The Children's Institute Blog

Occupational Therapists Donate to Crisis Center North

Posted: Apr 11, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Occupational therapists at The Children’s Institute this month are donating at least 100 items to a Pittsburgh-area domestic violence organization to make a difference during the 100th anniversary of the formal founding of their profession.

The items will go to Crisis Center North, a domestic violence counseling and resource advocacy group based in northern Allegheny County. While Crisis Center North serves about 2,000 people each year, the goods are funneled directly to a pool of 250 to 300 people the organization provides counseling and case management.

“My understanding is that the items we’re planning to donate are not covered by food stamps, by an individual’s SNAP [the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program],” said Tess, an occupational therapist at The Children’s Institute. “We want to focus our donations this month on women, as most of us are women in the profession. And the idea of empowering other women was appealing.”

That help will go far, according to the organization.

“At present, over 70 percent of CCN’s clients require some level of financial assistance,” said Stacy de las Alas, the organization’s assistant director. “SNAP does not cover nonfood items, such as pet foods; soaps, paper products, and household supplies; or grooming items, toothpaste, and cosmetics. These items can be very costly, especially for large families. CCN collects full size items and in turn makes them available to clients so that budget dollars normally used to cover these items can be redirected to utilities or other monthly costs.”

In addition to providing counseling and advocacy, Crisis Center North operates its own micro-lending program, where individuals can borrow funds and make payments on loans to bolster their credit and get financial support in a time of need, Stacy said.

The OT department, whose therapists collectively boast nearly 450 years of professional experience, also is marking the centennial year of the profession internally at its Squirrel Hill offices and satellites. One way they’re doing that is by taking group photos where the collective experience in years adds up to 100.

“Our vast experience is one of the many strengths of our department, and we are excited to use the group photographs to illustrate that experience for our co-workers and clients,”
occupational therapist Leslie Paat said.

The group also will mark the month by adorning bulletin boards with paper self-portraits decorated by their patients, and by setting up an organization-wide screen saver.

For more information on Crisis Center North, visit, call 412-364-6728 or visit the group during its 10th anniversary event, Cocktails & Cuisine, this May.

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