Sojourner House residentsHenrietta Hammond Institute for Life Skills

The Henrietta Hammond Institute for Life Skills (HHILS) provides formal, comprehensive life skills education for Sojourner House residents. This program is a key component of our Transitional Housing Program, and is gradually expanding to our Permanent Supportive Housing.

The women who come to Sojourner House are facing multiple issues, which may include mental illness, physical disability, substance abuse, domestic violence. Due to the crises through which they have lived, they have not been able to develop the life skills necessary to become self-sufficient and maintain safe, affordable housing. These issues affect their children profoundly as well.

The HHILS program requires all women in our program to participate in education and training in the areas of parenting, money management, organization, cooking and nutrition, healthy living, healthy relationships, job readiness, and home maintenance.

Established in 2002, the program honors the memory of Henrietta “Simmy” Hammond. Once a teacher herself, Henrietta Hammond, demonstrated life long support of community efforts to train others. She demonstrated a personal dedication to caring for those less fortunate. Simmy’s legacy lives on through the Henrietta Hammond Institute for Life Skills.

From learning to take extra time to read with their children, to fixing a leaky toilet, balancing a checking account, applying for a job, or quilting a pillow, the Life Skills program provides the tools that teach and empower Sojourner House women to become healthy parents and self-supporting members of our community.

The HHILS Program provides over 350 hours of life skills instruction. Every woman who resides at Sojourner House participates in life skills education during her 3-6 month stay. Participants who complete all eight core classes and at least two elective classes earn the 26 total credits required for a Life Skills Certificate of Achievement.

The HHILS core classes provide instruction on:

  • Parenting Education
  • Money Management
  • Getting Organized
  • Cooking And Nutrition
  • Healthy Living
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Job Readiness
  • Home Maintenance

In addition to core classes, a wide range of elective classes are offered by community volunteers who bring a unique talent or passion to share with the women of Sojourner House. Classes include creative art and writing, yoga, fitness, scrapbooking, quilting and more. These opportunities allow Sojourner House women to realize their own creative and energetic spirits.

Local Collaboration

The HHILS Program relies primarily on Rochester community partners, dedicated volunteers and professionals. Community partners and volunteers groups include: Cornell Cooperative Extension, Credit Education Bureau, Catholic Family Center Dazzle Tech, Home Depot, Planned Parenthood, Perinton Quilt Guild, University of Rochester Medical Students, University of Rochester Women’s Caucus, Greater Rochester American Association of University Women, Susan B. Anthony House, and the Rape Crisis Center.

Visit our Volunteer page to learn more about volunteering your time in the HHILS program.