Weston United celebrates its 25th anniversary year in 2010. Its history is inextricably linked with Harlem and its leaders, notably the members of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, the great house of worship that brought African-American professionals to Harlem over a century ago.
St. Philip’s, a driving force, sponsored the LaFargue Clinic, the first mental health clinic in the world to serve people of color. It operated from the end of WWII until the 1960s when Elizabeth Bishop Davis, MD, a volunteer at the clinic and daughter of St. Philip’s rector at that time, became the first Chief of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital. She subsequently convinced M. Moran Weston, PhD, by then rector of St. Philip’s, to join forces in developing a supported housing project for the Hospital’s discharged psychiatric patients.
In 1985 Bishop House became a reality with the selection of its founding Executive Director, Jean Newburg, LCSW. Ms. Newburg went on to become, and remains today, CEO of Weston United, the present day outgrowth of Bishop House. Four years later Patricia Bacchus, LCSW joined the staff, swiftly rising through the ranks of Weston programs to become its Chief Operating Officer, a position she likewise enjoys today.
Weston United has expanded dramatically over the years to meet the community’s growing needs, ultimately serving all of New York’s five boroughs with mental health programs and services tailored to serve the City’s homeless. Urban Gardens, a horticultural therapy program, spread into the vacant neighborhood lots. Clubhouse programs opened in different locales to meet the vocational and social interests of Weston’s clients. A Supported Housing Program made it possible to locate and provide apartments in rental units located in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Social workers, psychiatrists and nurses devoted themselves to an ambitious outreach program — shepherding services directly to those in greatest need.
Today, Weston United remains committed to the founders’ belief that by helping those with the least among us we do the most for our community.