Businesses Step Up: Briarfield, YSU, Serenity Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Business Journal is asking companies and organizations to tell us how they are faring, what they are doing.

Monday morning, we sent a letter to the business community, asking readers to share their stories and what they’re doing to help others through this crisis. You can submit your own story at

In the days ahead, we’ll share more from our readers on how they’re getting through an unprecedented time that has affected all businesses and all walks of life.

Here’s the latest edition of what we’re hearing:

Briarfield Communities Adapt to Daily Life

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — As COVID-19 continues to impact the community, Briarfield Health Care Centers strives to make life for its residents as normal as possible. Following restrictions put in place by the Ohio Department of Health, the senior living company has gotten creative with its daily activities and mediums to communicate with loved ones.

“Keeping our residents healthy and safe is our top priority, but we also want to keep them engaged,” says its president, Diane Reese. “Our staff is doing a great job at modifying their daily activities. We are delivering activity packets to resident rooms, which include puzzles, word searches, books and riddles. Some of our communities have implemented a hydration cart to provide snacks and drinks to residents throughout the day and a spa cart with calming music, essential oils and hand lotion.”

Due to the temporary suspension of visitors, video chatting tools are used to arrange virtual visits between residents and family members. 

“It’s important to maintain strong communication with our families always, but especially during this challenging time,” says Amanda Rivera, executive director at Briarfield’s Boardman location, The Inn at Walker Mill. “We are utilizing modern technology such as FaceTime and Skype to set up visits and the residents are amazed!”

The Inn at Ironwood, Briarfield’s Canfield community, made connecting with family into a fun activity. Residents wrote messages on a chalkboard to share with loved ones. 

“We want to help our residents in any way we can while following the guidelines of social distancing,” says executive director, Michelle Watkins. 


$50K Campaign will Help Needy YSU Students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Youngstown State University Foundation has launched a campaign to raise $50,000 over the next 90 days to help YSU students who are struggling financially during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Penguin-to-Penguin campaign will provide YSU’s most vulnerable students with up to $500 for housing, car repairs, medical bills, food, toiletries, etc. Donations can be made online here.

“Many of our students face significant financial hardships and struggle mightily, even in good times,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “Those difficulties have only worsened during this time of global crisis. Many have lost their jobs and are having a hard time just meeting their basic needs.”

On Thursday, Tressel emailed university employees and alumni asking for participation in the campaign. As of 6:30 p.m., the campaign had raised nearly $21,000.

“A contribution of any amount is appreciated and will greatly assist the continued success of our neediest students,” he said.

Details of how the funds will be distributed are still being finalized. Students will be informed at that time with specifics on eligibility and how to apply for the assistance.

Serenity Center Connects with Patients via Telemedicine

NORTH LIMA, Ohio — The Serenity Center, a Mental Health and Recovery Center, is working with area patients to make healthy choices with regard to attending appointments vs not getting the care they need.

The center has already been utilizing telemedicine to help treat its patients, particularly the ones that are not ambulatory. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, it is expanding telemedicine efforts with its providers to help stem the spread of the virus.  

“We take our responsibility very seriously to our patients and weighing Public Health concerns”, explained Dr. Muhannad Kassawat, medical director. “We are also regularly updating our Facebook Page with information to help guide and provide actionable information not just to our patients but all who follow the page.”

To schedule a telemedicine appointment, call the main office number at 330 965 9999

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.