Fifty years ago, a group of parents, teachers, business people, pastors, and other leaders from the western suburbs in Minneapolis, Minnesota got together to discuss the rising disenfranchisement, substance abuse, and delinquency of youth in the area.
The group was united in a singular belief that strong relationships were the cornerstone of healthy development for individuals and communities. In 1968, two local churches opened their doors for adolescents to “drop in to talk about anything.” These informal discussions quickly uncovered individual and family struggles with mental health issues, chemical addictions, and issues in relationships.
In 1969, Relate Counseling Center was established as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. From 1969 to 1973 Relate provided information and referral services, short-term counseling, group counseling, and raised community awareness on issues facing youth. In 1974, Relate reorganized by offering fewer but more defined services, adding more professional staff, and solidified funding. Throughout the late seventies Relate expanded services to include a chemical dependency program, a family therapy program, and a physical and sexual abuse counseling program.
In 1981, Relate became a state licensed community mental health center. During the early eighties through the early nineties, Relate concentrated on providing high-quality services, offering educational presentations to the community and providing family change and social skills groups within the Minnetonka School district. In 1995, Relate’s school-based services grew to include mental and chemical health counseling to Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, Orono, Wayzata, and Mound school districts. Hopkins was later added.
Today, Relate continues to be a leading provider of individual, couples, family, group, and school-based counseling in the west Minneapolis metro. In addition, Relate partners with local food shelves to provide onsite services, provides consultation services to Head Start programs and offers employee assistance services to employers. Relate also provides and participates in numerous educational presentations within the community each year. Relate positively impacts over 13,000 area individuals – 65 percent are youth and their families and over half of clients receive services for significantly reduced or no fees.
Relate continues to be the only nonprofit, state-licensed counseling center providing comprehensive mental and chemical health services to children, adolescents, and adults living in the Western suburbs of Minneapolis.
While Relate has grown significantly since 1969, what has remained unchanged is its commitment to our community and its belief that relationships are at the heart of wellness and quality of life.