Good Things, like Harbor House, Must Be Celebrated

Leigh Ann Yost, right, at the Harbor House breakfast

This morning, the Harbor House of Louisville hosted a breakfast at the Brown & Williamson Club at the football stadium, and everything that happened was good. If you weren’t moved by the stories of Harbor House’s good works, you would have smiled at the stage when a group of Harbor House residents enthusiastically sang a few songs.

You might have gotten teary-eyed at the video showing the sheer happiness of Harbor House participants, or laughed at the stories shared by Maria Smith, the CEO.

On the heels of the city’s generous support of the Crusade for Childen (And Republic Bank’s generous pitch-in to bring the total to last year’s level), it’s easy to overlook the good work of places like Harbor House, which helps developmentally disabled individuals by giving them activities to do and jobs, like stuffing envelopes, for local companies.

Leigh Ann Yost, who you may know as a local musician, is a Harbor House staffer who loves her job. She led a chorus of about a dozen residents through “Lean on Me” and “Amazing Grace.”

The charity has an ambitious growth plan, including putting a facility in the East End. The current location is off Dixie Highway in the South End. For those with mental disabilities, there’s often nothing to do once they are done with school. Many end up watching TV at home, alone.

Harbor House provides its participants with recreation, friendship and, in many cases, a job. Dick Swope, the auto dealer, told the 400 people at this morning’s breakfast that there are 30,000 individuals in the community who could benefit from Harbor House services.

Though the charity receives much of its budget from Medicaid, it needs to raise additional funding to reach more people and grow.