People Helping People
Daybreak, our weekday drop-in center, gives people living with mental illness or physical disabilities and those struggling with addiction or HIV/AIDS, as well as the neighborhood’s elderly, a place to belong. Daybreak serves three balanced meals each weekday. Staff teach life skills and work with members to provide stability and help them reach their full potential.
Yet many of the program’s benefits stem from the participants themselves: Daybreak is a tight-knit community—a family for those who have none—that empowers and encourages members to advocate for themselves and take control of their life and their conditions.
The program provides educational, vocational, and recreational opportunities, such as trips to state parks and hands-on visits to community gardens, that otherwise would not be available to participants. To gain membership, individuals must complete and/or stay active in treatment.
Daybreak dates back to the late 1970s, when the owner of an anchor store in downtown Allentown responded to customer complaints about a crowd of “vagrants” loitering and blocking the store’s entrance. After learning that these people had been released from the state hospital and had nowhere else to go, he did not call the police. Instead, he called the Conference and asked us to help, which led to the Daybreak’s opening in 1979.
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