Hillsides was founded 100 years ago by a compassionate young Deaconess of the Episcopal Church, Evelyn Wile. In 1913, she opened a home in Highland Park for 13 neglected and abandoned children. Wile rejected the typical institutional model of care and instead envisioned a campus of cottages where children could enjoy a country-like environment with plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and open space.
Her dream came true in 1918 when she moved the children from the Highland Park home to two cottages on 17 acres in the San Rafael hills of Pasadena, the site of Hillsides Residential Treatment Services to this day. There, Wile built more residential cottages and oversaw the construction of an administration building.
For the next 40 years, Hillsides remained a safe haven where children came first. In the 1960s, Hillsides became aware of the large number of troubled youth cycling through foster care and shifted from long-term custodial care to become a therapeutic residential center providing specialized care to vulnerable youth.
In the following decades, Hillsides grew to 12 on-campus buildings and three off-campus satellite homes. In 1982 it opened the on-campus school, Hillsides Education Center. The same year, Hillsides took another step toward protecting children and preserving families when it created a program of community-based services, Family Resource Centers, one of the first programs to recognize you can't help children without helping their families. Today, Hillsides collaborates with more than 140 community organizations, including 20 school districts.
Most recently, Hillsides launched Hillsides Youth Moving On, a highly regarded transitional living program for young adults leaving the foster care system.
One hundred years ago Evelyn Wile took it upon herself to save 13 children. To date, Hillsides has been a partner in providing more hopeful futures to more than 110,000 individuals.
As it heads into the next 100 years, Hillsides is committed to continuing to make lasting change in the lives of children, youth, and families. Hillsides experienced team will dedicate themselves to making sure that children always come first – now and in the future.