Human Services Center Mon Valley has helped families for 40 years, and they’re just getting started
Photo above of Rico Carter and family courtesy of the Human Services Center.
The collapse of the steel industry is still felt in the Mon Valley, where poverty and unemployment accelerate the effects of other social problems. But the Human Services Center Mon Valley is focused on the future after celebrating 40 years of service to residents of the region.
The Center was established in 1982 as a human services “mall” with a mission to fight poverty and improve the quality of life for children, adults, and families in the Mon Valley.
Currently housing 12 tenant agencies, the Human Services Center is also used as an outreach base by more than 80 additional programs. One goal of the Center is to enhance cooperation and coordination among these human service providers while promoting a supportive, responsive environment for the delivery of services.
This powerful collection of programs serves more than 750 residents daily from 38 communities in the Mon Valley.
After 40 years of doing this work, the Center was recently “reintroduced” to the community and a new logo was unveiled that captures the Center’s renewed mission: People powering people. Powering programs. Powering progress. Powering partners and policy.
Rico Carter, a community member in the Supports for Success program, attended the 40th-anniversary celebration and shared that he credits his mentor, support specialist Iris Grilho, for a new lease on life.
“She believed in me” at a time when hope was scarce, Carter said.
SKILLS AND RESILIENCE
HSC operates core programs that focus on growing the skills and resilience of its youth.
One is the Emerging Leaders Program, a workforce and college readiness program for low-income high school seniors. 96% of participants earned a high school diploma in 2021-22 and 90% entered post-secondary training or education, the military and/or entered the workforce.
Two other core programs keep young people active and focused on reading and math all year long: the Youth LIFE after-school program and KOOL, the summer program.
And last year 26 volunteer tax preparers helped Mon Valley residents complete their taxes, returning a million dollars to the community economy.
Looking ahead, executive director Dave Coplan says they’re not standing on their laurels. There’s more work to be done.
Even the new logo reflects more joy, says Leah O’Reilly, director of programs. It’s colorful, she says, and reflects who we are and whom we serve. It’s people powering people.