Each year, we profile the winner of the Hillside Chair’s Award, an honor earned by an employee whose above-and-beyond dedication and impact exemplify the principles of Hillside’s mission of service.
Amy Patterson is a familiar face at many Hillside offices, campuses and regions. Although based in Buffalo, the Senior Nurse Manager moves around a lot in the course of juggling multiple responsibilities.
“It changes every day,” says Patterson of her typical routine that’s anything but typical. “One day I’ll be working with the individuals we serve in our group homes, and the next I might be supporting a youth who’s having difficulty in one of our schools. I do a lot of different things.”
Patterson has been a nurse since age 18 and a Hillside employee since 2010—years of experience that she called upon to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like the rest of the world, she was thrust into an unknown situation fraught with social isolation and medical uncertainty.
Her first thoughts were for the people and families that Hillside serves, and the dedicated staff who were caring for them. “I don’t ever remember being so tired. I felt like I worked nonstop for those first few months,” Patterson recalls. “I felt bad for everyone – the kids and individuals, their families, our own employees. I wanted them to all see one another and they couldn’t. It was heartbreaking.”
When the COVID vaccine became available, Patterson led the charge by scheduling and staffing vaccine clinics in Rochester and Buffalo (pictured above right), leveraging partnerships with community organizations including Update Pharmacy, University of Rochester Medicine, D’Youville College, and Fantastic Friends of Western New York.
“It was a team effort,” she says of that work. “I became a champion of the vaccine because that was going to get us back to normal, and I wanted to do what I could do to help.”
Looking back, she credits Hillside’s commitment to adaptation and innovation as being critical to the agency’s COVID journey. And today, with the pandemic’s worst days in the past, she says working directly with youth and families brings a great sense of fulfillment. “I’m happy because I can make a difference,” Patterson says, “and because I get to work with so many like-minded people.”
On behalf of the Hillside community, we thank Amy Patterson for her commitment—during that critical time in our history, and every day!
Hillside is hiring for a wide range of positions that make a difference in the lives of youth and familes. Visit our Careers page to learn more about working at Hillside, and to find a role that fits your interests and skills.