Founded in 1962, Highfields was created to give those in need a second chance. Based on the concept that people can change if they have the right opportunities, Highfields offers an array of counseling, intervention, training and support services to individuals and families. Highfields has grown since its beginning as a small camp for troubled boys. “Today, that is actually one of our smallest programs. We now offer a continuum of services following the entire life span,” said Brian Philson, CEO of Highfields. “It began as the vision of a group of individuals who wanted to create a place where the families and children in Ingham county could get the help they needed.” Currently, Highfields offers help to individuals and families across Michigan. “We help them to identify outside help, for a variety of problems, because we’re not always going to be in their home walking them through problems,” said Sharla Hansen, Highfields Community Services Coordinator. “Community resources are important along with strong supports such as: church groups, family, friends and other supports in the community so they’ll do well even after we’re out of their home.” Highfields guides families in the right direction. “We believe that true change in an individual really needs to come about in the family context; we work really hard to engage the entire family to help an individual,” said Philson. Along with residential services, Highfields offers home-based services. “With our home-based services we meet the individuals wherever they’re at so we can come alongside them and get a true experience of what they’re facing and get them around a particular barrier,” said Philson. Hansen added, “Most of our home-based programs (are assigned based on) referrals through child protective service programs, and we provide in home counseling just to better the family situation, communication or identify mental health issues.” With an emphasis on family it’s no wonder that Bill Cosby is making a special video appearance at their 50th Anniversary Gala set for Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. “Cosby really identified with the importance of family, and the importance of good parenting skills that we promote,” said Philson.
Ellen Dowling is a student at Lansing Community College. She plans to transfer to a university where she intends on studying journalism. She loves photography, poetry, art and exploring the city she loves with her dog by her side.