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Mars Home for Youth
UNITED WAY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY # 465
UNITED WAY OF BUTLER COUNTY #6046
521 Route 228
Mars, PA 16046
Contact: Judy Rodgers, Director of Development
For 130 years, Mars Home for Youth (MHY) has been meeting the ever-changing needs of youth and families in crisis.
Today, MHY provides sanctuary to help clients heal from and cope with psychological and social trauma. Through the implementation of Sanctuary Model for Trauma Informed Organizations, MHY provides a safe and connected community for clients and staff to actively engage in treatment and programming that encourage healthy recovery, healing and growth for clients.
Currently, MHY operates six residential group homes, some of which are licensed residential treatment facilities, for both male and female youth between the ages of 13-18. Through intensive, individualized and group therapeutic services, MHY staff work to help ameliorate the behavioral and emotional issues, and barriers that prevent youth from succeeding in home, school and community settings. MHY’s residential services follow a creative approach to building self-esteem, problem solving, developing life skills and appropriate social behavioral, as well as meeting their individual academic needs.
Diversion & Acute Stabilization Program
The DAS Program is designed as a temporary residential unit for children and adolescents who are experiencing acute behavioral health needs. The optimal length of stay is 28 days.
MHY is continually working to build community-based services that reach at-risk youth and families with a goal to prevent youth from needing out of home placement and to provided a continuum of services following residential treatment.
Multisystemic Therapy Program
The Multisystemic Therapy Program (MST) is designed to serve dependant and delinquent youth who are at-risk of out of home placement. Trained MST therapists work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provided referred youth and families with the skills and resources needed to cope with family, peer, school and community problems that helps prevent youth from entering out of home placement. Currently, MHY administers its MST program in Butler and Venango counties, with hopes to expand the program to other surrounding counties.
Independent Living Program
The In-Home Independent Living Program assists youth 14 years of age and older who have been involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice system and are in need of guidance in order to successfully make the transition to adult living.
Mars Home for Youth’s Longmore Academy provides alternative education for at-risk youth. Both MHY residents and students from surrounding public school districts benefit from a structured, supportive learning environment that is responsive to behavioral and emotional factors that impede students’ academic success. The student to teacher ratio is 12:1, and every teacher is Pennsylvania state-certified and meet state education standards, thus allowing credits earned by students to transfer back to their home school district for promotion or graduation. The curriculum incorporates traditional core subjects with electives such as art, current events and character education. Remedial interventions, including tutoring and special education are provided to address academic deficiencies.
Mars Home for Youth has been addressing the needs of children and families in crisis for 130 years.
In 1877, a dying widow appealed to Rev. James Fulton, the young pastor of the Fourth United Presbyterian Church of Allegheny, to help her find homes for her five soon-to-be orphaned children. Rev. Fulton called together the women of the United Presbyterian churches of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City (now the North Side) and challenged them to find a solution to this problem. They women formed the United Presbyterian Women’s Association, and the first orphans’ home was opened in a rented six room house on Sherman Avenue in Pittsburgh in 1878.
Over the next 25 years, the United Presbyterian Women’s Association expanded their vision to include the aged and the sick. The United Presbyterian Home for the Aged, now part of Presbyterian Senior Care, and Columbia Hospital, which became part of the Forbes Health System, opened in Wilkinsburg. The Orphan’s Home also moved to two other sites on the North Side. In 1929, having outgrown its facilities once again, an estate was purchased in Mars, PA.
During the Depression years parents had no means to support their children would bring them to the home to be cared for until the age of 14 when they would either be returned home or placed in substituted care. In the 1950’s, the Home was renamed the United Presbyterian Home for Children as its emphasis began to reflect the change from caring for orphans to caring for children from broken homes. Until the mid-1970’s, the children came to the home either as orphans or from families broken by poverty or death.
In 1990 the institutional name was changed to Mars Home for Youth as the mission continued to evolve to meet the needs of at-risk youth through residential and community based services. MHY continues to expand to reach at-risk youth in many surrounding counties in Western Pennsylvania.
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