People of Pittsburg: Hillary Houston
‘Extremely’ good heart
Val Vita | Managing Editor
Hillary Houston works more than 60 hours a week — helping other people. Houston, who was born in Greenville, Mo., came to Pittsburg in 1997 to study psychology at Pitt State.
After graduation, she says she realized how hard it was to find a job in the area, so she decided to get her master’s.
“Psychology gave me the knowledge of people while the MBA gave me the idea of how to run a business,” she said.
It was with the opening of Extremely Outrageous Creations that Houston found a way of putting together the years of study in psychology and business. The store, located in 2702 N. Joplin, next to Walmart, has been open since last December. The place is filled with beautiful desks, beds, chairs, closets and mirrors, but these are not just ordinary pieces of furniture.
Houston says Extremely Outrageous Creations offers pieces made by New Hope Services consumers: adults with development disabilities. These people, coming from the community, found the store to be an employment opportunity center. They redo the furniture and make money for it, regardless of whether the pieces are sold.
“We are not here to make profit; we are here to make them learn,” said Houston, who works as assistant program director.
She says the program allows 32 adults to come five days a week to paint and repair the furniture. The store is open to the general public from Wednesday to Friday.
“The best part of my job is being able to be around these guys, they are awesome,” said Houston, who says she has worked with adults who have disabilities for more than 10 years.
This experience, she says, gives them a chance to get in the job market.
“They are very hard-working, they really enjoy what they do,” she said. “If they aren’t able to get a job, at least they are able to produce things, and we help with that.”
Houston says the most rewarding part is when these adults see a client buying one of the pieces they refurnished.
“They say: ‘I made that piece,’” she said.