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YOUNGSTOWN Help Hotline to expand its headquarters building



Published: Tue, April 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Construction is to be complete by Dec. 15.

By WILLIAM K. ALCORN

VINDICATOR HEALTH WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A $500,000 building project will allow Help Hotline Crisis Center to expand and centralize.

Construction on an enlarged headquarters is to begin June 1 and be complete by Dec. 15.

Help Hotline is one of the fastest growing mental health agencies in the area and as services and professional staff have grown over the past decade, the agency has had to locate them wherever it could find space, executive director Duane Piccirilli said.

"We have evolved into a central contact point for social and human services in Mahoning and Columbiana Counties," he said.

Agency's history

Several years ago, Help Hotline bought a former neighborhood grocery store in the downtown area and renovated it into offices and professional spaces for about half its services. Other services were located throughout the community.

At a meeting this morning to unveil architectural drawings of the new building, Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Timothy P. Maloney praised the people who work for and volunteer for Help Hotline.

"Nothing is more important than serving your fellow man," he said.

Help Hotline was incorporated in Mahoning County in 1971 and has grown from a six-hour a day hotline in a room off the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, to a 24-hour, seven days a week comprehensive crisis intervention and community resource center, that also offers support services to mental health consumers.

Help Hotline has 18 full-time and 16 part-time employees, with a volunteer work force of 30. Volunteer telephone listeners receive six weeks of training.

"The average length of time worked by a volunteer is 18 to 20 months, but we have a listener who has been here 18 years," Piccirilli said.

Raising funds

A campaign begun last fall has raised $350,000. The single largest contribution, $120,000, came from the Ohio Department of Mental Health through the efforts of Ron Marian, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health Board, Piccirilli said.

Several local foundations -- Seidel, John and Loretta Hynes, Alder Charitable Trust, Commercial Intertech, Home Savings & amp; Loan, Youngstown, Crandall, Andrews, Ward Beecher, Walter E. and Caroline H. Watson -- approved grants of between $5,000 and $50,000, and an individual donor, Francis Solomon, contributed $25,000.

That leaves $150,000 to be raised in the public phase of the campaign, which Piccirilli said will pay for a pitched roof over the old and new portions of the building, as well as new furniture and office equipment.

XContributors may call (330) 747-5111 or send a check payable to Help Hotline Crisis Center, P.O. Box 46, Youngstown 44501-0046.




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