Centre Helps plays a vital role in providing emotional support and in educating and guiding individuals to appropriate programs and services. The agency meets a variety of needs for those in personal crisis, needing shelter or health care, facing under-and unemployment, and so on. Centre Helps is the key community resource that enables people with diverse concerns to identify and access services aimed at reaching financial and personal stability. Many callers report having no other options for support.
It is well established that lower cost, early prevention efforts are central to deterring escalation of a problem and avoiding higher cost intervention services (i.e., parenting skills coaching and supervision rather than foster care). The Hotline and Emergency Services staff are empathetic, well-trained volunteers who provide assistance and information to callers (some without the skills to articulate their needs and locate help). Addressing a problem in the early stages may prevent it from becoming more serious and unmanageable.
About a third of our budget comes from the Centre County United Way, a third from the Youthful Offender Program, and a third from Centre County Government for the 24-hour Hotline. We could not do what we do without necessary support from CCUW, Centre County Government, Centre Foundation, area churches, and other generous supporters. We operate on a very tight margin, however. Our paid staff consists of just four full-time positions— down from six a few years ago. We really need another full-time Basic Needs Case Manager and a Marketing/Development Manager. We wouldn’t make it without our wonderful volunteers. They provide an incredible cost savings to the organization.” (See Volunteer Training section).