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PALS provides adult day support services

CUTTING THE RIBBON — Among those on hand for the opening of the new facility were, from left, Susan Vanac, Jonah Pike, Aaron Bracone, Mike Pierro and Hector Lamourt. -- Contributed

MINGO JUNCTION — Mingo Junction natives Aaron Bracone and Mike Pierro have been connected to Jefferson County their entire lives.

Bracone and Pierro grew up only three houses apart from each other and graduated from Steubenville Catholic Central High School, where they were both active student participants. The childhood best friends parted ways as they headed to college, to meet again when they began working with the developmentally disabled in Columbus.

Their choices would provide them with the privilege of offering services to the community they loved while growing up.

As their careers evolved, Bracone identified additional needs within the developmental disabilities community and had a passion to address these gaps in service. In 2012, he connected with Hector L. Lamourt from Miami, another Catholic Central graduate, who along with Chrysalis Center Inc. raised the capital to support the vision of PALS, a Chrysalis Health Co.

Later on, when an opportunity to make an impact on the community presented itself, they returned to the area and on March 1, 2019, PALS began providing adult day support services to individuals with developmental disabilities in the Jefferson County region.

These services, which include habilitation, living skills, vocational support, education and career development, continue to thrive even amidst the challenges that COVID-19 presented.

While many programs struggled to maintain operations, Bracone, Pierro and their team were able to think outside of the box in order to continue to engage clients.

Some of these offerings included creating PALS TV, which allows clients to participate in services that were temporarily suspended due to the pandemic.

Bracone and Pierro recognized a need for mental and behavioral health services in the region that acknowledged the complexities that are synonymous with the developmentally disabled, and could also meet the needs of the general public, as well as the heightened mental health needs caused by the pandemic.

With that need in mind, they collaborated with their partners to expand the services of Chrysalis Health Ohio, a Columbus-based subsidiary of Chrysalis Health, a Florida-based community mental health agency with 26 years of experience and the sister company to PALS, to Jefferson County.

Beginning Oct. 1, at the sites formally known as Jefferson Behavioral Health Services and with many of its staff given offers to join the team, Chrysalis Health Ohio began offering psychiatry, case management, outpatient therapy and outpatient therapy to children, adolescents, and adults, utilizing telehealth, office-based and community-based services.

Chrysalis is committed to delivering much needed services, and to ensuring that the agency provides the best evidence-based practices, staying current on modality changes and working with clients to help them achieve their treatment objectives as quickly as possible.

Pierro and Bracone plan to develop more community-based services in response to the transportation gap that is an obstacle in the county, as COVID-19 becomes less of a threat and members of their team become vaccinated.

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