Today, we’re going to tell you a story. The Hello Story.
There once was a young, energetic, school-based speech-language pathologist named Sharon Soliday. Sharon loved her job – the kids most of all – and was busy at home with a small child of her own, too. Like many SLPs, she was adept at this juggling act, even if she went to bed many nights feeling like she couldn’t give her all to either position. She was a problem solver by nature, even garnering national attention when she developed a new work model that threaded the needle of providing better, more comprehensive service to kids while simultaneously reigning in the workload of SLPs.
The day came for our intrepid Sharon’s sweet child to enter public school, and she dreamily imagined dropping them off and saying goodbye at the classroom door. But how would that be possible, she wondered, when she had no flexibility with her job at a different school? It was then that she realized, of course, that she couldn’t be in both places at once. At that moment, the kernel of an idea that would later become The Hello Foundation was born.
Sharon left her job and struck out on her own, contracting with individual districts. It didn’t take long for her to see that there was an opportunity to bring real change to the lives of other clinicians in this new endeavor. She began reaching out to SLPs that she knew and trusted, those she had mentored as student clinicians and clinical fellows, presenting them with a straightforward idea: what if you could do the job you love and put kids first, but could maintain a healthier work-life balance? It was an enticing proposition, and so Sharon’s little project grew – 10 clinicians became 20, then 50, then 100.
Much has changed in the ensuing 20 years, ups and downs and all-arounds, as life, the profession, and the world have changed. But one thing has remained constant through it all: the ferocious and unshakable belief that special education professionals in the public schools can only do their best work for students when they themselves are well taken care of. Sharon dreamed a bigger dream for clinicians and families, and today we’re excited to share that dream is beginning a new chapter.
Hello is now partnering with Solace Pediatric Healthcare. Solace is primarily a pediatric home health company, and they share Hello’s values of putting kids first and taking care of staff. They are Colorado-based and currently serve families in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas. We are eager to explore the opportunities this will bring, including expanding our reach to a more significant number of professionals and children. Whether you’re new to the Hello story or have been here since Sharon wrote the first page, we hope you’ll join us in looking forward to a bright new future where we’ll continue to do the best for kids, families, and ourselves.