Bell’s office of Community Engagement made a surprise engagement “proposal” yesterday to recognize Kevin Hubbell, project manager of RSDC.
Hubbell has been a steadfast member of the Bell’s Big Bed Race committee the past two years and coordinates a volunteer crew to assemble bed kits and ready-made kits for participating teams. The Community Engagement team presented a certificate and a sparkly “engagement ring” made of soap, courtesy of Sunrise Soap Company, at a meeting of Bed Race team captains at the upcoming event site at 135 N. Beaver Street in downtown York.
Thank you, Kevin, for your valuable contributions and faithful support. We really appreciate your engagement!
Since the partnership began several years ago between local first responders and Bell Socialization Services, Bell has held a key role in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. Once again this winter, Bell’s mental health services team invited law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel to meet with Bell mental health service users to discuss opportunities to help improve responses to people in mental health crisis.
The CIT model began as an innovative police-based pre-arrest jail diversion program known nationally as the “Memphis Model” as it was founded in Memphis. There are now 2700 CIT sites across the U.S. The program helps enhance communication, identify mental health resources to assist people in crisis, and ensure that officers get the training and support they need.
CIT programs provide officers with 40 hours of intensive training, including:
- Learning from mental health professionals and experienced officers in the community. The program connects officers with a team of clinicians and fellow officers who can advise, problem-solve and support them when a challenging situation occurs.
- Personal interaction with people who have experienced and recovered from mental health crisis. CIT meetings like the ones at Bell offer a first-hand opportunity to hear stories of recovery, ask questions and learn what helps (and harms) a person in crisis.
- Verbal de-escalation skills. CIT teaches a set of skills for ensuring officer safety, including the words, approach, and body language to convince a person to get help, or defuse a potentially violent encounter.
- Scenario-based training. With the help of Bell staff and other providers, officers practice their skills in common crisis situations, and get immediate feedback from instructors and classmates.
For more information, contact Kris Stroup at 717-848-5767, ext 400.
Pictured in photo is Bell’s director of mental health services, Kris Stroup (far left), along with local first responders and Bell service users who attended the recent training.
(Supplemental info about CIT was sourced from the University of Memphis and NAMI.)
Bell executive director, Ike Hileman, was gifted a large bell about 17 years ago when the agency moved into its current main office building at 160 S. George Street. The bell has been sitting in Hileman’s office, awaiting a strike of genius or clang of inspiration ever since.
Thank you to Bell friend, Jim Johnson, for the artist rendering of the sculpture, based on a drawing from designer/maker, Patrick Sells. Additional input came from engineers at C.S. Davidson.
“Maybe we should hang it on the side of the building,” Ike said, “or on a sidewalk somewhere so people could see it . . . and let’s figure out a way people could ring it.”
So we called on Patrick Sells from Salvaging Creativity. And the ideas started to develop and flow. Early conversations led to the idea that incorporating levers and gears that could lead to ringing the bell would be really cool, and having it be something people had to do in tandem, or that would take more than one motion, would speak to the idea that it takes people working together and things that need helping hands don’t always happen instantly.
Pat worked with a couple engineers from C.S. Davidson and soon they had an idea that incorporated three levers, designed as hands to show giving a hand up, shaking a hand in partnership, and giving a high five.
The next step to completing the sculpture is raising the funds to construct it.
In honour of Bell’s 50th anniversary this year, we encourage you to give a contribution toward the bell sculpture. If you can afford $50, that’s a great help. If you can give $.50, that’s good, too. Want to make it $150 or $250 or $500? Awesome! We’d like to have as many people as possible invested in bringing the project to a ringing success.
Conversations about potential locations for the sculpture are happening; we should be able to announce the location soon.
We look forward to sharing with you an invitation to see the unveiling and hearing the bell ring together.
Bell Socialization Services, Inc. extends an invitation asking every congregation of the York/Hanover area to please ring your church bells five times at the worship service on Sunday, October 23, 2016, as a show of support for five decades of Bell’s work in the community helping people to improve their quality of living.
The following congregations have already signed up to participate:
St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, W Market Street, York
St. John’s United Church of Christ, Red Lion
Bethany United Methodist Church
Mt. Zion United Church of Christ, Ridgewood Road, York
Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Tyler Run Road, York
St. Andrew’s Epicopal Church, Fourth Avenue, York
Please call Kelly Arcieri at 848-5767 ext. 516 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your congregation’s name to the lists.
It was a problem no one really anticipated – rising aspirations.
Years ago, GSK – GlaxoSmithKline – worked with transitioning LIU students when they were based out of their Hanover location. When GSK move to York, they quickly reached out to Bell Socialization Services for a transitional employment program.
The work at GSK puts Bell clients in a position to succeed, said Teri Johnescu, a job coach at GSK. In the factory, employees work in teams on each line as they pack, stock and build display trays.
“It’s a very disability friendly place,” Johnescu said. Teams often stick together from line to line, so employees have that added routine. Lines and jobs are color coded to make things easier – like a forklift driver wears orange, along the line, they wear black.
Over the years, GSK has hired 21 Bell clients and expected to hit 30 by September, she said.
“Bell operates with a similar compassion and commitment to the consumer,” Johnescu said. So when a “problem” of sorts they weren’t expecting arose recently, they worked together to empower their employees even more.
In all the years, Johnescu has worked with plenty of people who might have had some struggles in the workplace. But what she wasn’t planning for was a recent employee who approached her about his rising aspirations.
He had been working at the company for a few years and he knew exactly what he wanted – Quality Improvement.
“It’s not enough to plug them into a job,” Johnescu said. “Now they want to advance.”
GSK works with their employees and with Bell staff to make the best decisions for everyone involved, and that’s just where this employee ended up. It’s that team approach that leads to the program’s success, according to Bell job coach Lynsey Huyett.
“It’s a success because the individuals we work with have someone on their team,” Huyett said.
Huyett works with the Supported Employment Program – which is job coaching as a client looks for employment, and the Transitional Employment Program, which helps build work skills.
Huyett can be seen every now and then on the factory floor at GSK as she works with clients assessing their skills.
By being there, she’s able to add support in learning tasks that a supervisor might not have time for. Or can intervene if interpersonal issues arise.
Johnescu sees her role to also include educating her employer about the work Bell does.
“It’s about more than hiring,” she said. “It’s about fostering relationships. And Bell is really dedicated to help – comprehensive help.”
“They’re a whole person,” she said of her employees. “The job just empowers them to do more, like buy their first car or first home.”
One employee even went with co-workers to get a makeover and it did wonders for her self esteem.
It’s a learning process, Johnescu said, as they all grow together. Staffers are paired up with mentors who help them along the way.
GSK also works with potential employees to let them try out a job for an hour to two to see if the job would be a good fit.
“For some of the empoyees, this job may be the biggest social interaction they have,” Johnescu said. “Bell does such a great job caring for their folks, we’re just adding to that relationship with more depth.”
One Bell client was working with Huyett on finding employment and was very shy and timid. Often times, Huyett said, he would respond to her only with nods of the head. He ended up joining the team at GSK and now is far more outgoing as he jokes around with his co-workers.
For Huyett, the key is finding the right employer for her clients.
“The key to one working successfully is finding an employer who is understanding, matching work to each person’s unique strengths and providing encouragement and support in whatever form support looks like for that person,” she said.
Huyett provides that help, stopping in and checking in with clients until they don’t need her to anymore. In the end, it can be a little bittersweet.
“Initially I was taken back and a little sad about it,” she said. “Hearing that dismissal of ‘Okay, well thanks for stopping by’ is really a satisfying feeling because I know the individual has learned his/her job and now is confident in doing it without my help.”
Story by Kate Harmon
Many children are fortunate enough to have a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and food on the table. A young person’s biggest worry might be sleeping in too late and missing the popular Saturday morning cartoons, not the poverty and homeless issues that plague America.
However, there are a few children with the worthy gift of giving in their hearts. Even at their young age, they yearn to make a difference. Milana Schechtman is one of them.
After watching an internet video of a homeless man receiving a gift that he then shared with others, Milana Schechtman, 13 of Dallastown Area Middle School, knew she had to do something. The video inspired her to help people facing the struggles of homelessness in her local area.
Turning her idea into a reality, Milana and her seventh grade classmates were able to raise $312 that they would donate to a shelter.
Mr. Warren Himes, a teacher at the Dallastown Area Middle School who also happened to be a former Bell employee, knew the donation would be of great use to Bell Family Shelter.
Bell’s Director of Community Engagement, Averie Clark and Bell Family Shelter’s Program Director, Felice Day visited Dallastown Area Middle School on Thursday June 2nd to meet Milana and speak with the class of seventh graders about how impactful the donation will be.
“You have done this great deed and it’s going to help and benefit everyone,” said Day as she spoke to the youth about how things work at the shelter and how the donation will go to use.
There’s a warm feeling one gets when they hear of a young person who wants to help make a difference in the world. Bell employees are so glad to know that there are young people who want to improve the quality of life for their fellow community members.
Story & photos by Destiny Ritter, communications intern with Bell’s office of community engagement. Destiny is a Communications Media major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, scheduled to graduate December 2016.
It doesn’t take much to push a family over the edge.
For one of the first families Jen Strine ever served at Bell Family Shelter, it was a broken down car.
Shelter worker, Maritza Torres, is all smiles as she accepts a big fluffy pillow donation from Will Hanlon (right), marketing chair for the York Young Professionals group, who collected more than 20 pillows at their meeting in April!
Both the husband and wife worked at the same place and relied on one car. When the car broke down, they found friends to give them rides to work, but eventually that fell through. They couldn’t afford to fix the car. They both lost their jobs and eventually fell behind in their rent.
Strine describes it as “the ripple effect” and she’s seen it over and over during the nine years she’s worked at Bell.
When families arrive at the shelter – no matter what their circumstances are – Bell provides them with what they need for daily living – everything from toiletries to linens to meals – and connects them with caseworkers to help them get back on their feet.
Bell Family Shelter is the only family shelter in York, allowing single women with children, men with children and families to stay together as a unit for up to 30 nights.
What enables Bell to offer York-area families a place to lay their heads is support from the community.
And they’re always looking for unique ways to raise awareness, like racing seven custom-built, decorated beds around the parking lot of St. John Episcopal Church on a drizzly morning in April.
During Bell’s Big Bed Race held April 23, teams of five (four runners and one rider) marched in a Parade of Beds before competing in a double elimination race that saw one bed fall apart almost completely, before the team from Stambaugh Ness raced to victory.
To complement the Big Bed Race (and celebrate National Pillow Fight Day April 5 – without causing any pillow fight casualties) Bell held a pillow drive throughout the month.
The shelter serves upwards of 600 people annually.
“All those heads need pillows when they’re in residence,” said Averie Clark, director for community engagement.
Families often leave with the pillows and linens they used while staying at the shelter, which means they go through an awful lot of pillows.
Bell promoted the Pillow Drive on Facebook, at York Central Market and during Liquid Hero Brewery’s Chili Cook-off and York Young Professionals collected pillows during its April social.
In the end, they collected more than two dozen pillows.
Events like the Bed Race and Pillow Drive offer a chance for Bell to raise awareness about needy families in the area. Strine and Clark say there are plenty of ways local organizations and individuals can help.
One local church held Undie Sunday where they collected underwear for men, women and children; the shelter just received a grant from the Rotary Club of York to purchase diapers, baby wipes, and feminine hygiene items; and Boy and Girl Scout Troops often run drives to collect personal care products and canned goods.
Demand for shelter services is steady, Strine said. And so is the need for donations.
“When you go into your bathroom and look around, everything you see is probably something we need,” Clark said.
Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, towels, feminine hygiene products, razors, sheets, blankets, cleaning supplies and more.
Things like umbrellas and bus passes can also be a huge help.
A lot of people who come to the Shelter rely on public transportation or their own two feet to get around. The Shelter provides bus passes to those who have jobs, but those who are looking for jobs would benefit from them, too.
Inevitably, when the Shelter brings up their needs, they’ll hear the same response over and over:
“We should call Oprah Winfrey,” Clark said.
But there are people in our community who can help meet these needs right now, she said.
If members of the community are looking for a way to help it can be as simple as picking up an extra bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste during your next trip to the grocery store. If you’re having a girl’s night, have everyone bring a box of tampons.
“There are so many small things that people can do every day,” Clark added.
To learn how you can help the Bell Family Shelter, visit the wish list.
There are plenty of stereotypes attached to those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness: That they’re crazy, weird, dark or dysfunctional.
But the mental health community has been working to erase that stigma by educating the public and supporting individuals with mental illness.
“Mental illness is no different than being diagnosed with a heart condition or diabetes,” said Karen Roland, a program coordinator for Mental Health Services at Bell Socialization Services Inc. “Just because we might be diagnosed with whatever it is, doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy life.”
In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime – and every American is impacted through family and friends.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month – held every May to raise awareness about the prevalence and impact of mental illness in the U.S. – Bell Socialization sponsored an annual art show, which was held in downtown York.
This year’s show featured 100 pieces ranging from paintings and drawings to photography, poetry and prose, by more than 20 artists in York and Adams counties who live with mental illness.
New this year, the show was held in a pop-up gallery in a vacant storefront on West Market Street, thanks to the generosity of the Brynes family. In the past, the shows have been held in locations including Marketview Arts, York College Galleries, an empty storefront at the York Galleria, and The Salvation Army.
They’ve appreciated the chance to hold their shows in art galleries, said Roland, but this year were excited about how the location allowed them to share the artists’ work with more of the public – especially during First Friday on May 6 and the Annual Olde York Street Fair on May 8. Roland said they had more than 100 visitors to the show in just three hours during the Street Fair alone, offering the artists more exposure and giving Bell more opportunities to educate the community.
“It’s always good for any individual – mental illness or not – to express themselves,” said Roland. “It’s very empowering to the artists.”
The pieces were judged by other artists in the community – Mark Broomal, Peter Garretson, and Shannon High Patterson – who awarded the entries first through fourth-place ribbons in nine categories. Roland said the response from the community was positive – some visitors were even interested in purchasing pieces from the show.
The hope is by spreading the word about what mental illness is and isn’t, that a dialogue can be started. The staff at Bell strives to give hope to the individuals they encounter and to reinforce that, provided they get the right treatment, they can get on the road to recovery and live a happy, productive life.
“Most people that we encounter are open to hear what we have to say. The stigma is coming down,” Roland said.
Learn more about the services and programs available to individuals living with mental illness through Bell’s mental health programs and look for updates on NAMIWalks, a national fundraiser to support education and services for those with mental illness, which Bell will participate in during the month of October.
For information on volunteer opportunities with Bell, keep an eye on the Get Involved page. Learn more about National Mental Health Awareness Month and how you can live #StigmaFree at NAMI.org.
Employees of Bell Socialization Services Inc. gathered at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church on Friday, April 8th, 2016 for the spring All Agency Training. The all-day training was presented in both a morning and afternoon session in order to give all Bell staff an opportunity to attend. The trainings helped exercise and strengthen employees’ communication skills, as well as their knowledge of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Prior to the event, employees were surveyed to find what would be the most interesting and beneficial training. The Bell Advisory Committee coordinated the training based upon the survey results and input from agency directors, and as usual, handled day of event oversight.
Advisory Committee Left to Right: Janel Fox, Mary Griest, Yolanda McCanic, Lynsey Huyett, and Robin Garnett. Not Pictured: Teri Contino, Marcella Kinard.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers Mazzitti and Sullivan administered a presentation on Effective Communication. Bell employees learned about the art of listening and the art of giving feedback through fun activities that also enabled the use of teambuilding skills.
Employees of Bell Socialization Services play a communication skill-building game by using one finger from each person to lower and raise a small wooden pole.
Several directors of Bell Socialization Services provided the HIPAA training that expressed the importance of confidentiality and privacy.
A shout out to Starbucks and Big Apple Bagels for their ongoing contributions to Bell’s All-Agency Training. The coffee and bagels were just what was needed for a vibrant and energetic morning!
Not only did those in attendance receive an informative and fun training, they also got a meal! Hats off to the York County School of Technology Culinary group that served a delicious lunch from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Chef Gus, Chef Baker and a whole class of students provided exceptional service that was much appreciated!
York County School of Technology Culinary class
We are grateful to St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church for the accommodations they make every year, for the Training to be held in a clean welcoming space.
Very special thanks to Glatfelter Insurance Group, the underwriting sponsor of Bell employee trainings for 2016. Your support is appreciated and greatly valued.
Story written by Destiny Ritter, communications intern with Bell’s office of community engagement. Destiny is a Communications Media major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, scheduled to graduate December 2016.
From the course infield, spectators cheered loudly as teams raced their beds around the parking lot at St. John Episcopal Church for the first annual Bell’s Big Bed Race, held Saturday, April 23 in downtown York. A little rain in the morning didn’t dampen the spirits of those gathered to race or volunteer with the event, and by the time spectators arrived for the 9:00 Parade of Beds, the clouds were clearing.
Seven teams of five members each – four runners and one rider – arrived on the scene early to line up and ready themselves for the rigors of pushing their homemade constructions across the macadam one heart-pumping heat after the next. Music provided by Weary Arts Group kept everyone energized between rounds, and announcers shared information about Bell’s programs which provide housing supports and residential services to build awareness of the agency’s positive community impact.
Event emcee, Adam Nugent, roused the audience and spurred healthy competition between participating race teams, who were the Gotham Bells, representing Bell’s intellectual disability residential services program, the Revolution Rollers from the York Revolution, complete with team mascot, Downtown, Mother Goo(f)se Gardeners, the Royal Square Jokers, a Royal Square Development’s construction crew, Members 1st’ Tu-Tu Fruity team, and racers from Stambaugh Ness and Reinsel Kuntz Lesher.
After all the huffing and puffing, a couple crashes at the turnaround point where teams were required to ring a bell secured to the footboard of a bed at the same time negotiating a turn as both teams met at the half-way point, and one bed simply falling apart under the strain of it all . . . the double elimination event came to its end. The team from Stambaugh Ness was awarded first place, the Royal Square Jokers, second place, and Members 1st Tu-Tu Fruity came in third.
Bell’s own Gotham Bells won the Best Decorated Bed award thanks to an audience “scream-o-meter,” with Royal Square Jokers picking up the second place certificate.
We thank the sponsors of Bell’s Big Bed Rac: Mutual of America, Stambaugh Ness, and Reinsel Kuntz Lesher LLP
Teams and spectators could already be heard planning for next year’s event. With lessons learned from the inaugural effort, it’s certain to be an even bigger success.
Even though this year’s bed race is done, you may still DONATE in support of Bell’s Big Bed Race fundraising efforts to help magnify impact!
More photos and video from the race can be found online through the social media hashtag #BellBedRace2016. Also, check out this link to the coverage by Jason Plotkin of the York Daily Record.