Dayton is renowned for its legacy of innovation-for trailblazing. Life Essentials is no different. As in all communities, many individuals suffer from mental illness, addiction, or isolation. With the historical move to deinstitutionalize the mentally ill from state hospitals, Life Essentials, formerly known as Chums & Choices, paved the way for senior companionship programs throughout the Dayton region. The program was the first one of its kind to pair a senior struggling with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression) with a volunteer companion, a Chum. Twenty years later, in response to the recovery to work model of behavioral health, Life Essentials chose to pilot yet another program for a younger adults also struggling with mental health issues, Motivate to Integrate. Graduates of the program are encouraged to remain actively involved in the community through volunteerism. In addition to these important programs, Life Essentials provides guardianship services to adults incapable of making informed decisions for themselves due to cognitive impairments. Guardians serve as legal advocates for those deemed incompetent by probate court.  Guardians ensure their wards live in safe homes free of abuse and exploitation. Guardians serve as health care surrogates by making informed decisions for the ward.

Today, Life Essentials, a not-for-profit organization, continues to grow and serve the Greater Dayton Area by providing these unique programs: Guardianship, Chums, and Motivate to Integrate. Each program is comprised of highly trained staff and volunteers who provide a variety of evidenced based programming. This Dayton Original offers these unique programs to serve as an additional safety net for our community’s most vulnerable adults.