MECHANICSBURG — Since the mid-1800s, Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries has been serving children and families through a wide range of programs.
Today, those programs transition into a new organization known as Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries.
Programs in the new organization include Diakon Adoption & Foster Care, Diakon Family Life Services, and Diakon Youth Services inclusive of the Diakon Wilderness Center near Boiling Springs, Pa.
“While this change should be largely invisible to the public,” says Mark T. Pile, Diakon president/CEO, “we believe it will have an important effect on our goal of growing these programs, which serve people of all ages throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania and much of Maryland.”
Primarily, the change establishes a separate board of directors for the organization. “While members of the Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries board have done a wonderful job in guiding and supporting all of our services, changes in health care and senior living demand a significant amount of their time. This change will allow us to have two service-focused boards of directors, one on social services, the second on post-acute long-time health care and retirement accommodations,” Pile said.
In addition, the transition should assist with fund-raising opportunities including grant submissions.
The Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries organization now consists primarily of senior living and housing communities. Both Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries and the new organization report to the parent Diakon organization.
Programs within Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries directly carry on the heritage of service begun in 1868 and 1897 when, respectively, the Tressler Lutheran Home for Children, Perry County, Pa., and The Lutheran Home at Topton in Berks County, Pa., began.
In 2013, the various programs in the new Lutheran-affiliated organization served nearly 21,000 people. In addition, nearly 400,000 persons received products from non-profit groups benefiting from Diakon Kathryn’s Kloset warehouse ministry.
In addition to adoption, family counseling and youth services, the new organization includes the Diakon Kathryn’s Kloset program, a wide range of Diakon Community Services in Schuylkill and Berks counties and surrounding regions, Diakon’s Lutheran Disaster Response program, congregational services, and two adult day services centers in Hagerstown, Md., and Pottstown, Pa.
William Swanger, M.A., APR
Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries