It's a milestone for any organization to serve for 100 years. But one Capital Region group has well surpassed that benchmark. Our Erin Connolly has more on Vanderheyden in Troy, celebrating 180 years of service.
TROY, N.Y. -- Originally known as the Troy Orphan Asylum, it dates back to the early 1800s. In 1942, the name was changed to Vanderheyden Hall. And this week, the family care agency is celebrating 180 years of service in the Capital Region.
Vanderheyden's CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo said, "It began with very simple roots with a group of women in Troy that said we need find a way to help children and we're still doing that today, 180 years [later], so it's a thrilling experience to be a part of that."
Today, Vanderheyden has 34 locations and serves more than 300 people every day. The Bessey House in Troy serves 12 teenagers, some with special developmental, emotional or behavioral needs. It was once considered the "baby house" where babies were available for adoption.
Nicole Danaher, the Bessey House manager, said, "We've received pictures of kids with babies of their own, just different things to tell us you'll never believe I did this or that and you always knew they would."
In its 180 year history, Vanderheyden has overcome its share of struggles, from financial issues to fires. One in 1862, which destroyed the orphanage, the other in 1981, which destroyed the entire Spring Avenue site, except for the Bessey House.
Carpenter Palumbo said, "When I go back and read some of what's transpired throughout the history of Vanderheyden. It's so impressive."
For Vanderheyden's 350 employees, they say no job could be more rewarding. Graduation diplomas and inspirational signs adorn the Bessey House, tangible proof of success. Eighteen decades in the books, a new chapter to be written.
Carpenter Palumbo said, "We want to be the best place to live for those who need our care, the best place to go to school for those who need a therapeutic environment and the best place to work for the employees who are with us."
Celebrating the past and imagining more for the future.