Studio Two Show at BLACK BOX to Benefit HMEA

J.D. O’Gara
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

It’s that time of year – time come out of hibernation to support local the 4,000 children and adults with disabilities that are supported by Franklin-based HMEA. On February 24th, at 7 p.m., the Early Beatles Tribute band Studio Two will perform at the BLACK BOX, 15 West Central Street, Franklin. Tickets are $20, and all proceeds will support HMEA. The night will also include great food, raffles and a door prize. You can purchase tickets at
“This is our third or fourth year with THE BLACK BOX,” says Doug MacPherson, Vice President of Development and Public Relations for HMEA. “The event is limited to 200 tickets, and funds from that will go back to the technology program at HMEA. This event is really about community inclusion, and THE BLACK BOX has been great to us, really supportive, and so has the Town of Franklin.”
HMEA will specifically use those funds for tablets and technology for staff working with individuals in the field to employ real time data collection, says MacPherson. Staff need to be able to enter data on how well individuals are doing in their programs and what they need to change their lives. At one time, HMEA staff would have to take down information and later enter it all into an Excel spreadsheet back at the office, but now, they can work more efficiently.
Clients of HMEA also are using updated technology to enhance their lives.
“We find individuals learn much better with the use of a Chromebook,” he says. Individuals can also learn to use the technology for creating resumes and learning financial residency skills, he says.
In addition to expanding its use of technology, HMEA is working to update its mission to reflect its current practices and philosophy.
“Our mission was written in 1981,” says MacPherson. “These days, you’re much more prone to get individuals out of their houses and into the community more. We’re trying to update and show the diversity, not just race, gender and age of individuals we support but the diversity of the staff as well. And the key word is empowerment. It’s about the individuals being able to lead more independent lives, and how that diversity is helping our individuals become more independent.
MacPherson hopes to incorporate the words “teach, train and empower,” and the revamping of mission statement, he says, will not be undertaken from the top-down.
“We’re asked those implementing the programs what is important about what they do. They said, ‘We’re in this for them, the folks we’re supporting right here.’”
HMEA provides Family Support Services, has a Children’s Services Division and provides Day Habilitation and Residential Services. In recent years, says MacPherson, its Employment Services has exploded, with about 120 area employers hiring individuals. Employers in the Franklin area include such companies as Tegra Medical, the Franklin Elks Lodge, Marshall’s, Milford Hospital, BJ’s, Stop & Shop, Hockomock YMCA, Panera, Sodexo, Kuehne + Nagel, Magnolia Heights, T.J. Maxx and Galliford’s Restaurant.