Historical Timeline/Fact Sheet/Mission/Service Area
-The original site of the Alternative House at 667 Van Buren St. in Gary, Indiana
The current site of the Crisis Center in Gary's beautiful
Miller Beach area, located just 4 blocks
south of Lake Michigan
Our mission statement:
Strengthening communities and empowering families with emphasis on children in need of shelter, safety and support.
Click here to view photos from our 2010 building expansion!
Volunteers began the Rap Line (crisis hotline) in 1971 in response to the tragic suicide of teenager Karen Leshk in 1971. Alternative House opened in January 1976. Counseling Services developed in 1974. Safe Place outreach to youth in crisis began in the spring of 1987. Teen Court, an early intervention and youth development program began in 1989 and Youth as Resources in 1998. In 2003, a merger was completed between Rap Line and Contact Cares and the name of the crisis line was changed to Crisis Contact. Reassurance Contact is outreach to disabled or senior citizens through regular phone contact.
We believe in people. We believe people are important. We believe that people can change. We believe in each life there are crisis events that are opportunities for change.
We believe relationships between people are the vital link that holds society together. We believe in each life there are moments when the individual or the family must reach beyond themselves for support, help and understanding.
We believe it is in such moments that the Crisis Center serves as agents to respond, to aid, to support and to enrich the people we serve.
Any person, of any age, in personal crisis through our 24 hour services, range of services, and referrals throughout Indiana.
Click here for our entire program & services descriptions
Shirley Caylor, Executive Director. Barbara Wisdom, Associate Director/Finance, Bill Robinson, Alternative House Coordinator, Sandra Porter Phillips, Teen Court Coordinator/Human Resource Specialist; Gavin Mariano, Safe Place Coordinator/Teen Court Hammond Coordinator/Public Relations & I.T; Willie Perry, Crisis Contact & Reassurance Contact Coordinator, and Kate Marencik, Counseling Services specialist.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Runaway & Homeless Youth Act; Indiana Dept. of Child Services; Indiana Dept. of Education; Gary School Corporation (Chapter I); Lake Area United Way; Lake County Division of Child Services; Lake County Drug Free Alliance; Anderson Foundation; corporations, churches, service clubs, and individuals.
Read the Crisis Center's confidentiality statement here (PDF).
Northwest Indiana, primarily Lake County & Porter County, although any person in need of service from any part of the state or nation may receive services at the Crisis Center.
Important Dates and Historic Time line
One of the Crisis Center's billboards
displayed throughout Lake County in 2006
Executive Director, Shirley Caylor &
former Board President, E. Thomas Collins
display a photo of the outdoor recreation
The Crisis Center's late co-founder, Donald Capp
January 1971 Pilot program, Rap-Line begins
April 1974 Counseling Services begin
January 1976 Alternative House opens at 667 Van Buren Street, Gary
February 1977 Intercept Substance Abuse services starts
March 1980 Initiative - Job Training for Youth (ended September 1984)
September 1984 Intercept substance abuse services folded into Counseling Services
December 1984 Family Demonstration Grant (ended 1985)
March 1987 Safe Place begins in Indiana by the Crisis Center
July 1988 Crisis Center services consolidated / Alternative House moved to 101 N. Montgomery
October 1989 Runaway “Drug Abuse Prevention” Grant folded into Alternative House services
November 1989 Teen Court program started
October 1996 Runaway “Street Outreach Grant” begins (ended September, 1998)
March 1998 Youth As Resources added to roster of Crisis Center programs
March 2000 Crisis Center expansion complete
August 2003 Crisis Center outdoor recreation playground complete
May 2003 Merger Rap Line & Contact Cares / Services re-named “Crisis Contact”
May 2003 Reassurance Contact becomes newest Crisis Center program
October 2006 The Crisis Center's founder, Rev. Donald Capp passes away.
April 2007 Long-time employee and friend, Don Johnson passes away.
August 2008 Safely Home program begins
April 2009 Project Safe Place expands to Porter County
November 2010 Alternative House 2.5 million dollar expansion complete