The Quick Story of Us
Two of Sandra Graves’ four children were born disabled due to medical conditions she experienced during utero. Son Ronnie Graves was disabled by rubella and daughter Rebecca Babb was disabled from the effects of the cytomegalo-virus. While searching for quality care for her children, Sandra became acquainted with many families who shared similar challenges and struggles. She and many other families found it difficult to find quality “community” services and quality service providers. With the support of her friends and many of the families she had become acquainted with, Sandra set out to become a Home and Community Service (HCS) provider - one that would push for excellence. After receiving her provisional certification, her daughter died suddenly. Sandra continued on with the dream in memory of her daughter, Rebecca. She founded "All The Little Things Count" HCS program and became a fully certified HCS program provider in December 1997. A few years later, she, her son, and her sister founded “All The Little Things Country.”
Sandra’s programs (where the individual and the family are the focus) apply the knowledge learned from the special journey she and these families shared together during many long years. Sandra and her highly qualified staff are deeply involved with all the individuals and their families. They form a team that work together to develop a truly meaningful, responsive and caring program. To date, this program generates high consumer and family satisfaction and ratings.
A Remarkable History
"If you are unhappy with the services that are offered, start your own," was the response Sandra Graves, parent, founder and CEO for All the Little Things Count and All the Little Things Country heard when she attended a meeting with the local Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority. It was the spring of 1997 and she had attended to discover what habilitation services were available to assist her with the care of her sixteen-year-old severely disabled daughter, Rebecca. Together with the other parents there, she learned there were not adequate services available. She was encouraged to develop and license her own service company. Ms. Graves spoke with a handful of other parents in attendance and together they decided to accept the challenge and develop their own Home and Community Service (HCS) program!
Provisional licensing by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR) was awarded to Ms. Graves on August 29, 1997. A barbecue and auction fund-raiser provided the $900.00 for the initial license fee and two months of salary for the one required paid staff position, a case manager. Ecstatic with their early success, these parents worked with faith and diligence to continue to develop the services. The next hurdle, their Department of Human Services (DHS) application was due in exactly ninety days. However, Ms. Graves’s daughter, Rebecca, died suddenly on October 7, 1997 and grief stricken, she was unable to continue her efforts. The application was due on November 30 and on Thanksgiving Day; Ms. Graves realized how important it was to continue her efforts to allow Rebecca’s life to add strength to those with similar needs in her community. Ms. Graves attended training the following morning to learn how to properly complete the DHS voluminous documents. She then set about on a marathon effort to complete the application. Afraid her tears would ruin the documents she was completing, Ms. Graves persevered and mailed the completed DHS application just before the deadline.
The DHS application was immediately approved and the provisional certification became a full contract with TDMHMR. Two weeks later - on December 15, 1997 - the first two clients were enrolled for services with All the Little Things Count. Ms. Graves began providing services from her home and for two years her kitchen and dining room were the offices for the case manager to provide home and community services (HCS). This house eventually became their first group home providing residential services for needy individuals.
By the end of December, 1998 twenty-five individuals were receiving HCS services including nursing, social work, case management, attendant care, physical, occupational and speech therapies. Day habilitation referrals to outside providers were also provided. However, parents consistently complained that the day habilitation programs available grouped their adult children with fourteen others in front of televisions and with little more than crayons to occupy their days. Ms. Graves began to explore the requirements to offer quality day habilitation services. She quickly discovered the reason poor services existed in day habilitation is that reimbursement is too low to sustain the program and determined that only quality services be provided and recognizing that day habilitation is the essential service families needed, Ms. Graves once again searched for the resources to make a new service possible.
A tiny blue house in Angleton was leased in October 1999 and All the Little Things Country was established and accepted the first clients for day habilitation services. The first individuals were twenty-two years old; one came from a nursing home and another as a graduate of the area school system. One client’s parents had to leave employment to care for their adult child at home because no services were available until All the Little Things Country opened. Clients began to literally pour in and the Angleton Times newspaper covered the phenomenal growth of these beginning services offered through All the Little Things Country. The year closed in December 1999 with twenty-five new individuals receiving services.
This day hab was eventually moved to the current location on thirteen acres in Alvin. It was purchased in April of 2000 and dedicated that May. Another twenty-five individuals were receiving services before the end of December 2000.
The ATLTC HCS and TxHml programs have continued to grow through the years as families discover the quality services and dedicated staff of both All The Little Things Count and All the Little Things Country. Now there are over three hundred individuals with special needs and intellectual disabilities served in these programs. Individuals are served in many counties throughout the Gulf Coast area including Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Ft. Bend and Wharton counties. There are presently six offices and day habilitation sites in these counties.