By Chad Frey Newton Kansan There were no black balloons at this 40th birthday party — because this time around it’s a true celebration. Mirror Inc. of Newton is celebrating its 40th year of operation.
“We’ve provided assistance tens of thousands of individuals,” said Beverly Metcalf, director.
Mirror grew from humble beginnings to employ about 120 people in 16 locations throughout Kansas. Last year the non-profit organization served 2,500 people with addiction treatment services, and more than 2,000 others with prevention programs.
“I don’t think people realize we provide services statewide,” Metcalf said. “I think some of that is, in general, what people in the community don’t realize about us.”
The effort began in the late 1960s, when community leaders in Newton identified drug and alcohol problems in not only youth from Newton but other towns as well.
Those leaders banded together and organized a treatment facility called “Some Place” which was on the second floor of what was once the old J.C. Penny building — now Prairie Harvest at Sixth and Main.
“In 1972 they formalized the services and the agency needed to provide them,” Metcalf said. “That is from whence we came.”
Mirror, Inc. was incorporated, and a board was created. The effort expanded to other communities, but the board stayed in Newton. For a period of the organization’s history, Mirror offered addiction support services in Kansas prisons before state budget cuts forced that program to cease.
“I believe it is the ability to be adaptable and assess the needs with the communities we serve that has kept us going,” Metcalf said. “We have a mission statement large enough to provide services in other communities within healthier and human services. We are not limited to one funding source.”
Metcalf said community support has been essential to keep the program going. The organization is a United Way partner program for years.
She said there has also been strong support from the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, and the community as a whole.
“The commitment from the agency to the community, and from the community to the agency, is key to our success,” Metcalf said. “Not all agencies like ours enjoy the support we get here.”
That includes the support of a board with long term members — some members have served for more than two decades.
“That kind of commitment to an agency like ours, you cannot put a value on that kind of commitments,” Metcalf said.