ROXBOROUGH >> Intercommunity Action, known as Interact, is a comprehensive health and human services agency with the mission of helping individuals improve their quality of life and realize their maximum potential.
Interact is made up of three different divisions, which combined offer more than 20 different programs and services. The divisions include services for older adults, behavioral health services and intellectual and developmental disability services.
Interact was established in 1969 as a base service unit for the Roxborough community. At the time, each neighborhood in Philadelphia was assigned a community health center to serve as a social safety net for the local residents. Interact functioned to serve the Roxborough, Manayunk, Andorra and Wissahickon communities, first serving as a community health and mental retardation center, and later expanding to include older adult services.
Over nearly 50 years, Interact has grown into a comprehensive human services agency with a staff of 300 people, and just as many volunteers. Today, Interact provides services to 3,500 people annually. The agency serves Community Behavioral Health members, drawing in people from all over the city. It is funded through a combination government funding (mostly through Medicaid or CBH), private insurance companies, private donations and grants.
Interact’s headquarters are located in the heart of the neighborhood, in the historic Langhurst Mansion at 6012 Ridge Ave. Services and programs are based in various locations scattered throughout the neighborhood.
According to Interact President and CEO Bryan Cohen, with so many staff members working — and living — in the immediate area, the agency feels deeply connected to the Roxborough community.
“This is our neighborhood,” Cohen said. “We’ve been here a long time and we’ve earned the ability to say that.”
Behavioral health services are based at Greenridge Counseling Center, at 6122 Ridge Ave., where outpatient mental health services are offered to both children and adults. Services include treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders and community supported recovery-based programs. Interact also offers behavioral health services in local schools, and has staff members on site in more than 20 Philadelphia public schools to provide therapy and behavioral support.
The counseling center is an American Psychological Association-accredited internship site, and offers a doctoral training program for interns and practicum students currently enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral program. The program, which is in its third year, has a strong reputation and attracts applicants from all over the country, said Cohen.
Cohen said people are drawn to Greenridge because of its highly trained staff and its testing services.
“It’s definitely a gem in this community that not many people are aware of,” said Miranda Barthmus, COO of Interact. “I’ve never seen a counseling center with the level of service we provide at Greenridge.”
The experienced staff at Greenridge is trained to treat individuals using a range of evidence-based therapy techniques. The counseling center also offers testing to address clinical and educational issues that may be preventing an individual from reaching his or her potential. Testing is available for all ages to address a range of concerns, and is offered at an affordable rate on a sliding scale.
The intellectual and developmental disabilities division includes an activity day center, located at 7372 Henry Avenue, where those with disabilities can work on building social, job and vocational skills. Other services include community living arrangements for adults and community-integrated employment opportunities. IDD services are meant to foster individual choice, dignity and respect, meaningful relationships and community involvement.
Journey’s Way offers services and resources for adults over age 55. The Center at Journey’s Way, located at 403 Rector Street, provides day programs and day services for older adults in need of assistance. The center serves 100 people per day, offering daily lunch, a range of health and wellness programs such as chair yoga and Tai Chi classes, as well as art and educational programs.
Through Journey’s Way, individuals can receive counseling and referrals for mental health needs and housing needs. Journey’s Way also provides housing counseling and affordable housing options for seniors.
As Interact nears its 50th anniversary, Cohen said the agency is currently making plans to mark the milestone. They are interested in hearing stories from community members about past services and programs they experienced through Interact. They also want to encourage new community members to become acquainted with the agency and all that it has to offer, said Cohen.
To learn more about the services and programs available through Interact, visit intercommunityaction.org.