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House of Possibilities, Inc. (HOPe)

 350 Washington Street
 North Easton, MA 02356
[P] (508) 205-0555 x 13
[F] (508) 205-0557
Paula Kavolius
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 13-4246859

LAST UPDATED: 01/28/2019
Organization DBA Children's Respite
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

Making a difference for children, adults and families, living with developmental challenges by providing high quality programs and much needed relief and hope.

Mission Statement

Making a difference for children, adults and families, living with developmental challenges by providing high quality programs and much needed relief and hope.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $1,342,738.00
Projected Expense $1,320,987.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Children’s Overnight Respite
  • Children’s Vacation Respite Camp HOPe
  • Children's Saturday Respite "Adventure Club”
  • Community Based Day Supports Program for Adults
  • Snack and Chat Teen Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Making a difference for children, adults and families, living with developmental challenges by providing high quality programs and much needed relief and hope.

Background Statement

The House of Possibilities, Inc. (HOPe) is an offspring of the Volunteer Information Agency, Inc. (VIA). VIA originated in Milton, Massachusetts and had been providing emergency financial support to the families of special needs children for over 35 years. The support had been typically a one time, specific problems that was alleviated by the financial support of VIA.

A member of the board of VIA, Paula Kavolius, who has a special needs child, recognized a critical shortage of quality respite at an "in-house" program" for families in need. Caring for a special child is 24/7 physically and emotionally exhausting job. As time went on, we realized that we were always helping people in crisis and our help, although significant, was a temporary patch in their hectic lives. We were fixing potholes, not the road.  Additionally, we recognized the need for a high-quality adult program that would allow individuals to continue to learn after high school and become as independent as possible.

Thus began the expanded mission of HOPe in 2003 to build a facility to provide sustained relief from the round the clock care of a significantly challenged child, youth or young adult.  Quality programming is the key to our mission. Families need to know that they are not alone and someone out there does care and not in just words.

We gained the support of Stonehill College through the grant of two acres of land on their Easton, Massachusetts campus.  Our relationship with Stonehill is a natural fit given their mission of educating the whole person, heart and mind. Stonehill students provide a core of volunteers and the benefits to both the server and the served are immeasurable. We have also been embraced by corporations, foundations, and individuals alike.

In 2009, we opened the doors of the first multi use facility on a college campus, with its primary focus; "respite" for children and families in the United States. 

Impact Statement

2016 Top Accomplishments:

Program Achievements1) More families served - We have increased the number of active clients by 11% and total service hours provided to 54,000.  2) Strengthening Families – We provided overnight respite “FREE” to 406 children and were able to subsidize community outings for over 600 children including children who attend more than one service. 3) Improved Quality of Life - HOPe provides the emergency relief that families with special needs rely on when there are simply no other alternatives. Not all families are equipped with the financial, physical, or emotional resources to give their special children the best possible environment to enable healthy growth and learning, so HOPe’s programs offer substantiated relief. 4) Staffing Achievements- 85% Retention rate which is exceptional in human services sector 5) Governance – We are delighted to report that our current board of directors has been with HOPe for 3 years or more demonstrating commitment to mission. 6) Financial - As we continue to grow at a solid rate, we have successfully raised necessary funds to meet demand of services. As a measure of our growth, we use compound annual growth rate (CAGR) which is the rate things have grown per year over a period of time. This 5 year CAGR for our programs has been 48% while the CAGR for expenses has been 28%.  Goals for FY17: 1) Increase numbers of children served 20% 2) Purchase new van to accommodate growth in programs 3Establish a "rainy day fund" to ensure that HOPe will be around for years to come. 4) Complete due diligence for feasibility of another HOPe House in Boston. 5) Commence an emergency or planned respite program called, "HOPe in the Home". 6) Increase staff by 10% to meet needs of demand. 7) Increase fundraising support by 10%. Hire Development support to assist President with fundraising for expansion programs. 8) Explore potentiality of collaborating with other providers for expanded services. 

Needs Statement

1) Complete feasibility study to determine potentiality of a "HOPe house" in Boston within 3 years $20,000 2) Add Development manager to handle all back office tasks pertaining to events, Gala, etc. $50,000 3) Hire 5 part time staff to meet the needs of weekend programs 40,000 4) Purchase a handicap accessible van $50,000 5) Update strategic plan to reflect aggressive new vision. $5,000 

CEO Statement

There is a critical and burgeoning need for in-house respite in Massachusetts for families caring for children with significant challenges. HOPe is the only multi-use facility situated on a college campus designed and dedicated to improving the quality of life for children having developmental delays.  Team HOPe has worked hard to establish itself as a premier respite facility in the state of Massachusetts serving children with special needs.  

HOPe provides consistent quality care in a homelike setting staffed by skilled employees who are available to assist the clients in the pursuit of their dreams.  High quality, person-centered programs are designed to educate and challenge each person to learn and achieve the greatest level of independence possible using the most advanced adaptive equipment available.  We are pioneers in the industry and aspire to help more families. We do not receive any funding for our children’s programs and rely on the community to support our most needy families. 


Board Chair Statement

Due to the fact that we stand alone in our service model for families, the demand for our services outweighs our capacity. In seven short years, we are at full capacity and require additional van as well as staffing to accommodate growth in 2017. Additionally, since in excess of 50% of our families earn less than $25,000/annually, we require fundraising to provide the critically needed supports. We recently hired a Development Associate to assist with fundraising and I have full confidence that HOPe led by a solid and deeply engaged board led by Kavolius will achieve the fundraising goals of the organization. We intend to develop feasibility plan to address capacity issues in 2017. 

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Geographic area served is all of Massachusetts. HOPe is one of the few facilities that offer weekend overnight respite facility for kids. 

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Children's and Youth Services
  2. Youth Development - Single Organization Support
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Children’s Overnight Respite

Dear Friends,
Our services are explained more fully on our website, but here is a brief listing:

Respite is a Critically Needed Support for Children and Families

HOPe’s Overnight Respite Program (ONR) is the flagship service offering at the House of Possibilities and the only one of its kind in the state of Massachusetts. Our ONR is 100% privately funded. During the weekends, HOPe becomes a “home away from home” for many special needs children and their families.

For caregivers, the financial, physical, and emotional stress of caring 24/7 for a child with developmental challenges can be overwhelming and susceptible to impact the entire family unit - creating additional anxiety. This is why we believe that occasional relief from the demands of being “on” nonstop is vital for the entire family’s health. We believe that all of our families should have available access to the crucial relief of respite; therefore, ONR is free of charge.

ONR provides a nurturing environment in the HOPe House where children ages 8-21 can engage in a kid-centric environment supported by our highly qualified staff. Children spend an overnight with their friends, participate in a variety of activities, and develop valuable life skills. Activities include preparing dinner, baking, reading, playing games, and socializing.

ONR gives our families a night off to relax and recharge from the day-to-day and they are able to rest assured knowing their special needs child is receiving the very best in care while having fun. This program is run every weekend throughout the year.

Budget  $200,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

The success of HOPe’s ONR is immediate and significant. In addition to the children engaging in life coaching and making friends, the impact on the family is life changing. Families in crisis have a place to turn where most have none. Siblings receive parent time most sacrifice for the needs of disabled child, keeping their confidence and self-importance intact. Marriages strained by the 24/7 exhausting demands of caretaking are able to reconnect and rejuvenate. Many families come to us on the brink of institutionalizing their child and with our respite solutions we keep these families intact and children at home. Impact is proven in our surveys, where caregiver stress reduces by over 65% after HOPe, health and mental wellness by 70%. 85% of the children realized improved social and independent living skills. Our programs are literally live altering. ONR is free to all families, and the fiscal savings to the alternative of institutionalization benefits all residents of MA.

Program Long-Term Success 

Caring for a child with a developmental disability is a lifelong labor of love and patience most will never understand. Demands of daily care can be exhausting and lead to sacrifice of one’s health, marriage, attention to other children; the entire family unit’s well being. Statistics show depression is the most common disorder of caregivers and report 5x more sicknesses yearly than the general population. Studies show families utilizing respite for over a year realize a 70% decrease in hospitalization, doctor visits, and in antibiotic use. With this, our long term goal centers on overall wellbeing for parents, caregivers and siblings, by enabling a break for themselves and each other. Our goal, simply stated, is to keep families healthy and intact. Additionally, by providing a second “home” to our guests, with love and compassion we teach life skills and help foster lifelong friendships. Long term, this allows for the potential of happy, less dependent living into adult life.

Program Success Monitored By 

We evaluate our projects both quantitatively and qualitatively. In other words, we measure number of children served, towns children come from, service hours, programs attended as well as the impact that our services have on families which we learn through our parent and stakeholder surveys. Founded in 2009, we began ONR with children from just 10 communities. In 2015, HOPe served 214 children from 59 towns throughout MA and provided 13,884 service hours. In 2016, we experienced significant growth serving 309 children, 83 towns, and providing 15,080 service hours. In 2016 we expanded our ONR to include Friday nights because of overwhelming demand, and still have waitlists. Feedback includes, “Without HOPe, I don’t believe our family would have survived.” The crucial need of this ‘oxygen mask’ for families is evident in all our reporting tools but even more so in the faces of our families.

Examples of Program Success 

Molly has a dynamic personality and is full of life and humor, but she is the entire focus of her family. “Molly goes full speed ahead and you have to keep up with her,” said her mother Lisa. With sole attention on Molly, Lisa felt that her siblings were not getting enough attention and the family was suffering. There was a time when her parents felt that Molly needed special care and attention that would only be found outside of the home. At her wit's end, Molly’s mother found refuge at HOPe. “HOPe enables Molly to get out her energy and be happy while I manage life at home, work and our other children. Molly walks into HOPe like she owns it,” said Lisa. Molly struggles with sleep, but the ONR program allows her to do the things she enjoys, while being properly cared for overnight. Lisa said, “Molly loves to cook and bake. The staff soothes her at night when she can’t sleep.” Meanwhile, her family is reconnecting, knowing Molly is well cared for and coming home the next day.

Children’s Vacation Respite Camp HOPe

Vacation Respite Camp HOPe is offered during school vacations. (5 weeks of year for 4 days) Each day camper enjoys a new and exciting activity and field trip every day the camp is held. Additionally, they will enjoy arts and crafts, music and much more.

It is a perfect opportunity to bring a little joy, fun and structure to a family’s vacation that has been a burden, a struggle and sometimes even a nightmare in the past. Along with fun field trips and activities the campers learn and improve on their social and behavioral social skills.

 Recent Camp HOPe Adventures include:

  • Trombetta Farm
  • Newport Winter Festival
  • Patriots Place
  • The Hall at Patriots Place
  • The Butterfly Place
  • Prudential SkyWalk Observatory
Budget  $20,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Impact of this program is found well before the student arrives at HOPe, in the simple form of accessibility of care, a huge stress reliever to the caretaker. Knowing one’s child is scheduled for Camp HOPe, parents begin to excite the child with fun filled agendas and field trips. It gives the entire family something to look forward to. Throughout and following the week of Camp, families hear stories of trips to the Prudential Sky Tower, Patriots Place, the Butterfly Place, and similar destinations, and hold treasures of creations made by their child from programs in our home.

HOPe’s overall short term goal is peace of mind for families, and to bring joy and happiness to a child. Exit survey’s show 95% of caregivers using HOPe stated their child’s life improved. 90% state that their mental, physical and emotional health improved.

Program Long-Term Success 

Camp HOPe is a program that coincides with school vacations, a time especially challenging for families balancing work and structure for their challenged loved one. In 2015 the program increased to 4 days due to demand allowing more continuity for families.

24/7 childcare leave families often exhausted and feeling hopeless for reprieve. The layer of demand to provide structure and care increases greatly during the summer months and school holidays, impacting the stress level of the entire family unit. With Camp HOPe, children will continue to have access to our highly skilled staff and person centered programming, allowing for individualized growth and families will have a consistent, sustainable respite from the unspeakable challenge of caring for a child with significant needs. Our long term vision is to provide a home away from home during all breaks throughout the year in order to make a difference for children, adults and families, living with developmental challenges.

Program Success Monitored By 

We monitor success of this program through attendance, families served and surveys. Surveys are conducted prior to schedule release to determine which weeks work best for the majority of our families.

Following the week at CAMP HOPe, families are sent satisfaction and suggestion surveys. We share this information with our staff and adjust our programming appropriately. Our 2016 survey’s indicated 100% of parents and caregivers were satisfied, 90% highly satisfied. Attendance from 2015 to 2016 increased 94%, almost double. Feedback from parents is telling including and include: “Vacation days at HOPE are filled with action and fun for him which we can't replicate.” Even more impactful, “HOPe has made a difference by allowing me to keep a good job. The struggle for finding a great, loving place for my son during these breaks is thankfully over.”

Examples of Program Success 

Bailey loves hayrides, trampoline parks and going out to dinner. She may be wheelchair bound and nonverbal, but she knows how to have a good time. Before HOPe, socializing was hard for Bailey and she had few friendships. “She became used to being excluded and now she has a supportive community of friends.” Bailey’s family was seeking a place where she can engage in activities and make friends. Also, with both parents working full time, respite for Bailey helped the family find routine. One example of Bailey’s success came with a Camp HOPe cookout her mother was able to attend. Sitting at the head of the table was something she had never done before. “Bailey eats pureed food and seeing her enjoying herself with her friends at the head of the table brought me great joy and laughter. She would have never done that before.” Watching her daughter experience community through activities and new friendships makes her feel like Bailey has found happiness. “I finally feel like, I found it!”

Children's Saturday Respite "Adventure Club”

Social Club and Fun in the Community

We serve children, youth and young adults (8-21) with special needs, excluding severe behavioral challenges or acute medical needs. We provide special focus on social skills which enhance the lives of families, friends and communities while increasing self-esteem and improving interpersonal skills of children and youth. HOPe's Adventure Club program offers opportunities for children, youth and young adults to participate in outings that enrich their lives. Adventure Club takes groups of 6-15 individuals on excursions, three Saturdays a month.

This program provides activities including community outings, adaptive exercise, arts & crafts, nature walks, pet therapy, adaptive living enhancements, gardening, games, music, sports and more. These activities are in direct alignment with our program goals. Specific examples include: adaptive physical education enables children to learn that sports and recreation come in a variety of forms and are essential to healthy cognitive and social development. Another example is when we take behaviorally challenged children into the community, we are assisting both the child and the family to learn how to navigate the outside world. A final example is a trip to a restaurant with staff and peers will enhance a child’s daily living skills (eating, drinking etc.).

Budget  $235,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

The break to breathe is vital in order to stabilize, re-energize, recoup, and pay attention to often overlooked needs, such as another relationship or one’s health. In a recent survey, we found without respite, 88% of caretakers report strained relationships with other family members, 78% with the person needing care. Astoundingly, those numbers lower to 22% and 11% respectively after utilizing HOPe services. Additionally, 91% of caretakers reported moderate to extreme stress before HOPe, which fell to 35% after HOPe.

Our children’s challenges are typically so significant they often do not get out into the community. HOPe’s staff is highly qualified and at a minimum 2:1 ratio, our children experience a myriad of environments to encourage safety and exposure to all the world has to offer while making lasting friendships. As one family states, “HOPe is the only break my family has, and it improved my son’s quality of life.”

Program Long-Term Success 

Nonstop care of a significantly challenged child is demanding and exhausting, leaving families stuck in the grinding repetition of highly attentive, hands on interaction. This creates tremendous tension within marriages and neglect to siblings, to the detriment of everyone’s health; depression is the most common disorder. Yet studies report caregivers participating in respite for over a year realize a 70% decrease in hospitalization, doctor visits and in antibiotic use.

Adventure Club is in extreme demand at HOPe due to the significance felt amongst family members. This club engages our kids in a multitude of experiences and fosters life-long friendships children with disabilities struggle to form. For caregivers, the full day break of 24/7 care provides rest, bonding with other family members, or an opportunity to care for themselves - keeping them physically and emotionally healthy. Our ultimate goal is that every caregiver have one simple Saturday per month to rely on to breathe.

Program Success Monitored By 

We monitor success through client count, services attended, service hours, surveys, staff feedback, and if possible, client feedback.

In 2016 our active Adventure Club client count increased to 114, over 58% from the year prior reaching 83 cities and towns from the Boston area and surrounding communities. Services attended increased by 22.75% and service hours, 21.4%. Unfortunately we continue to have to wait-list children wanting to participate. Bi-yearly, we survey our staff and caretakers on adventure preferences and obtain feedback on other dynamics of the program including time frame, travel distances, special needs and requests.

Examples of Program Success 

Ja’kahrie is a 14 year boy with a bright smile and loveable disposition. After searching for a place where he can be adequately taken care of, his parents found HOPe. “This organization is appropriately called HOPe,” said Kathy, Ja’kahrie’s mother. “Ja’kahrie is a good kid, but just can't join in any kind of activities. HOPe is a place where he has friends and peers—a place where he can go and be himself, he can be comfortable and feel safely taken care of.” With limited cognitive and language abilities, Ja’kahrie is incredibly socially based and searches for ways to connect with people.“It's sad it seems that this society, that we have created and are a part of, doesn't have much space for children who are "different" and don't fit in. There is precious little empathy for them or their families,” said Kathy.

At HOPe, Kathy and Chris feel that the staff is unfailingly positive, optimistic, respectful and welcoming and see their son flourish, while enjoying a break for each other.

Community Based Day Supports Program for Adults

This program provides day supports to adults with developmental disabilities. These individuals receive up to thirty hours per week of services depending on the needs of the individual. The program is designed to meet the needs of individuals. Individuals are supported in a variety of different need areas including vocational, skill building, community integration, and recreation. Clients may volunteer at different sites in the community. These activities help gain confidence. Our staff is here to help clients reach their fullest potential as self-confident, self-reliant, responsible adults. This is what one parent recently said about the program, "I think it's the best program in the area”.
  • HOPe is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation facilities (CARF).
  • HOPe provides skills training and in areas of self-help, sensory-motor, communication, social, independent living, behavior and affective development.
  • HOPe operates five days a week and provides services to clients from 9:00-3:00
Budget  --
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

All individuals attending our CBDS programs differ in disability and also interest. Short term success coincides with everything from proper placement and increased independence within our vocational opportunities, to establishing a trusting, caring relationship 1:1 with our exceptional staff. Individuals learn to shop and cook simple meals to improve their independent living skills and also give back to their community by volunteering at several local establishments including Meals on Wheels, Brockton Food Bank, Sinai Hospital and Stonehill College to name a few.

Our highly qualified staff members support each person to increase and improve their social and functional skills, in accordance with their own Individual Services Plan (ISP) developed in partnership with DDS, client’s caregiver(s) and HOPe’s staff. Each client is evaluated and assigned target goals. If client falls short of target goals, a performance improvement plan is put in place to better serve the individual.

Program Long-Term Success 

The Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program supports adults with developmental disabilities ages twenty-two and older. This vibrant program focuses on supporting each participant to reach their own individual potential. To increase and improve social and functional skills, individuals work 1:1 and in small groups with highly qualified staff members. Organizational goals for this program include supporting participants to live and function in the community to the best of their ability with access to volunteer and vocational opportunities with minimum support from staff. Our ultimate success is keeping our guests out of institutions and active to their capacity, while providing daytime respite for their loving families.

Program Success Monitored By 

Success is monitored semi annually and annually for each individual with the ISP before mentioned.

Examples of Program Success 

Andrew M arrived a HOPe in a wheel chair and with one word. He had visual problems and slept most of the day. One year later, Andrew is up and walking ¼ mile around the track. Andrew no longer sleeps most of the day away and is speaking in full sentences.

Snack and Chat Teen Program

Meal Planning, Cooking, and Enjoying while Learning Together!

HOPe provides social skills opportunities while practicing valuable daily life lessons. HOPe provides opportunities to enhance social skills while practicing valuable daily lessons. The social nature of each session structured around meal preparation and cooking enables individuals to develop friendships and work collaboratively with their peers on common goals including planning a meal, shopping, food preparation and then sharing a meal in a group setting. Members of the group have the opportunity to improve in areas such as communication, decision-making, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, interpersonal skills, and self-organization.

Qualified staff spend time creating meal plans that integrate nutritional education. Aside from creating and cooking a meal, they discuss the important benefits of how food can support and heal the body. Monthly and weekly themes are created around the year, using local farm fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Budget  $25,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Children & Youth Services
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

Snack and Chat is offered in 6 week sessions and hosted by our highly skilled staff and in-house nutritionist. Our short term successes include adaptive learning, by navigating a kitchen, preparing a meal, or achieving the ability to independently address other issues that arise, specific to the gender and needs of the teen, including hygiene or social issues. HOPe engages with every child, regardless of the severity of disability, so short term success will vary. In regards to cooking, however, if we are able to teach 100% of able teens to prepare a meal that physically and cognitively is able to, the program is deemed a success. With teens that cannot achieve this, exposure to new healthy choices and social interaction is the goal. Building relationships with loving adults outside of the home, each child will come away with a new friend and resource when in need.

Program Long-Term Success 

Teenagers with significant developmental challenges have particular needs both physical and mental, many still have cognitive abilities of a young child. Although every child is different, our Snack and Chat program is a place for teens not only to share and engage with their peers, but to learn life skills that may keep them independent as they become adults. The impact of this program is significant to the families and to society as a whole. According to the MA Dept. of Developmental Services, funding outlays for community based respite range 38-42.7% less that institutionalization, resulting in an annual cost savings of $65-85,000 per individual. Long term, we would like all developmentally disabled teens to experience Snack and Chat programs weekly.

Program Success Monitored By 

Snack and Chat’s success is monitored by attendance, enrollment, and surveys. In 2015, Snack and Chat reported 26 active teenagers. 2016 reported significant growth with 42, a 61.54% increase. Services attended increased by 30% and service hours over 35%. Although a targeted audience, these clients are experiencing life-long lessons and learning real life skills to help them thrive into adulthood. Survey’s report nothing like this program exists for these kids and families are coming away grateful and excited for the new skills their teens have achieved.

Examples of Program Success 

“As a friend of someone who has the privilege of attending HOPe, I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable progress and support this program has provided this young man and his family. What HOPe does for families of these very special children and adults is truly amazing and remarkable. Paula and her entire staff have been put on this earth to do the job they give unconditionally, each and every day no matter how difficult the challenge is. They have improved the quality of life for those who attend this program as well as the parents and siblings of these very special individuals. God bless all of you and all you do for others.” Patty R.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Challenges that we face currently are
1) Increased demand necessitates an increase in infrastructure; such as, vans, staffing, etc.
2) Fundraising required to accommodate increased demand
3) Due to fact that we have small (6) full time staff, all are stretched thin and wear multiple hats. 


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Paula A. Kavolius
CEO Term Start Sept 2009
CEO Email
CEO Experience Paula A. Kavolius is the Founder, CEO and President of the House of Possibilities, Inc. (HOPe). She oversees HOPe's operations which include community outreach, corporate and foundation collaborations, reporting to various agencies, monitoring for compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and oversight of all of implementation of policies and procedures.  As the parent of a developmentally disabled child, Paula responded to the need for high quality care that actively engages and helps these special individuals become the best they can be. She is a pioneer in the area of children's respite services and relentless advocate for those with disabilities. While Paula wears many hats in her role as Administrator, she enjoys overseeing the children's services, including the Overnight and Weekend Respite, teen programs such as Saturday Night Live and adult programs including Community Based Day Supports and the Day Habilitation Program at HOPe. Paula utilizes her corporate experience as Director and Treasurer at VIA, Inc., Client Liaison at Massachusetts General Hospital, Sales Representative for Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics, Consultant for Dun & Bradstreet Software Services and Controller of J.F. McDonald Co., Inc. in running the day to day operations at HOPe. In addition to her Bachelor of Science at Boston College, Paula has completed coursework towards her MBA at Bentley University.
Co-CEO Mr. John Giusti
Co-CEO Term Start Aug 2011
Co-CEO Email
Co-CEO Experience

John Giusti has been with House of Possibilities since August 2011. As Executive Director at HOPe, he is responsible for the overall program management of the array of adult and children day programs and additional responsibilities pertaining to other HOPe programs. The Executive Director management function entails leading, planning, implementation and assessment of services to ensure that client's needs are being met, and that services are of the highest quality. John has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.  Prior to joining HOPe, John was the director at The Price Center’s intensive day habilitation program in Dedham.  He led a team consisting of nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, a behaviorist, three developmental specialists and 15 direct care workers.  John was instrumental in growing the program from 28 members up to a capacity of 49 members.  The program serves as a model for individuals with severe cognitive and physical delays.  John has over 20 years of experience in the human service field.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association The Division of Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


HOPe collaborates with Stonehill College,  Department of Developmental Disabilities, Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC's), Best Buddies, Challenger League and Rodman Ride for Kids.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The biggest challenges facing our organization over the next 12 months are strategic in nature. We have accomplished our 3 year strategic plan and are working to amend the next 3-5 years to meet the critical need for respite services. Additionally, we need to fundraise to offset proposed expansion of services. Many opportunities exist for collaboration with other providers to meet the burgeoning needs of families.

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 51
Number of Volunteers 200
Number of Contract Staff 4
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 5
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 50
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 45
Male: 11
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Directors and Officers Policy
Employment Practices Liability
Medical Health Insurance
Professional Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. Thomas Leaver
Board Chair Company Affiliation Monument View Advisors, LLC
Board Chair Term Jan 2013 - Dec 2020
Board Co-Chair Dr. Raphael Castro
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation ICCD Partners
Board Co-Chair Term Dec 2014 - Dec 2020

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
John Billingsley Papa Ginos/ D'Angelos Voting
Dr. Raphael Castro Integrated Center for Child Development Voting
Lauren M. Hamilton Vice President, Board of Directors Voting
Paula A. Kavolius House of Possibilities, Inc. Voting
Tom Leaver Monument View Advisors Voting
Shawni Littlehale Pioneer Institute's Better Government Competition Voting
Marie Mercier Esq. Private Law Practice Voting
Carmel A. Shields Shields Health Care Group Voting
Katie Terino Riverbend School Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 6
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 6
Board Term Limits 6
Board Meeting Attendance % 95%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Investment

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

As HOPe enters into its eighth year of operation, it is moving into a new stage in the lifecycle of an organization - mature/sustainability. As a result, we need to understand and articulate the distinctions that separate us from other providers; ensure that we can meet the revenue and capital needs of a growing organization and formalize our governance structure. 

HOPe has experienced significant growth in all key programs. Waitlists exist for most programs.  Our programming has matured making us uniquely qualified to offer services to children.  HOPe stands alone in offering weeknight and weekend programs that supplement the services that children are receiving in school. HOPe offers programs that emphasize socialization skills, allow children to experience activities in the Greater Boston community and spend the night in our beautiful home. The overnight respite for children is what makes HOPe unique.  One of our greatest current challenges is the fact that we have more demand than we are able to handle. We need to invest in additional transportation and staffing. We are blessed with a deeply committed board of directors. They place a priority on ensuring that HOPe has the financial resources necessary to continue on its growth path. We are committed to learning what is required to lead organization at each stage of growth and actively pursue best practices and leadership insights so as to maximize efficiency of organization. 


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2016 to June 30, 2017
Projected Income $1,342,738.00
Projected Expense $1,320,987.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

Audit Documents

2015 Audited Financials

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Audited Financials

2012 Audited Financials

2011 Audited Financials

2010 Audited Financials

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $1,410,984 $1,153,559 $849,342
Total Expenses $1,282,362 $1,084,402 $909,448

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $532,107 $316,110 $243,202
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $603,642 $580,880 $518,323
Investment Income, Net of Losses $19,049 $18,060 $15,072
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $256,186 $238,509 $72,941
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- $-196

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $1,071,495 $901,581 $747,633
Administration Expense $154,755 $132,026 $151,607
Fundraising Expense $56,112 $50,795 $10,208
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.10 1.06 0.93
Program Expense/Total Expenses 84% 83% 82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 7% 9% 3%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $3,475,442 $3,317,305 $3,239,167
Current Assets $1,536,808 $1,304,166 $1,155,383
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $55,447 $25,931 $16,950
Total Net Assets $3,419,996 $3,291,374 $3,222,217

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 24.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 27.72 50.29 68.16

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

There are many challenges HOPe faces in sustaining this first-of-its-kind model of respite for children having special needs. There is no state funding for any of the children's programs and this is coupled with the fact that the population we serve is considered an "underclass" with a national earning average of less than $25,000 annually. We aggressively seek funding from individuals, foundations, corporations, however, the need is and will be ongoing. Sustainability is and always will be our greatest challenge in providing critically needed services. In essence, we have addressed a social injustice by providing a critically needed service to struggling families. Coupled with our challenges are tremendous opportunities for serving families. Currently,  there are over 125,000 children in MA with special needs. There is tremendous need for our services. If we can engage corporate supporters to all chip in, we can continue to expand our efforts to put the oxygen mask back on struggling families. 

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

 Respite care refers to temporary relief for caregivers and families.  It is a non-medical service in which care is provided to children with disabilities or with chronic or terminal illnesses, or to children at risk of abuse and neglect.  It can take the form of in-home care or out-of-home care; and the latter can take various organizational formats: at a camp, within a day care setting, hospital-based, etc.  Some respite programs are dedicated to serving individuals with a specific illness or special need.  Very few respite programs, however, provide assistance at an in-house facility with staffing who are skilled in working with youth and adults with special needs. House of Possibilities is one of those.

 The Need for Support – 

Caring for a special-needs child or adult can be a physically and emotionally exhausting, round-the-clock commitment for families. There are multiple manifestations of the stress that can erode family stability when one member is a child with special needs, not the least of which is fatigue due to the constant caregiving tasks required for their child's health and well-being.  With so much of the caregiving family’s focus on the member with special needs, their loving commitment leads them to overlook their own personal emotional and health needs.  Studies have found that in comparison to the general population:

The divorce rate among families with special needs children is 80%.[i]
Caregivers of children are twice as likely as the general adult population to say they are in fair/poor health (26% vs. 13%)2A 
Three-fifths of family caregivers age 19-64 surveyed recently by the Commonwealth Fund reported fair or poor health, one or more chronic conditions, or a disability, compared with only one-third of non-caregivers. Caregivers reported chronic conditions at nearly twice the rate of non-caregivers. [ii]B
Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely. This level of stress can take as much as 10 years off a family caregiver’s life.
Depression appears to be the most common disorder with 30% to 59% of caregivers reporting depressive disorders or symptoms.[iii] Depression is a significant risk factor for common chronic conditions, such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes.[iv]
A large proportion of children with disabilities and other special needs are in low-income families. In 1997-1998, 41%  of families with infants and toddlers who received early intervention services earned less than $25,000 a year, which is at or below the poverty level for a family of 4 in Massachusetts in 2016 ($24,300). Another 29 percent earned $25,000 to $50,000 a year. [v]
[i] Thorpe, Jen, Divorce Rates Higher Among Couples With Special Needs Children. 

2A Caregivers of Children: A Focused Look at Those Caring for a child with Speical Needs Under the Age of 18. National Alliance for caregiving in collaboratin with AARP. November 2009.

2B Lifespan Respite. National Respite Coalition Task Force. Benefits and Cost-Savings Due to Respite

3 Epel, Elissa S., Dept. of Psychiatry, Univ of California, SF, et al, From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Dec 7, 2004, Vol 101, No. 49
4  Caregiver Depression: A Silent Health Crisis.  Family Caregiver Alliance. September 2003. Cohen et al., 1990; Family Caregiver Alliance, 2001; Mittelman et al., 2002. 
5 Caregiver Depression: A Growing Mental Health Concern. Cannuscio, Jones, Kawachi, Colditz & Berkman, 2002; National Institute of Mental Health, 2001.

[v] Children’s Defense Fund.

Long term success is when we have changed the paradigm of support for families on a national scale. We will know we have been successful when every city in US has a House of Possibilities. 

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

In 2017, we will convene an exploratory committee to research the potentiality of expansion of our critically needed services. 

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

House of Possibilities opened it's doors in 2009 to become the first multi use respite house on a college campus, namely, Stonehill College in the United States. Our internal resources are solid. We currently have a well managed budget and staff. Due to the fact that many of our services occur on the weekends when families need help the most, the majority of our staff have full time jobs in education.  For a grassroots organization, we have a particular strength in staff retention. Over the past year, our staff retention rate is 85% and for the past two years, staff retention is 67%. Additionally, 64% of our staff have Bachelors and/or Master's degrees. 
The relationship with Stonehill has been remarkable allowing for a win-win-win relationship. Students gain experiential learning opportunities, children receive extraordinary support, HOPe is afforded hundreds of volunteers to keep costs of programs affordable for families. Our budget has grown to 1.4M  We have expanded our services to over 80 cities and towns and have provided an estimated 60,000 hours of service in 2016.
In addition to the extraordinary partnership with Stonehill College, we collaborate with local businesses and individuals who provide work/volunteer opportunities and financial support for our programs.  We collaborate with Last year we collaborated with local business, foundations, schools, churches, providers, and many support agencies. 
We are nearing capacity in our Easton location and are revered as the premier in-house respite facility serving children with special needs. Due to our expertise, fiscal conservatism, extensive collaboration network and influence in our sector, we are commencing an exploratory committee who will determine the potentiality of a second house in greater Boston area.  Our strong Board of Directors leads the organization in building a financial foundation through guidelines that have rendered us debt free and help us build reserves for investment in our future. Our vision for the future includes continued growth as an innovative leader.  The community has responded with a strong desire to become involved in our programs, which all currently have waiting lists. 
We aspire to be the national leader for children's in house respite and believe we are on our way to achieving this vision.  

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We will know we are making progress when we achieve the following milestones: 1) Meet with any/all potential key players for initiative 2) Identify and/or chat with any/all potential collaborators 3) Identify potential college partners 4) Identify potential individuals for board 5) Identify potential funding streams 6) Develop full financial plan for sustainability

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

We have created a list of potential colleges that may partner with us.  Board has agreed to move forward with exploratory committee and has named 3 members of board to be part of process.