Years ago when Lisa Hann was the director of Blair County Human Services, she noticed mothers bringing their babies to the Blair County Courthouse without the proper clothing to keep them warm.
With the help of Cathy Crum, the county's current director, the Toasty Toddler program was born, and 15 years later it is still providing outerwear for those under age 4 through the United Way Family Resource Center.
Hann said she feels great about her idea continuing to be effective with the community's backing.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Family Services Executive Director Lisa Hann looks over the books at Family Services Inc.
On Friday, Hann will officially take the reins as executive director of Family Services Inc., continuing her dedication to making a difference in the lives of others through her work.
Hann wants Family Services to come to peoples' minds as the place to turn for help.
"I just want us to be thought of first as a resource," she said. "And I want people to be aware of what we give back to the community."
Family Services delivers Meals on Wheels and supports the Central Pennsylvania Humane Society, as well as offering programs to help others including victims of domestic abuse and crime, those with intellectual disabilities and youth.
Someone might question why they provide the services they do to support those in need, but Hann doesn't consider it a hand out but a hand up instead in order for them to become fully-functioning community members, she said.
Even if the agency's doors were shuttered, those needy community members would still be struggling, she said.
Hann, who is from Carlisle but has lived in the area for 25 years, earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Juniata College in 1983. She then went on to earn a masters from Shippensburg University two years later.
Over the years, she has also worked for the Home Nursing Agency and Blair County Mental Health and Mental Retardation.
She spent 11 years working for county agencies, she said.
Before coming to Family Services, she worked at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, Huntingdon.
While she enjoyed working there and learned a lot during that time, she wanted to work more closely with a community, she said. Also, there was the long commute for the Altoona resident.
She wants to help build a safe and happy community for her children, too.
When she heard Mahlon R. Fiscel was retiring as the executive director for Family Services, she thought first how sad the departure was, but then also there was an opportunity presenting itself, she said.
The agency has gone through some changes of late with restructuring the board and gaining new leadership.
Longtime Family Services employees Rhonda Smith and Cheryl Gonsman were placed in the new positions of director of operations and development director, respectively.
They could not have ordered up a better leader than Hann, Smith said. She has earned respect among staff quickly, she said.
Right away, Hann got her bearings as to what did and did not work, Gonsman said. She found a "sense of ownership quickly," she said.
Hann, who has been learning the ins and outs of the agency and getting to know staff since July 30, has always wanted to help others, she said. Her family was that way, and money wasn't a driving force, she said.
"I had to be able to see a difference in other people's lives," she said.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.