For over forty years, our mission has endured...
In 1974, a small group of families gathered around a table to discuss the need for support to help their loved ones who were facing the daily challenges of Parkinson's disease. These family members united in their vision and formed what is known today as Houston Area Parkinson Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by Parkinson's disease through services, education and advocacy.
For the first 20 years, HAPS operations were primarily managed by volunteers whose lives were impacted by the disease. HAPS hired its first permanent, full-time paid Executive Director in 1994, and within two short years, the organization expanded its service area to eight counties within metropolitan Houston. HAPS has responded to the escalating need for Parkinson's support services by adding licensed Master's level social workers to develop social services and education programs and facilitate support groups; implementing innovative therapeutic exercise groups like tango, dance and singing; and by creating a national model for Parkinson's patient support organizations while remaining independent.
More than four decades later, HAPS continues to be the only Parkinson's support organization in the Houston region offering free therapeutic exercise and support groups, comprehensive social services, education, transportation, emergency financial aid and subsidized respite care. HAPS is a member of the national Alliance of Independent Regional Parkinson Organizations (AIRPO) and is led by three dynamic Boards: Board of Directors, Board of Advisors and Medical Advisory Board.
As we look back on our beginnings, we look ahead to the future with the commitment and promise to provide support and essential services that enable people with Parkinson's to live with the best quality of life possible – until a cure is found.