk to the guest and encourage them whenever possible. We can also activate the other parts of the program, mainly the Care Coordinators, inform them of what we are seeing, and then the Care Coordinator can make plans to contact the guest to help them along their pathway.”

The LSRS Team is a key aspect of campus programming, according to OneHeart Transformation Director Chad Ratigan.

“They interact with the guests on a more frequent level than our Care Coordinators, and the communication between our departments is amazing,” he said. "When people think of ‘security,’ it can put a bad taste in their mouth, but our LSRS Team members are amazing, kind-hearted, and mission-focused individuals. It shows in how the guests interact with them!”

Ratigan says it also has proven beneficial for program participants to live in a place that not only is secured 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but also has security staff on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Our guests are extremely thankful knowing that they don't have to worry about negative influences or past abusers being able to get on campus,” he said. “This means they can come out of crisis mode and start focusing on their goals and put themselves and their family first. A guest told me that not having to look over her shoulder all the time was a great feeling.”

One benefit for members of the LSRS Team is knowing they play a part in someone’s journey toward a better life.
“I have spent the last 25 years trying to help people,” Baxter, a retired police officer, said. “Sometimes you saw the change, but most times you didn’t. Here, you can see it firsthand and can be proud of it and what they are doing to get where they want to be.”

“I have had a few team members tell me they want to stay here for a long time,” Asscherick said. “They have found this job so fulfilling that it has changed them.”

“The children and guests make me feel like I’m not coming to work, but I’m coming in to see an extension of my own family,” LSRS Team member Jonathon Goolsby said.

And just as kids like to bring artwork home to their families, some OneHeart guests like to bring artwork to LSRS. “Behind our desk is a display of artwork that we cherish,” Asscherick said. “It is a tangible outpouring of the emotion and gratitude these children feel about OneHeart and the team of people who have come together to help them improve their own lives.”

Asscherick, also a retired law enforcement officer, said during his 23 years on the force, he was always amazed how there could be a myriad of issues in a city that impact the community, but what upsets people the most are quality of life concerns: the neighbor’s kid who speeds down the street; trash piling up in a vacant lot; and other problems that either make people feel unsafe or make them feel badly about their neighborhood. He said the same is true in OneHeart’s Residential Towers.

“Our guests want to feel comfortable in this environment,” Asscherick said. “They want to be proud of this small ‘community’ and belong to something greater. So this is the primary task of the LSRS Team – to create a welcoming environment where people feel safe and that they belong to something greater.”

Artist in Residence: This young guest loves to show her love for OneHeart!

A Heartfelt 'Thanks'
A huge and heartfelt "thank you" goes out to those who donated items for Easter baskets for OneHeart kids:
Rapid City Rush
Liv Hospitality - Watiki
Volunteers of America
Jonathon Goolsby
The Campus Count
The OneHeart campus welcomed the first guests just three months ago.

As of April 1, more than 60 people occupy the Family Tower, including 37 children. Another family of five is scheduled to move in soon.

The Men's and Women's towers are expected to open to individuals in the coming weeks. At last check, four single females and three single males were on the waiting list.
Coming Soon: On-site Clinic
Community Health Center of the Black Hills is slated to open its clinic at OneHeart this month.

CEO Tim Trithart says the clinic will likely be open one day a week beginning in mid-April, and Community Health will start adding days to the schedule from that point.

The clinic is "outward facing," meaning it will be accessible to members of the general public, as well as OneHeart guests.


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