I was a member of another program that wasn't fulfilling for me and it didn't have to offer what Arch Street has to offer me. To come here was the best thing to happen for me.
I wasn't a people person but now I put myself out there to be around people.
It took me away from the negativity and to bring me to somewhere where the atmosphere and environment where I feel comfortable and I feel relaxed and I feel safe.
It's a safe place, a refuge, for any kind of recovery.
It's a place that can help you get the tools you need to help you in your recovery.
I Belong means that you have a place where you can get out, have fun, enjoy yourself, relax, have people that care about you.
This is the best place I've ever been to.
I'm glad I've been here for the last five years because I got all the tools and information I need to help me in my life.
There really isn't any place like it.
Arch Street Center is an independent non-profit offering a membership-based day program for adults living with serious mental illness. We provide a safe, caring and judgment-free space with a focus on socialization, recreation and empowerment. Many adults with mental health issues find themselves isolated, with few close friends or family to rely on and at a high risk for being neglected or forgotten by the communities in which they live. At Arch Street Center members can meet with peers, form new friendships, relax and enjoy themselves without the burden of stigma or other outside pressures. Our dedicated staff strives to create a welcoming, friendly and respectful environment and to treat each of our members as an individual person rather than as a patient or consumer. We work in tandem with local, state and private agencies to provide the consistent social support and positive human connections necessary for overall health and well-being. Since 1983, our main objective has been to support the entire person, body, mind and spirit, and to make the effort to understand each and every member's unique, individual needs. We work hard to make Arch Street Center a place where our members feel they belong.
Attendance at Arch Street Center is voluntary, therefore it's up to us to create a program that makes our members want to keep coming back. Our facility is clean and welcoming, our staff is friendly and caring and our programs are designed to be therapeutic and fun. We offer both structured and spontaneous activities including crafts, games, art classes, meditation, educational programs and a monthly block cleanup project. Offsite activities include bowling, Barnstormers and Phillies baseball games, flea-market outings, movies, nature hikes, laser tag, holiday cookouts and annual trips to the beach. Our community meals are an important element in promoting a culture of belonging. We provide a midday and evening meal seven days a week and special meals served by community groups or individuals approximately twice per month. The Center also features a spacious game room with pool, table tennis, foosball and a Wii, two television rooms and a bank of computers where members can access the internet. We also provide laundry and shower facilities for members who do not have them available elsewhere. Arch Street Center members get all of this and more for a minimal $12 annual fee, or only $1 per month!
The need for Arch Street Center became clear over 36 years ago when parents, case workers, advocates and psychiatric professionals realized the mental health care system in Lancaster lacked any formal social support structure. They envisioned a dedicated environment for adults with mental illness to bond with peers in a safe, nurturing environment, devoid of stigma and judgment, where individuals could freely express themselves and develop lasting and positive personal relationships. A space in the basement of a local church was secured and Arch Street Center opened its doors on September 19, 1983, offering coffee, snacks, games, occasional field trips and a small evening meal. By 2012 it became clear we needed a building of our own, and in June of 2014 we moved into the bright, custom-designed facility we use today. We currently host 25-45 members daily, offer 45-60 activities per month and serve approximately 18,000 meals annually. It's quite a change from the original two rooms, coffee urn and crock-pot, but what hasn't changed is our deep commitment to helping adults living with mental illness on their recovery journeys. Three and a half decades later we're still building hope and transforming lives one member at a time.