Crisis Center
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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.

Click here to view our photo albums on Facebook.


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.

We Help
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, CEO; Barbara Wisdom, CFO; Sandra Porter Phillips, Teen Court Coordinator; Gavin Mariano, Safe Place Coordinator/Teen Court Hammond Coordinator/Public Relations & IT support; Trevaughn Davis-Neal, Alternative House/Promises/Counseling Services Director; Sara Spruth, Crisis Contact Coordinator.

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; Geminus; Anderson Foundation; City of Gary emergency solutions grant; corporations, churches, service clubs, and individuals.


Read the Crisis Center's confidentiality statement here (PDF).

Area Served
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

Employees Site Map A United Way Agency A Youth Service Bureau  
Crisis Center Home Page