History of Protestant Family Service – 1944-2021

Protestant Family Service was born from the concern of the Youngstown Council of Protestant Church Women (now Church Women United) for the rising problem of juvenile delinquency, and churchwomen were working together to help delinquents. On May 15, 1944, at the May Fellowship Day meeting, The Honorable Henry Beckenbaugh, Juvenile Court Judge spoke. Mrs. Fred Jordan then moved that the Youngstown Council of Protestant Church Women employ a family service caseworker to help the juvenile delinquents. Mrs. Frank Horn seconded the motion, which passed. A Civic Committee was appointed to study and promote the project.

On September 15, 1944, the first Director/Caseworker was employed. The usefulness of the service was evaluated with clergy desiring continuance as referrals from schools, courts, etc., indicated the need. The Youngstown Council of Protestant Church Women decided to continue the project. In 1953, the many applications for help with personal and family problems indicated either restricting service or expanding. The Protestant Church Women forged ahead and employed a second social worker.

stainedglass5In 1969, Church Women United appointed a Steering Committee to consider the advisability of establishing a separate board for the agency. A Constitution and By-laws were written. These were proposed at a meeting of interested members on February 16, 1970. Protestant Family Service became an independent agency, supported entirely by voluntary contributions at that meeting when Church Women United approved the Constitution and By-laws, elected officers, and an 11-member Board of Trustees. Mrs. Edwin Turner, chairman of the Steering Committee, was elected the first President and the name was lengthened to Protestant Family Service of the Greater Youngstown Area, Inc.

PFS was represented in the following areas: Mahoning County Homeless Coalition Services Task Force, Crime & Violence Prevention Task Force, Family Prevention Council of Greater Youngstown (teen pregnancy forum).

Protestant Family Service celebrated 50 years of serving the community at its 23rd Annual Meeting on February 11, 1994, at St. John’s Episcopal Church. The need for assistance continues to increase in the Mahoning Valley due to the economical decline.

PFS and YSU engaged in a partnership in 2000 by having a student in the social work field complete her internship at PFS, which enhanced our outreach to families during her six-month internship.

PFS has received multiple grants through the years:

  • Balancing Life and Preventing Multiple Pregnancies programs from Jobs and Family Service – 2000
  • Good Neighbor Grant from the Raymond John Wean Foundation used in assisting our clients with utility bills, rent, large appliances, and buying food for the pantry – 2005-2008
  • Youngstown Foundation grant for upgrading office equipment, chairs for our reception area, and carpeting – 2006
  • Church Home Grant from the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio to aid the elderly – 2010-2013
  • Capital Improvements Grant from the Youngstown Foundation to update the Meeting/Board Room at the Mill Creek Community Center – 2012
  • We receive a yearly FEMA grant to buy food for our pantry

Besides assisting people in need, we provide the following programs: Adopt-a-School with preschool special needs children in the Youngstown City School System; Back-to-School Clothing/Shoes if funds are donated; Christmas Adopt-a-Family; Christmas Savings Club, where life skills are taught. Our services are constantly reviewed and expanded as needed in order to meet the changing needs of our clients and our community.

Approximately 30 volunteers graciously give of their time to help with receptionist duties at our office and make pickups and deliveries.