For 50 years, HelpLine has provided hope, help and healing in our community. What started 50 years ago around a kitchen table providing support and alternatives for single, pregnant women has now become the only 24/7 resource providing both support in moments of crisis and connections to health and human services, spanning eight counties in North Central Ohio.
Over the last 50 years, we’ve seen a lot from launching 2-1-1 to a once-in-a century health pandemic that required us to discover new ways of thinking, invoking ingenuity and innovation in our service delivery. The agency’s history is a story of growth and innovation, merging the collective strength of two county-wide agencies to expand community reach and pioneering new technologies to assist in accessing health and human service information.
We invite you to celebrate us as we reflect on some of our most significant moments in our history. From a volunteer-based organization to more than 45 employees across five offices, HelpLine continues to look for new ways to address the evolving needs of the community while meeting the moment. We are HelpLine.
- 1970 – Five women envisioned and planned a service to provide support and alternatives for single pregnant women.
- 1972 – Help Anonymous operations begin in Delaware County in a donated space, above Buns Restaurant, answering 35 calls in its first year.
- 1974 – Ohio Wesleyan University student hotline, “The Listening Post”, merges with Help Anonymous. The volunteer base doubled to 24 and call volume increased to 250 calls in this year.
- 1975 – Help Anonymous becomes incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 organization and moves to 11 E. Central Avenue Katherine Gharrity named the first Executive Director of Help Anonymous and begins to receive funding from the United Way of Delaware County, Community Mental Health Board, Title 20 and Area Agency on Aging.
- 1979 – Morrow County-based Hopeline becomes incorporated with initial donations from United Appeal of Morrow County, Inter-church Council and Delaware-Morrow Mental Health Recovery Services Board.
- 1980 – Hopeline begins taking calls on January 2, 1980 and within three months goes to 24-hour coverage, answering 312 calls in its first year.
- 1982 – Help Anonymous call volume soars from 35 in its initial year to 5,500
- 1986 – Survivor of Suicide support group forms, along with an expanded volunteer training program to include 50 hours of classroom, observation and role playing sessions.
- 1987 – Ohio Department of Human Services awards grant to develop and distribute a resource handbook of human services for Delaware County.
- 1988 – Received initial accreditation from the American Association of Suicidology – at that time, one of 90 organizations awarded throughout North America.
- 1990 – Developed the first resource manual for Delaware County.
- 1991 – Certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and revises organizational structure to meet state and federal standards.
- 1995 – First Capital Campaign launched and Clinical Director position created hiring the first LISW.
- 1996 – Help Anonymous and Hopeline merge to form HelpLine of Delaware and Morrow Counties, Inc. Connections Volunteer Center began at Andrews House, funded by United Way of Delaware County and Council for Older Adults.
- 1997 – Formed the Sexual Assault Response Network (SARN) with funding primarily through the Ohio Victims Service Office of the Ohio Attorney General.
- 1999 – Joined the 2-1-1 Ohio Collaborative, a group dedicated to the implementation of 2-1-1, an easy to remember universal number to gain access to information on health and human services.
- 1998 – Received first certification through American Association of Suicidology.
- 2000 – First in Ohio to join 1-800-SUICIDE talk network – the only suicide network to cover the United States.
- 2002 – HelpLine becomes the first agency in the State of Ohio to launch 2-1-1.
- 2003 – HelpLine receives certification from the Alliance of Information & Referral Systems.
- 2007 – The City of Delaware and Village of Mount Gilead declared September 27 as HelpLine Day.
- 2008 – Selected as a top three state finalist for the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations (OANO), Ohio Nonprofit Excellence Award. Developed and introduced the HelpLine Jazz and Silent Auction signature fundraiser to Delaware County. Held the first-ever HelpLine Golf Outing at Mill Creek Golf Course in Ostrander, Ohio.
- 2009 – The Center for Disease Control cites HelpLine mentoring group, ‘It’s A Guy Thing’ in the “Report Describing Projects Designed to Prevent First-Time Male Perpetration of Sexual Violence (update).
- 2010 – Celebrates 40 years of service and success in Delaware and Morrow counties.
- 2018 – Launched the HelpLine texting line 898211
- 2019 – Conducted the first ever Sages & Seekers intergenerational program in partnership with Delaware City Schools.
- 2020 – Celebrated 50 years of hope, help and healing through eight North Central Ohio counties. Added Miami County to the 2-1-1 network covered by HelpLine certified resource and hotline specialists.
- Pat Silleck
- Georganne Parker
- Mary Ann Keefer
- Katherine Gharrity
- Jeannie Ball
- Sally Stevenson
- Father Statmiller, Advisor
- Katherine Gharrity 1975 to 1980
- Carolyn Merriman 1980 to 1981
- Barbara Longstreth 1981 to 1983
- Myrna Paul 1984 to 1989
- Les Krisa 1991 to 1992
- Kenton Beachy 1993 to 1996
- Sue Hanson 1996 to Present