It’s no surprise that during the pandemic and stay-at-home order many people have struggled with mental health issues such as depression, sadness, grief and confusion. “This is what our members experience daily,” says The Castle’s Executive Director Lisa Hansford. “During the shutdown — when our facility was ordered to close — our members experienced these and more to an even greater extent.”
Their facility, she says, is a safe and comfortable environment away from what is too often a stigma in our society. The space includes a full-service kitchen that serves more than 6,000 hot cooked lunches a year, along with an art and activities room, a recreation room, patio, enclosed yard and garden. Daily activities include peer support groups, peer-to-peer support, games and activities, field trips, crafts, life skills training, companionship and conversation.
“The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly; members enjoy, appreciate, and support one another, the staff, and the safe nurturing ambiance of this place,” Hansford adds. “Our programming provides a place of trust and friendship, which empowers members to become their highest and most authentic selves while achieving their own personal level of independence and recovery.”
The Castle assists members by supplying state Certified Peer Recovery Supporters to guide, support, and advocate for them. The CPRS are trained and state-certified individuals who have mastered their own recovery process and desire to share that experience with others on their journey. The program is provided free of charge.
“When we were able to reopen, we instituted all the safety precautions as guided by the PHD Public Health Department, CDC and other governmental agencies because we have a high risk population and a high risk setting as a social agency,” Hansford says. “Our goal of maintaining our services and achieving our mission while keeping all members, volunteers, and staff safe has caused us to utilize vast amounts of sanitizer, cleaners and disposable items. We have now been able to remain open for two months without incident due to our health and safety protocols.”
The virus has, as might be expected, impacted daily operations. “We have not been able to work at full capacity per the governor’s order since reopening which has been very tough for all of the members,” Hansford explains. “We have had to redesign all of our interactions for increased safety and health. Even with all of the changes, The Castle has been able to support its mission and has provided recreational activities. We’ve taken our members fishing, to the park and are scheduled to visit the Air Force museum this month.”
Community help needed
The pandemic has 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. “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,” she says.
Here’s what they need:
- Cleaning supplies, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizers, floor cleaners
- Awnings, outdoor canopy
- Coffee, decaf, drink mixes
- Paper products for kitchen: napkins, paper towels, paper plates and cups, plastic silverware
- Individual packets of creamer, sugar,
- Office supplies such as post notes, envelopes, manila envelopes, pens, pencils
- Gift cards for supplies
- Art supplies including a T-shirt press, Sharpie markers, acrylic paints, acrylic enamel paint, Modge Podge glue, sketch books, card stock, paint brushes, journals, poster boards.
- Gift cards (Sam’s, Kroger, gas, and small denomination ($5) fast food restaurants for gifts to members)
Donations can be safely made at The Castle, 133 N. Main St., Centerville. (45429) You’re asked to come to the back door on the porch between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 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,” says Hansford. “We just ask that you call first.” The phone number is (937) 433-3931.
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.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations in our area and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith: MMoss@coxohio.com
Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.