Help Hotline Thanks Employees, Supporters for Its 50 Years

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Help Network of Northeast Ohio marked its 50th anniversary Friday with a recognition event at the Youngstown Community Center.

The nonprofit dates its origin to 1970 when a drug information line staffed by volunteers was launched at Churchill United Methodist Church in Liberty Township and operated just four hours a day.

Today Help Hotline covers four counties and handles more than 130,000 calls annually to its suicide, crisis and information lines.

“In the last 50 years, we’ve handled over 2 million calls,” noted Vince Brancaccio, CEO.

Attorney Brian Macala, chairman of the Help Hotline board, and Brancaccio were presented certificates during the event (pictured above).

“The way this organization has not just lasted but grown exponentially is not something that could be credited to me or any previous leader. Our success is due to the people who work here — the dedicated, skilled and very special Help Network employees,” Brancaccio said in his remarks.

Among the employees the CEO recognized was Cathy Grizinski, associate director, who has been with the agency for more than 40 years.

“Now as great as our people are, we could not have come this far and helped so many people without receiving help ourselves … from funders, all our stakeholders and partners over the years — including our other provider agencies, Brancaccio said.

On Oct. 1, Help Hotline will launch a fundraising campaign, “Break the Chain of Suicide,” that will be chaired by Frank Hierro, who is retiring next month from Premier Bank.

The agency provides a 24/7 hotline for individuals contemplating suicide, the 211 information and referral service, and referrals to other community-based programs to get individuals and families the help they need.
Help Network is the Mahoning Valley’s only suicide and crisis hotline. Over the last 50 years, it has answered more than 2 million phone calls.

Pictured at top: Brian Macala, chairman of the Help Hotline board, and Vince Brancaccio, CEO, are presented certificates at the Help Hotline recognition event.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.