Community Spirit #1: Bell Employees in the Community
Happy Wednesday, all, and welcome to our first installment of Community Spirit! This is a little column we’re trying out to shine a light on what Bell employees are doing in the community. We’d like to make this a regular thing, so if you know any employees representing Bell in community organizations, please don’t hesitate to let us know! With that, let’s take a look at our first batch of community leaders:
First up is one of our own here in the Community Engagement office, Averie Clark! Averie joined the Uptown York Rotary Club in 2015, and in the years since, her continued membership has benefited Bell in multiple ways. In 2017, the Uptown club entered Bell’s Big Bed Race, and Bell has received community grants from the club to aid Bell Family Shelter for the past three years. Additionally, the Uptown club developed a year-long project in 2021 to support Bell’s Bridge Transitional Housing program, which included volunteer service as well as donations of food and crockpots for Bridge families going through a nutrition class. And, of course, we’ve received no shortage of direct financial and in-kind donations from club members to support our needs. After serving on and chairing several committees during her tenure with the club, Averie was installed as Club President on June 29. Congratulations, Averie!
Next up is Launch Program Coordinator Yvette Engel! Yvette was recently selected as a board member of the York chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She found out about NAMI through Bell, and having a son with mental illness, she supported their mission of erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness and helping people living with mental illness on the road to recovery. Now, she’ll get the chance to directly support that mission as a local board member. Yvette says that she’s most looking forward to “getting involved in the different committees they have and meeting other people in the community.” As a member of the NAMI board, she hopes to share her personal experience with mental illness from Bell’s perspective. “The only way we can erase the stigma is if we do it together and many voices are heard,” she says.
Speaking of mental health, we’ve got Director of Mental Health Services Kris Stroup! Kris was previously involved with the Healthy York County Coalition and is looking for a successor. Currently, she’s involved with York’s Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program, a partnership between local law enforcement and mental health services like Bell to train officers and emergency personnel about mental health and intervention. While the training is mostly done by officers who themselves were trained in CIT, Kris organizes officer visits to Bell facilities like Oasis House to talk with service users about their experience with mental illness and law enforcement. By doing this, both the officers and service users come away with a better understanding and a more secure relationship with each other. “I think our community has really benefited from CIT,” says Kris. “We have a lot of officers who are now much more informed about what resources are in our community and how to interact with somebody who’s in a mental health crisis.” Kris also serves on the school board of Northeastern School District and was previously involved with NAMI, having passed the torch onto Yvette just this year. As an active member of the community, Kris encourages her fellow employees to get involved. “I think it’s a good thing to do not just for Bell, but for yourself personally.”
Right next to Kris is Assistant Director of Mental Health Services Lori Leister! Lori just wrapped up her tenure as Chair of the York County Coalition on Homelessness, a local partnership between several organizations dedicated to helping those facing homelessness. She found out about the Coalition through Bell many years ago and served as Chair for two years, during which she gained a greater understanding of what programs are available in York and how programs like the Coalition are run. “As Chair, it allowed me to have information ahead of time and have input on what was happening,” she says of the benefits her tenure had for Bell. Lori’s currently a member of the Affordable Housing Advocates board of directors, which she found out about through the Coalition. Reaching out to others who may wish to participate in the community, Lori has this to say: “The community needs assistance and input from people, so this is your opportunity to get in there and make a difference.”
That wraps up this week’s chapter of Community Spirit! If you know a Bell employee who’s been making their mark in the community like these ladies, contact our Communications Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 717-848-5767, extension 1521. Until next time, folks, stay inspired!