MAKE A DIFFERENCE: The Castle serves those with mental illness

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The Castle is a nonprofit facility that has served Centerville and the surrounding communities for almost 29 years. It was 1991 when a group of community organizers first recognized the need to support those they loved who were suffering from severe and persistent mental illness.

They dreamed of providing a place of belonging and thanks to parents and citizens who recognized the scarcity of services for this adult population, The Castle first opened its doors on Oct. 11, 1993. Since that time, it has served well over 1,000 people throughout Montgomery County on their journey of recovery.

Not surprisingly, the past two years have been particularly challenging. “We’ve had to redesign all of our interactions for increased safety and health, given the reality of COVID-19,” says executive director Lisa Hansford. “Yet, even with all of the adjustments to ensure the safety of its members, The Castle has been able to support its mission and provide supportive social and recreational activities. We’ve taken our members bowling, to the park and are scheduled to visit the BB riverboat, and the Dayton Dragons ballpark this year.”

On a sadder note, the organization has recently lost both of its co-founders, Richard (Dick) Neff and Anthony (Tony) Staub. “To assist our members in coping with the losses, we collaborated with local Boy Scout Troop #516 and Eagle Scouts, Colin Spaulding and Joey Jones, in designing and building a labyrinth and a memorial garden in their honor,” Hansford says. “The newly landscaped outdoor space has become a place of rest and relaxation for the Castle members.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

She says the pandemic has also greatly reduced donations from the community. “Because The Castle is not a clinic or a hospital, but a place of peer support and recovery, it does not fit neatly into traditional funding categories for mental illness,” she explains. “We look to the community-at-large to assist us in enabling people with mental illness to function more effectively in their families and communities.”

Visitors are always welcome and volunteers are always needed. “You may wish to drop by and talk with members at The Castle so you can witness the transformative work that goes on here,” Hansford says. “We just ask that you call first.” The phone number is 937-433-3931.

Here’s what they need:

  • Cleaning supplies
  • Coffee, decaf, drink mixes
  • Paper products for kitchen: cups 8 oz. - 12 oz.
  • Individual packets of creamer, sugar
  • Office supplies such as envelopes, manila envelopes, pens, pencils, tape
  • Gift cards for supplies
  • Art supplies, including a T-shirt press, Sharpie markers, acrylic paints, acrylic enamel paint, card stock, paint brushes, journals, poster board
  • Gift cards (Sam’s, Kroger, gas, and small denomination ($5) fast food restaurants for gifts to members)

Donations can be made from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at The Castle, 133 N. Main St., Centerville (45459). You’re asked to come to the back door on the porch.

Other ways to help

The Castle welcomes new volunteers and community participation in fundraising. The organization also appreciates monetary donations that can be used as scholarships for field trips.


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

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