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You Belong Story Archive

Homesteads for Hope Customer Story

Homesteads for Hope fills a critical need for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, providing an inclusive space to learn, work, live and grow in nature’s classroom. These opportunities, as well as community events and programs led by Program Director, Rebecca Tschudy, are open for people of all abilities to enjoy. As the Homesteads’ mission progresses with help from partners like ESL, our entire community reaps the transformative benefits of belonging to something bigger.

Philippe “Flip”

Philippe “Flip” is now living his best life after purchasing his first home. But getting there was a long and difficult journey that began after Flip spent 15 years living in a long-term care facility. Battling a broken system to become his own guardian, Flip defied the institution’s discharge norms. His therapist, Heather Burroughs, saw his determination and became a friend and an advocate of his mission. Flip’s team of supporters grew with Jacqueline Riorden, Senior Fiduciary Officer of ESL Trust Services, LLC., who helped Flip access critical homebuying resources. After finally finding a space that provided the independence he had been dreaming of, Flip says, “I am the man of my own house. I am finally free.”

Sue and Bob

Sue and Bob, married for 38 wonderful years, are enjoying life in Churchville with their kids and grandkids, and thinking about how they’ll spend time in retirement in a few years. As lifelong residents of the area, Sue and Bob appreciate this close-knit community that looks out for one another. They share that connectedness through their work (Sue is a massage therapist and Bob is a machinist/engineer), involvement in the Churchville Soccer Association, and small gestures of kindness toward others that bring more happiness. Sue added, “I can’t change the world, but I can help one person at a time.”


Wally is the President of Wm. B. Morse Lumber Co., a local family business started five generations ago in 1853. For more than 160 years, the organization has provided the materials builders have used to develop neighborhoods and businesses all around the Greater Rochester region. “We’ve helped to build the community in the most tangible sense,” Wally said. Providing good employment is another way the company contributes to the circle of community support. Wally ensures the Morse legacy will remain here, continuing to expand in the ever-changing construction industry and grow with the next generation of family.

Common Ground Health & United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes

The ESL Community Impact team worked with Common Ground Health and United Way of Greater Rochester and the Finger Lakes on the local vaccine coordination and distribution efforts. These efforts included an emergency $100,000 provided by ESL for incentives to ensure equitable vaccine distribution. In neighborhoods where these incentives were offered, vaccine dosage increased between 60% to 240%.