The Philanthropy Collaborative

Regional Case Studies

Milestone Centers, Inc.

John Edwards, III is direct about his feelings. "Without Milestone I would lose everything," he says. "I would be so sick. It would be awful. I would relapse. Being here is just so important." John is one of the thousands of extraordinary individuals receiving behavioral health and intellectual disabilities supports from Milestone Centers, Inc., a nonprofit agency currently celebrating four decades of service and caring. Milestone's forty years of existence have made a difference in the lives of countless individuals and families. Each year, throughout twenty counties in Western Pennsylvania, nearly 3,500 men, women and children receive one or more services from highly trained professionals who deliver the Milestone mission with skill and empathy.

On any given day, Milestone's broad array of behavioral health and developmental disabilities services include providing community homes to elderly persons, helping deaf individuals suffering from schizophrenia, advocating for middle-aged individuals coping with depression, or providing best practice mobile therapy to children struggling with behavioral issues. It may be assisting a developmentally-challenged young woman with structured employment and job training or providing food and clothing to a homeless man with bipolar disorder. Milestone's services cover all of this and more; our mission means being there when, and where, the need is most urgent.

Adhering to the core principles of inclusion and community integration, Milestone has proven time and again that people with behavioral health or intellectual challenges can and do live full, productive lives in their communities, often giving back much more than they receive.

Milestone meets a very important need in the Western Pennsylvania community, a need that is often unseen or forgotten. Before Milestone, the unwanted-the "mentally ill" and "mentally retarded"-were locked away in state hospitals. Today, people with disabilities live, work, go to school and play in their communities, leading the ordinary lives many of us take for granted. Hila says, "It is certainly true that without the staff at Milestone, I don't think my brother would be alive. Those staff members consistently go the extra mile for the consumers and they care deeply for them. I thank God every day that John is there." John echoes his sister's sentiment. "There's so much support," he says. "I just want to continue and be independent. I get help here and feel better. I hope Milestone continues forever."

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