In 1972, a group of Milford citizens were concerned about the lack of activities and programs available for youth in Milford and decided to create an organization that would engage youth in constructive conversation, steering them away from drug use. That organization has evolved into what has become People’s Place.
“People’s Place is comprised of eleven programs which are located throughout Delaware,” Kim Rigby, Communications and Donor Relations Manager for People’s Place, said. “These programs address and provide services for the social and mental health needs of Delawareans.”
In the beginning, People’s Place provided a safe haven for youth who had little or no way to spend leisure time. With donated furniture and space, founders which included Chuck Moses Bebe Mick and Jane Tiganti created an organization where youth could spend time with their peers, get guidance and schoolwork assistance while enjoying activities designed to keep them out of trouble. Eventually, the founders discovered that they were also providing mental health services to many of those who visited the center.
“Three original founders were successful in obtaining a grant from the Delaware Agency to Reduce Crime and the organization became more formalized,” Ms. Rigby said. “They created a Board of Directors and hired a paid director as well as staff. In 1976, People’s Place became a direct care provider and hired its first mental health professional.”
In Milford, People’s Place has four public locations. The Administrative Office, Counseling Center, Center for Community Justice and Independent Living Program are all located on Airport Road in Milford. The organization has several other shelters and offices whose locations are kept confidential due to safety reasons.
“We offer mental health counseling, family and individual counseling for all ages, marital counseling and prescription management,” Ms. Rigby said. “We also operate domestic violence hotline and emergency shelters in Kent and Sussex Counties, as well as an emergency shelter and hotline for Hispanic domestic abuse victims. Survivors and their children are offered counseling specific to domestic violence and we offer Anger Management classes at our Turning Point Program.” Ms. Rigby said that People’s Place also has three separate programs for youth, a Girl’s Group Home, and the Residential Alternative to Detention Program.
In addition to those services, People’s Place operates the Whatcoat Social Services Program in Dover, an emergency homeless shelter. There are also three Visitation Centers in Kent and Sussex County, a Veteran’s Outreach Program and the Center for Community Justice which provides victim-offender mediation for misdemeanor crimes referred by the justice department.
People’s Place is a non-profit organization and Ms. Rigby said that they do receive some state and federal funding. However, they rely heavily on the support of the community to remain in operation.
“Last year, over 7,500 individuals benefitted from our service and programs which represent our mission to help children and adults receive their fullest potential,” Ms. Rigby said. “We offer presentations about our mission and what we offer at People’s Place to organizations throughout the state.”
Anyone in need of services from People’s Place can call the Administration Office at 302-422-8033 or contact the Counseling Center directly at 302-422-8026. The Domestic Violence Hotline number is 302-422-8058 in Kent and Sussex Counties or 302-678-3886 in Northern Kent County. The Hispanic Domestic Violence Program, Abriendo Puertas, can be reached at 302-745-9874.
To have a representative of People’s Place speak to an organization, church, school or business about the agency, please contact Ms. Rigby at 302-422-8033, extension 198.