Community Partners

07.08.2013 Community Partners, How YOU Can Help, Uncategorized Comments Off

What’s Old is New Again: Preparing for Possibilities

 Work is in full swing on a building at the corner of E. Philadelphia and N. Pine streets in York City. The property, vacant since Bell operations moved to the current location at 160 S. George Street in 1996, is slated for new and exciting things.


Funded in part with monies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)and York County Planning Commission, rehabilitation of the structure will open the door of possibilities to homeless families, quite literally.

The Possibilities program will be a housing resource for four homeless families with children who are involved with York County Children Youth and Families (YCCY&F).  Participants will be referred for permanent housing placement from YCCY&F or Bell Family Shelter.  The typical family unit will be a woman between 18 to 25 years of age who is the mother of one to three young children. 

In addition to working with YCCY&F, Bell will coordinate services with the Community Progress Council, an organization providing generic case management service for York County, to assist with parenting skills, high school diplomas and vocational skills. The program will work with state and local unemployment services to secure employment for the residents. Services will be secured for daycare so mothers can attend classes, work or interviews. Mental health and substance abuse services will be provided by YCCY&F.

Crews from Trinity Construction Group are on site, busily readying the units for proposed occupancy in Fall 2013.


19.06.2013 Community Partners, Happenings, Stories Comments Off

Oasis House Welcomes State Visitors and International Monitors

DPW OMHSAS Deputy Secretary Dennis Marion and Executive Assistant Lynne Patrone

Members of Oasis House, the clubhouse program of Bell Socialization Services, held an open house on May 28 as part of the agency’s mental health awareness month activities. One of the visitors to the clubhouse was Dennis Marion, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services.  He told Bell’s Community Engagement team he was happy for the opportunity to see the program in person and meet members. Since taking office only a few months ago, he is making a concerted effort to visit many programs across the Commonwealth to better serve in his position with the Department of Public Welfare.

Executive assistant to the Deputy, Lynne Patrone – who was the recipient of Bell’s Pauline Whitacre Community Service Award in 2007 – also attended the event. Lynne was an essential piece of the start-up of Oasis House, serving on its advisory board in her former role as Consumer and Family Satisfaction Team Director for Mental Health America.

Designed on the model of Fountain House in Manhattan, New York, a clubhouse is a recovery-oriented joint operation between members and staff, where people with a history of mental illness can go for support in their efforts to become more a part of their community. Members and staff share all responsibilities in the clubhouse. Decisions regarding policy and procedure are made during house meetings, where all interested persons can be involved.

Visitors learn about Oasis House during the open house.

Representatives from Clubhouse International are in York this week to monitor Oasis House to be certain it meets the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs. Assessing Clubhouse quality is an important part of the process to maintain accreditation.

“The principles expressed in these Standards are at the heart of the Clubhouse community’s success in helping people with mental illness to stay out of hospitals while achieving social, financial, educational and vocational goals. The Standards also serve as a “bill of rights” for members and a code of ethics for staff, board and administrators. The Standards insist that a Clubhouse is a place that offers respect and opportunity to its members.” – Clubhouse International website (

For more information on Oasis House, contact program coordinator Joanna Witmer at 717-848-3566.

11.06.2013 Community Partners, Employee Recognition, Happenings Comments Off

Dedicated to Work

Bell’s Voc Rehab team is all about  work. When they do their jobs well, other people get jobs.

Thanks to supports from the four-person team, about 60 people receive services to help them prepare, enter and stay in the job market. Some two dozen are actively employed at local businesses.  

Always happy to do what it takes to promote their program, the crew cheerfully embraced  an opportunity this week to go a little  beyond their typical scope.  All four agreed to style makeovers to promote Bell’s upcoming Mad Men-themed fundraising party, which will benefit the voc program.





(Big thanks to community partners Hilary Arthur of Arthur & Daughters for styling, and Glen Oropeza of Glen Coco for Hair for sharing their professional services to the effort! More photos on the Bell Facebook page.

03.06.2013 Community Partners, Happenings, How YOU Can Help Comments Off

Doing What It Takes

Buttoning up a sweet vintage black merino cardigan with grosgrain ribbon and sequins isn’t something Diane Sowers does pretty much ever, let alone at work.

“I do what it takes,” Sowers said, as she turned to allow a chunky triple strand of pearls to be clasped behind her neck.

As coordinator of Bell Socialization Services’ vocational rehabilitation program, Sowers is more typically seen in a pair of jeans and a tee shirt or a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt in cooler weather. Gym shoes rather than Jimmy Choo’s, she dresses for comfort to meet the demands of her day-to-day duties  running around from one job site to another, overseeing her team of job coaches, and jumping up to give people a “high five” when they announce their success at securing employment.

To help increase awareness of her program, Sowers agreed to participate in a makeover of sorts to promote an upcoming fundraiser to benefit Bell’s vocational training efforts.  She and the three caseworkers in her program will be expertly styled by Hilary Arthur of Arthur & Daughters (in downtown York), official fashion consultant for the Mad Men-themed event slated for Monday, June 24.  All four will don (no pun intended) new and vintage clothing and accessories to evoke a real sense of the 1960’s and participate in a photo shoot to bring attention to the positive power of work.

The team helps people who are living with mental illness find employment with local companies. There are currently about 60 York-area residents enrolled in the program. “They’re looking for a sense of accomplishment,” Sowers says.

For some, she adds, it’s not even about getting a paycheck, “At the end of the day, they want to have a purpose.”   Something Sowers and the voc rehab team understand personally.        


Stay tuned for snapshots from next week’s photo shoot. And buy your tickets today for this party with a purpose!

29.05.2013 Community Partners, Happenings, Stories Comments Off

My Art Show Experience

 This month is one I consider to be a very special one on Bell Socialization Services’ calendar. As we all should know Mental Health Awareness Month is observed throughout May in the United States. It raises awareness about mental illnesses, such as depressionschizophrenia, and bipolar disorder

Luckily, for the past couple years Bell has been fortunate enough to secure space at York College Gallery to display their annual Celebrating Mental Health Recovery art exhibition. This exhibition features creative expressions in paint, clay, textile, photography, and mixed media produced by residents of York and Adams counties who are living with mental illness.

My expectations for this event were twisted for some reason, because to my astonishment I couldn’t believe the great art work. All of the work, from the very small entries to the life-size ones, was amazing. Also, the set up and gallery itself was beautiful, bringing out the best in each entrant’s display.

My favorite part of the opening reception event was when some of the poets read their poems to the audience. Each poet read their poem with beautiful poise and tone; they really brought out the mood of their work.

It was also very nice to see the great outcome and support that this event got; all the artists worked so hard and it was just great to see them and talk to them.

I’m so glad I got a chance to meet these outstanding individuals. I would highly recommend stopping by York College of Pennsylvania and paying tribute to the artists and their work. This great event lasts only till the end of the month. You’re not obligated to stay any length of time, but to just leave feeling in awe.

Submitted by Bell intern, Zachary Frick


York College Gallerie, sWolf Hall, First Floor

Free visitor parking is adjacent to Wolf Hall. The art galleries are wheelchair accessible. All exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public.

Hours:  Mon–Thurs, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.   |   Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

22.05.2013 Agency Announcements, Community Partners, Happenings, How YOU Can Help Comments Off

Art Show Reception Thursday Night

 Friends, family, and supporters of Bell, you are cordially invited to attend the opening reception (and candle light vigil) on Thursday , May 23 from 5 to 7pm  to support these artists.

Please make time in your schedule to come view the collective creative expressions in paint, clay, textile, paper, photography, and mixed media produced by residents of York and Adams counties who are living with mental illness.

The art show is open during regular York College Galleries during regular gallery hours until May 31.

10.05.2013 Community Partners, Happenings, How YOU Can Help Comments Off

Eat to Support Bell at Olde York Street Fair

Yorkers! Visitors! It’s that time again! Give your mom some flowers and a big hug then head downtown for the 38th Annual Olde York Street Fair this Sunday, May 12.

A Mother’s Day tradition for nearly four decades, the family-friendly outdoor event is special to us at Bell because it brings yet another chance to connect with Famous Pit Beef, Texas Beef and BBQ masters, Big Fat Daddy’s, as our vendor partner. Every purchase from one of the Big Fat Daddy concessions stands supports Bell programs, as at least half of everything they sell that day comes directly to us! So when you’re at the fair and those tummies get to rumbling, mosey over to a Big Fat Daddy’s truck and order up a tasty sandwich.

One of the many reasons we love partnering with Wayne and Cindy and the rest of the Big Fat Daddy’s family is their commitment to running a green business. Read their Green Pledge.

The Fair features 150 artisans and food vendors as well as live entertainment and strolling performers filling the air with music. The Kid’s Fun Block is also a hit with rides and games for children to enjoy.

*FYI: Streets closed for the Fair: Market Street from Newberry to Pine, and George Street from Philadelphia to King.

10.05.2013 Community Partners, How YOU Can Help, Thank You! Comments Off

Sharing the Love


Handmade cards containing heartfelt, encouraging sentiments and colourful shirts in all sizes were gratefully received by mothers in residence at Bell Family Shelter the week before Mother’s Day. 

Much appreciation goes to the caring group of friends and family who shared of their blessings to reach out and help those who are struggling. 

Women helping women: Donors and Bell Family Shelter residents

26.04.2013 Community Partners, How YOU Can Help, Volunteer Opportunities Comments Off

Volunteers in Abundance on Day of Action

All across the country, volunteers come out to lend a hand in their communities as part of the United Way’s annual Day of Action effort.

When that day arrives here in York County, you’d be hard pressed not to notice the hardworking groups of people in their Live United tee shirts, shoulder to shoulder with co-workers and others, who’ve caught the volunteering spirit.

Our experience with Day of Action (and, formerly, Day of Caring) volunteers has always been terrific.  Cheerful responders to the call typically arrive early, ready to roll up their sleeves, and put their minds and backs into whatever task is at hand.  They dig in, rip out, lather up, wash down, put together, heave and ho until the job is done.  

Last year’s volunteers get extra points in our book, coming out in the midst of a miserable heat wave that left many of us in puddles of perspiration, yet they perservered. Check out photos of the groups:  York County MH/MR, Isaac’s Restaurant South York, Wagman Companies, Glatfelter Insurance Group and Liberty Mutual Insurance, First Energy Corp,  and C. S. Davidson.


Bell’s 2013 Day of Action projects, which include a couple vehicle washes, some landscaping, and a shelf- building project, are listed on the United Way of York County’s web site.  Grab a couple co-workers, talk to the boss about getting the morning off to do some good stuff, and sign up.  We’ll see you on June 21!

25.04.2013 Community Partners, How YOU Can Help, Volunteer Opportunities Comments Off

Our Volunteer Board

In the early days of Bell, when we were still known as The Bell Club, our board of directors consisted of equal representation of three members each from the several local organizations who initiated the birth of a social gathering space for people living with mental illness who were being released from long-time stays in State institutions.

In the forty plus years following the humble beginnings of Monday night programs and Sunday night suppers, a revolving number of people have been engaged to lend guidance and support, leading the way through myriad changes and growth to what Bell Socialization Services is today.

Logan, Griffiths, Miller, Davis, Lease, Santiago, Jacobs, Welber, Cramer, Anderson, and Klimchock pictured.

Our current board of directors brings a diversity of experience, networks, and know-how to the task of navigating us safely through the sometimes choppy waters of today’s challenging human services environment, overseeing our mental health, intellectual disability and shelter service departments and administrative operations to assure quality on all fronts.

Today’s Volunteer Appreciation Week post salutes those community members who have in the past and continue to give of their time and talent to advance Bell’s mission confidently into the future. 

 Our current Board of Directors is:   Rev. Robert L. Anderson, George Cramer, Dr. Mel Davis, Rev. Brenda Ferree, Rees Griffiths, Esquire, Mark I. Jacobs, Timothy Klimchock, CPA, CCIFP, Eric Lau, Dr. Robert Lease, Jr. (chair), Dr. Annette Logan, Aimee Miller, Abel Santiago, Jr., Rob Tracy, and David Welber, CPA.

If you or someone you know are looking for an opportunity to serve your community in a meaningful way and might consider a position on Bell’s board of directors, please contact our executive director, Ike Hileman at 848-5767, ext. 500.