Inspiring 815: Barbara Olson Center of Hope - – Rockford’s News Leader

Inspiring 815: Barbara Olson Center of Hope


Carm Herman has worked at the Barbara Olson Center of Hope for the past 23 years. 

"They come here to enhance their quality of life, and that's what we really try to do, is help them dream their dreams." said Herman, the Executive Director of the center.

But she actually started working with people who have developmental disabilities 45 years ago, for a personal reason.

"I'm the parent as well of someone with a disability, so it was important for us to really individualize our programs, to make sure that we were actually providing a service the individuals wanted." said Herman.

For Carm, being able to help and see the growth on the participants is indescribable. 

"To be able to see the changes that people make, to see the participants achieve more independence and do things for themselves, it's an incredible feeling." said Herman.

The same goes for the staff at the center.

"Working with these individuals with disabilities fills a part of my heart." said Cecily Conard.

While Carm and the rest of the staff are teaching these individuals to overcome different levels of obstacles, the participants are also teaching them.

"Being here, being engaged with these individuals and these participants, I think they inspire us." said Conard.

 "They really have a special way of inspiring us to be the best we can be, for them." said Herman.

Barbara Olson Center of Hope, Inspiring 815, by helping those with disabilities reach their dreams. 

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