The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth was founded in 1970 as the Department of Consultation and Education of Eagleville Hospital and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The Lincoln Center initially focused on drug and alcohol prevention through educational programs for students and occasional in-service training for school personnel. Program diversification eventually led to independence from Eagleville Hospital in 1983, and The Lincoln Center became an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Lincoln Center mirrored its initial purpose when it created new programs that educated young adults about the dangers of drug and alcohol in the early to late 2000s. TLC developed a tobacco use prevention program in which staff visited all middle schools and high schools, public or private, in Montgomery County to conduct presentations on the adverse effects of tobacco. This program also led staff into homes in the community to conduct tobacco prevention lessons to families. The Community Asset Project was developed to promote drug-free communities and change community mindset regarding underage drinking, conveying consumption of alcohol as a harmful activity to youth.
The Lincoln Center entered into the area of counseling when the organization placed the first school-based counselor at Keith Valley Middle School in 1973. Counseling and drug and alcohol awareness programs continued in school districts in Montgomery county, which is now referred to as our School-Based Counseling program, and serves students facing diverse mental health issues.
TLC again expanded its services in 1975 by engaging in education and treatment when it opened Montgomery County Community Day School, a day treatment counseling and educational services for troubled youth who would otherwise face institutionalization. MCCDS later partnered with the Norristown Area School District to form the Lincoln Academy, named collectively by its students. The idea of the Lincoln Academy branched off into schools called Genesis. Genesis schools were located within the actual schools of districts needing services for nontraditional learners. Our various schools and the open-minded philosophy behind them have converged into our current school, The Leadership Academy.
In 1978, TLC established the Family Resource Center under a grant from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect as a counseling center for at-risk individuals and families experiencing high levels of stress or suffering from abuse. In 1985 TLC additionally started a single parent program in which single parents received group education and counseling services. These programs have evolved into what is now our Community Counseling Center, which provide free mobile counseling to individuals and families in Montgomery County, and our Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Community Counseling program, in which victims of crime ages 3 to 59 are provided free and mobile counseling.
In the early to mid-eighties The Lincoln Center began group meetings for seniors to discuss problems centered around aging. Later, TLC began providing elderly people with consumer programs and medication management training. The Lincoln Center continued its counseling of the elderly through the Elderwise program, which began in 2008 and dealt with social isolation and depression in older adults. We now have a different program for people over the age of 60, called Elder Victim Mobile Support, through which we continue to serve older adults who have been victims of crime.
Afterschool programs, summer camps, and summer school programs were all services previously provided by the Lincoln Center. These programs promoted a drug-free lifestyle, healthy living, and mental wellbeing for young adults. The Lincoln Center wishes to expand its definition of coaching beyond current programs and develop services that speak to the extracurricular and afterschool components of mental health.
For almost 50 years, The Lincoln Center has served students and families in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Our primary services continue to revolve around education and counseling, two areas in which mental health fluency and mental wellbeing is a goal of our organization and a demonstrated area of need throughout the counties we serve. The Lincoln Center for Family and Youth will remain dedicated to its commitment to improve understanding of mental health within the community, the mental health of our clients, and awareness and inspiration regarding alternative education methods. We hope to continue expanding services to provide for those who don’t have access to human services they need not just to survive, but to thrive.