Reflections on 30 Years with For All Seasons by Amelia Blades Steward

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Thirty years ago, through the vision of one woman and the support of an entire community, the non-profit agency For All Seasons was established. Joy Mitchell Price, a local social worker in Talbot County, was working on her master’s degree at the University of Maryland School of Social Work when she was introduced to the idea of providing mental health services for the survivors of sexual abuse and rape, regardless of their ability to pay.

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Pictured left to right are Beth Anne Langrell, Executive Director with Joy Price, Founder of For All Seasons.

Price, age 77, now retired and living in Catonsville, MD, recalls, “I realized there was a gap in our community for services and I wanted to find a way to help people get the help they needed.”

Nancy Wilson of Oxford, MD, Joy’s professor at the University of Maryland at the time, approved her idea for a research project which focused on creating a mental health services model for a rural area. She comments, “Joy’s idea came from her exposure to the limitations of the social service system at the time and the desperate needs on the Eastern Shore.”

Wilson explains that it was Joy’s energy and tenacity, the resources she was able to tap into, and the need in the community that created the perfect environment for the non-profit to be born. While there were a number of public health agencies working in mental health at the time, there were few nonprofits. Catholic social services had left the area about the same time, leaving a gap in mental health services on the Eastern Shore.

Attorney Karen M. Kaludis, who was Deputy States Attorney for Caroline County from 1982 to 1988, recalls how local mental health agencies were stretched thin during this time. She comments, “One day I got a call from Joy Price. It was like manna from heaven. She wanted to fill the gap and bring mental health services to the survivors of sexual assault on the Shore. She asked me to join her team and I was happy to do so. I have been privileged to be the attorney for For All Seasons since the beginning. The help that For All Seasons provides benefits families, not only now, but for generations to come. We have Joy Price to thank for that.”

Price states, “We were just lucky. A number of people liked the idea and several of them helped us to get started. Conversations began in living rooms in Talbot County and the name “For All Seasons” was finally agreed upon.”

The group of community members who founded the agency included Price and Wilson, along with Maureen Jacobs, Kathleen Francis, Janet Pfeffer and Dr. James B. Thomas. Janet Pfeffer, a community activist, helped Price find funding for the agency. There were rape crisis centers on the Western Shore and the Lower Shore, but there was nothing in the Mid-Shore. Pfeffer recalls, “We began initially as a Rape Crisis Center, receiving the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) funding to start the business in 1986. As funding grew, the organization’s mission expanded to include counseling for children and adults who had experienced sexual abuse and eventually general mental health counseling.”

For All Season began with a small office on West Street, then moved to an office on Dover Street after its services expanded. Price comments, “The next thing we knew, I was executive director and we were rowing! She adds, “In many ways, it was a miracle it all came together.”

Price formed a board and the organization quickly outgrew its space on Dover Street, moving into new offices on Aurora Street, which is still where the organization’s home is today. As For All Seasons received grant funds, its scope of services changed and it began to service the five-county Mid Shore area. Wilson comments, “It has been a pleasure to see how the organizations has grown from the beginning serving Talbot County residents, to now serving the entire Mid Shore. It is a quality organization and a valued and important part of our community today.”

Price served as the organization’s first executive director, followed by Debbie Matthews, Connie Pullen, and eventually Dick Goldstein, serving until he passed way in 2013. Goldstein was also one of Nancy Wilson’s students. In 2014, Beth Anne Langrell became executive director of the agency.

Today, For All Seasons has offices in each of the five Mid-Shore counties and provides victim services 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In addition, more than 52 For All Seasons staff members offer a wide range of mental health services as well as support for victims of sexual violence and other traumas. The organization has gone from managing 19 grants totaling $600,000 to holding 39 grants totaling $1.2 million.

Langrell comments, “Unfortunately, even in the 21st century, behavioral and mental health remain the shadow lands of our everyday lives. We all know that these issues affect every one of us – members of our families and our friends in our neighborhoods and communities.” She adds, “The good news is that professional, effective, compassionate, and affordable care is available today and For All Seasons is committed to providing just this kind of support as we move into the next decade.”

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