The newly formed human services organization, The Open Link, opened its doors Monday, giving the Upper Perkiomen Valley its first glimpse at the combined organizations of The Open Line and the Upper Perkiomen Senior Center.
“Having a single source for community programs was something people in the Upper Perkiomen Valley asked for. ‘One-stop shopping’ was how one resident described the idea,” said Mary Young, president of The Open Link’s board of directors via a press release. “I also think speaking with a unified voice as a single agency will strengthen how we communicate with Montgomery County and other partners for continued services in the valley.”
The merger between the two non-profits, finalized in January, had been in the works for years under the leadership of the Upper Perkiomen Community Services Coalition. Both organizations’ boards agreed to go ahead with the move in late 2012.
The senior center facility at 517 Jefferson St. in East Greenville and the former home of The Open Line at 452 Penn St. in Pennsburg will remain open under the umbrella of The Open Link. The Open Link’s goal is to one day operate out of a central location, but there are no plans to relocate in the immediate future, officials said.
All programs and services will stay intact, officials explained, including Meals on Wheels, health and wellness classes, the food cupboard, financial assistance, domestic violence support services, employment counseling and education offerings.
The directors of the senior center and The Open Line – Joy Luff and Lilibet Coe, respectively – retired in the past year. Luff will reportedly stay on as an adviser with The Open Link to help facilitate the transition.
The Open Link recently named its new director, Stuart G. Bush, who started his role this week. Bush, who retired from Rohm and Haas after 25 years as a research leader, began work in the non-profit arena in 2009 as a director of The Academy at Liberty Resources in Philadelphia and later served as grants and operations manager at Keystone Opportunity Center in Souderton.
“I’ve been involved in community service all my life,” he said Friday of his passion to help others. “I feel blessed to have this opportunity come to me and I’m excited.
“I want the community to know first that nothing’s changed. We have the same programs, same locations and are still looking forward to that ongoing relationship.
“The other part now is that we are linked together. That will allow us to have even more of an impact. My overall vision for the community is that everyone in the Upper Perkiomen Valley has the opportunity to flourish. That’s our newborns to our seniors. I invite everyone to take part in having a positive impact here. It takes a whole community to make these things work.”
Bush thanked all those who worked on the merger, both publicly and behind the scenes, noting more still has to be done.
“I’m going to work really hard so that people at The Open Line and the senior center know they are all important and we’re going to do this together.”
For more information on The Open Link, call the Pennsburg or East Greenville offices at 215-679-4112. Stuart Bush can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.