"Homeless" Shelters in Chester County

Sometimes, things happen.  No one plans to be without a safe place to lay their heads at night.  But, it’s good that Chester County has a resource to help you figure that out, should the need arise.  The only drawback to this service is that it’s only available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.  If you are in urgent need before then, my suggestion would be that you call 911 for assistance.

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Smoking Cessation: Local & State Resources

  • Phoenixville Hospital – offers free support groups for quitting smoking
    • Tobacco Free Support Group – You don’t have to have quit to benefit from this group.  The goal is to provide support to people who are contemplating making this healthy life-change.  As of 10/23/17, the group meets the 4th Monday of every month in the Phoenixville Hospital Cafeteria (140 Nutt Rd, Phoenixville).  For information and to register, call 610-983-1021 or go to their website and click on “Support Groups.”  This group is free of charge.
    • Tobacco Cessation – Ready to quit? Phoenixville Hospital also runs a FREE, 8-week smoking cessation program that meets for eight weeks and provides FREE nicotine replacement therapy.  As of 10/23/17, there is a Thursday Group and a Wednesday group.  For information and to register, call 610-983-1021.
  • PA Free Quitline – Expert, confidential coaching to become tobacco-free.  Nicotine replacement therapy (if available). Progress reports provided to your therapist, if you have a therapist and would like that to happen.  It appears to possible require a health care professional to refer you to the program but it’s probably worth calling to inquire if you don’t have one to do that for you.

Healing Yoga

Update: 12/16/2018  I just learned that Healing Yoga is closing it’s doors.  However, I have decided to leave this article up so that people know that there is such a thing as a yoga/therapy blend that can be very powerful treatment, especially for folks with PTSD.  If you are reading this and know of another local resource that offers this type of treatment, please let me know~ Andrea

I’ve written a little about how yoga is an activity that has benefits for for everyone is beneficial for just about everyone.  Healing Yoga (Douglassville, PA) takes it one step farther.  Recommended to me by a colleague, the instructor, Dorian Abel is a licensed professional  counselor who is skilled at incorporating her professional expertise into some of her yoga classes.  However, even basic yoga classes should provide wonderful ways to develop skills that benefit a person’s mental well-being.  As I write this segment (July ’16), in comparison to prices for yoga classes at other locations that I’ve looked at in the area, her prices are quite reasonable.  The individual session fee is definitely more expensive but my suggestion would be, if you are considering that option but are concerned about the expense, it might be possible to do it once as a consultation and then work to incorporate what you learn into your yoga class experience, on your own.

Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County

The Crime Victims’ Center of Chester County, Inc. provides free and confidential services to victims and their family members/significant others who reside in or were victimized in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  They make the cold and unwelcome world of the court system feel knowable and as effective as possible by practically, and sometimes literally, holding your hand every step of the way.  Additionally, free counseling and even money towards expenses that have resulted from being a victim are also available.

Since I originally wrote this post, I have now had personal experience with this organization and I can’t say enough good things about them.  If you are the victim of a crime, they should be the second place, that you call, after the police/FBI. Even if you are unsure or don’t want to formally report your the crime to the authorities, CVC is there for you, 24-hours/day.

CVC, also known as the Rape Crisis Council of Chester County, Inc., is the designated Sexual Assault Center for Chester County. CVC provides services to victims of all types of crime and violence including, but not limited to: rape, sexual assault, incest, sexual harassment, child abuse, elder abuse, homicide, assault, robbery, identity theft, drunk driving, stalking, and bullying.

Tip: If you don’t live in Chester County, your county will have a crime victims’ center too, but perhaps by a different name.  A quick Google search should be able to help you locate the one in your area.

Peter's Place: For Grieving Children & Families

Located in Radnor, PA, Peter’s Place offers free services to the families and loved ones who are grieving the difficult loss that comes from premature death.  Support groups facilitated by mental health professionals for children and caregivers and young adults are available. Services are also extended to local schools who have students who have recently experienced a loss. More recently, a new grief group has been added to meet the needs of people who are grappling with loss due to substance abuse.  When a loved one dies before old age, the people left behind can feel alone in their grief.  Peter’s Place is there to help.

From their website: Peter’s Place was founded in 2001 in memory of Peter Morsbach. After Peter’s sudden death at the age of ten, his family and friends became aware that there were few support options for grieving families, especially for those who could not afford it.

Friends of the Morsbach family created Peter’s Place, the first family grief support agency of its kind to serve our area. Originally designed after a nationally recognized program, Peter’s Place has since combined awareness of local community needs, professional experience, and extensive best practices research to produce a unique grieving center that is not replicated anywhere.

CHOP's Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic

The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic, (GSD Clinic) offers psychosocial and medical support for gender variant, gender expansive and transgender children and youth up to age 21 and their families. Their multidisciplinary team, led by Nadia L. Dowshen, MD, and Linda Hawkins, PhD, MSEd, LPC, includes specialists in gender identity development from Social Work and Family Services, Adolescent Medicine, Endocrinology, and Behavioral Health. They work with families to best meet the needs of the child or youth who is transgender, gender-variant or gender-nonconforming. They also provide consultation and training for providers and organizations interested in learning how to better serve the needs of gender-variant youth.

With sensitivity and caring, they address how professional medical care can help kids in this position, along with their families, explore what these feelings mean to each individual and make decisions about whether or not hormone therapy is indicated to temporarily hold back the development of secondary sex characteristics (breast development, facial hair, etc) while emotional maturity continues to grow,

Attic Youth Center

Don’t be fooled by it’s title, the Attic Youth Center, offers so much more than just a place for LGBTQIA+ youth to hang out.  I even love the backstory of this place.  It was originally started as an eight-week program, by two graduate students back in 1993.  Hosted in the attic of a building, the kids wouldn’t let it end.  Since that time, it has grown to being a significant resource for area youth.

I think what I love about it the most is that the heart of this organization is to help kids to grow as citizens who are engaged in the world around them and have a voice.  So, not only are there support groups, counseling, case management, healthy choices education, and life skills opportunities, the kids work on community projects together with opportunities for leadership roles.  Plus, the website has inspirational stories and lists of resources.

And, as if that’s not enough, the Bryson Institute offers various trainings regarding current “best practices” for working with LGBTQIA+ youth.  You can contact them, explain the intended audience and needs, and they can customize a training for your organization.  Clearly, this organization is worth checking out!

Mazzoni Center & The TransWellness Conference

The Mazzoni Center’s mission is to provide quality, comprehensive health and wellness services in an LGBT-focused environment, while preserving the dignity and improving the quality of life of the individuals they serve.  Their offers a full array of primary health care services, mental and behavioral health services, and LGBT legal services, as well as HIV and STD testing, food bank and housing subsidies for families and individuals affected by HIV, support groups, outreach and education programs.  They also have specialist in transgender issues.

A prominent feature of the Mazzoni Center is the fact that they host the annual Philly TransWellness Conference.  There is a professional training track (different ones for people in the counseling, medical, and legal professions) that involves paying a reasonable fee.  However, the bulk of the conference is aimed at directly meeting the needs of people within the trans community…and it’s FREE!

Hosted at the Philadelphia Convention Center, the conference is massive and the number of attendees continues to grow every year.  The website boasts that they are, “The Largest Free Trans-Specific Conference in the World,” and I believe it.  While there are cicgendered attendees (people who don’t identify as trans), we are certainly in the minority and it’s really thrilling.  (OK, at first it’s intimidating, for fear of accidentally offending someone, and then thrilling!) To borrow from Harry Potter, a cisgendered person at the conference might initially feel like a muggle would at Hogwarts, which hopefully means that a trans person feels like a wizard who fits right in.  The bathrooms are labeled as being open to any gender identity and everyone walks around with name tags that includes the pronouns that they prefer people use for them.  If you can…go, even if you are neither trans or a professional…and just want to learn more.

Mainline Youth Alliance

Mainline Youth Alliance

The Main Line Youth Alliance is a teen/young adult (ages 14-22) drop in center in on Friday nights Wayne, PA.  They have a guest speaker and then hang out time.  MYA provides a safe and healthy environment for their LGBTQIA+ youth. Meetings are virtually every Friday evening from 7-9:30 pm. There is no charge for admission and like any group, where teens gather, snacks are served! From time to time, they welcome parents to join in for an activity of fundraising or discussions.