Our History

 

lynchburgHumanKind, formerly Presbyterian Homes & Family Services, has strengthened families and communities in many different capacities since 1903, changing our services to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Started as an orphanage by Presbyterians in Eastern Virginia, thousands of children grew up on our campus in Lynchburg due to difficult circumstances of their families. In the 1960’s, we dedicated resources to address the growing demand of young adults with intellectual disabilities. A training center was built in Zuni, Virginia to teach life and employment skills. Over time, Zuni adapted to changing needs and created long term supportive residences where today more than 40 adults live in community.

Through collaboration with communities and churches, more homes for adults with intellectual disabilities were developed in Fredericksburg, Waynesboro, Lynchburg, South Hill and Lexington. In our first 100 years, we fulfilled our mission by providing safe, healthy and loving homes first for children, then for adults with intellectual disabilities.

We have amazing stories of transformation for the children who grew up in our care. For our adults, we provide full and healthy lives with many recreational, spiritual and cultural opportunities.

Starting in 2008, we developed a range of high quality community based services for children and families responding to significant political pressure in Virginia to dramatically reduce the number of children in residential care. We also joined our efforts with those of another 100-year-old agency serving Central Virginia, The Family Alliance. We created a continuum of services ranging from prevention, education and healthy lifestyles for children to long-term residential care for adults.

For more than a decade there has been a shift away from residential homes for children to prevention, foster families, adoption and community-based services. We have been resilient and built momentum, awareness and success in this approach. Our mission to strengthen individuals and families through care, counseling and education has been consistent, providing guidance and assistance to those looking to live better and healthier lives.

With a strong commitment to increasing our impact, our staff and board adopted (in 2012) and introduced (in 2014) a brand that reflects our dynamic and inclusive culture. Respectful of our founders and appreciative of all who prepared the way, today, we are HumanKind. The name reflects our mission to serve people, to meet them where they are and be active in caring for their unique needs.

With care, counsel and education, we are building on a 100 years of faithful service to strengthen children, families and communities across our region. In our second century of service, our team of kind, helpful, smart, fun and insightful staff and volunteers is energized. We continually give thanks for the continued support of individual, church, corporate and foundation donors which sustain us.