Inception of
The Community House

The history of Community House grew out of a project we did with Harmony House, a Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services rehabilitation program for adults with mental illnesses.

In 2019, Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020, the staff of Harmony House had been tasked with coming up with some ideas to address an impending decline in membership due to a foreseeable aging-out of its core demographic base.

Pursuant to this, an initial response was proposed that included various open house activities to draw attention and spread the word around town about services offered. This idea was bounced around the continuum and the word came back from upstairs that more was needed.

About this time (May 2020), Harmony House’s Peer Recovery Specialist, John Staley, became involved when the Covid 19 furlough laid him off but administration offered the opportunity to work from home if he would build-out a workable Community Engagement Initiative. Being a Social Architect, he put his heart into it and a great deal of the Community Engagement Initiative’s bones got considerably fleshed-out.

John’s investigation into the Community Initiative Consultation led him to conclude that the age-out problem was not only intrinsic to the membership population of the clubhouse but an impending concern regarding the staff as well.

Additionally, he identified a core driver in the treatment engine that was being under-utilized that could help resolve almost any issue current or prescient. John set to work building out the details of this discovery and immediately discovered key resonances across the entire continuum that would greatly enhance the efficient delivery of expanded services, significantly improving stakeholder satisfaction. Streamlined Procurement of Special Funding was built into the system too.

Before he was through, John had meticulously engineered an exciting breakthrough in Leadership Context and Environment of Excellence capable of benefiting any Enterprise or Organization with almost infinite growth and expansion while rendering them impervious to chaotic disruptors, regardless of source, at all levels and any scale.

We call this exciting discovery the Infinite Growth and Expansion Platform and are eager to share it with the world.

Earlier History

The history of Community House

…grew out of a project we did with Harmony House, a Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services rehabilitation program for adults with mental illnesses.

James Bebeau, director of Behavioral Health Services at DPCS, defined Harmony House as providing day treatment for people who struggle in their daily lives with mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia.

History of Harmony House

The Harmony House building, once the cafeteria for the former Robert E. Lee Junior High School on Rison Street, took eight months to renovate and includes offices, the gym, a commercial kitchen and various socializing areas where clients can enjoy television, a game of pool and crafts.

There also is a computer lab where clients can practice skills they will need to enter the job market.

William Pritchett, chairman of the board of Danville-Pittsylvania Community Services and a Pittsylvania County supervisor, said the programs offered at Harmony House give its consumers tools for self-determination, empowerment and recovery.

Mayor Sherman Saunders became emotional as he told a story about the man who owns the property and leases it to the community services group —

Mobley said his company was formed specifically to provide low-cost, but good, facilities for DPCS. Besides Harmony House, DPCS leases apartments, an adult day care center and other properties from Bellevue.

from article by Denice Thibodeau

History of the Present Day Site

As with almost all things in Danville, there is a rich history behind them if you care to go back and look for it. The site of the present-day Harmony House facility is no exception. Sometimes, staff and the members conduct ‘archaeological’ forays around the property looking at artifacts from the ruins.

It seems that Danville underwent a vigorous expansion phase in the 1920’s and Danville’s clerk of court, William Rison had an old oaken grove that was put into use for building one of the many public schools which sprang up about that time. (This was called Rison Park). The original George Washington high school was built facing what is now Holbrook and the lot that Harmony House sits on was part of the Athletic Fields (Rison Park). Present day Rison Street was called Wylie Street back then. George Washington H.S. moved in 1957 and in 1978 a town-house development was built on the site with the brick privacy-wall constructed with bricks from the old high school.

You can read more about this fascinating subject on the Old West End blog by clicking here.

risonPark 1951