2019 Voice of Caring: Pony Bird

February 06, 2019 - 10:19 am

On October 10, 1971, Philip Hockensmith was born to Dana and Sue Hockensmith. At 4 months old, Philip was diagnosed with Cytomeglia virus. After months of caring for Philip at home, Dana and Sue made the difficult decision to place him in a residential facility in Sedalia, Missouri. A move to DeSoto in 1975 meant the young couple was now 3 hours away from Philip. The Hockensmiths searched throughout the St. Louis area for a care facility that would provide a loving home environment. Unable to find the right fit, they applied for and received a matching start-up grant of $32,000 - and Pony Bird was born. Named after a children's book about a young boy and his flying Pony-Pegasus, Pony Bird took flight in 1977. The journey began with one home devoted to caring for 10 children with severe disabilities.


As the individuals grew from children to adults so did the organization with many expansions and additions. The individuals were thriving and exceeding all expectations. The need just continued to grow. In 2005 at the request of the Department of Mental Health, Pony Bird expanded services to the DeSoto community and helped transition individuals from institutionalized settings to Pony Bird community home settings.


Today, Pony Bird provides services for more than 85 non-ambulatory children and adults with severe to profound intellectual and developmental disabilities. Services include: Residential Services both Group Homes and an ISL (Individualized Supported Living), Therapy Services, Day Services and Respite Care.


Our family and community environment ensures the maximum level of personalized care, health, progress and happiness is provided to the individuals we serve. Pony Bird's standard of care provides the independence and self-worth that are so important to each individual's quality of life.