MOUNT VERNON - Knox County is the first county in Ohio to have "Dial 2-1-1"
street and business signs. Street signs have been distributed to Centerburg,
Fredericktown, Mount Vernon, Gambier and Danville for posting at the entrances
to each community.
Smaller "Dial 2-1-1" business signs have been distributed to
local schools, social service agencies and businesses.
2-1-1 became available in Knox County in June 2008, according to Kristin
McCloud, Executive Director of Pathways of Central Ohio, and provider of
2-1-1/Crisis Hotline in Knox County. Since then, the 2-1-1/Crisis Hotline has
averaged about 4000 calls per year from Knox County residents but McCloud would
like to see that number increase.
"Our goal is to have at least 10% of the population of Knox County call 2-1-1
annually", said McCloud. "That would equal just over 6000 calls per year and our
hope is that the 'Dial 2-1-1' signs will inform more people about the service."
Pathways of Central Ohio partnered with the United Way of Knox County to produce
the signs. The United Way of Knox County also helps to fund the 2-1-1 service in
Knox County along with Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox County
and the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
One of the biggest parts of the project has been to place 28 "Dial 2-1-1" street
signs on all county road entrances to the county. Bryan Moore of Griffin
Insurance volunteered his staff to help install the signs along with Jace Cree
of the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Another 80 smaller "Dial 2-1-1" signs are being distributed around the county by
the United Way of Knox County. Some of the locations include Knox County Head
Start sites, the Knox County Health Department, Interchurch branches, Salvation
Army, American Red Cross, area Schools including all of Mount Vernon and the
Knox County Service Center.
For those unfamiliar with 2-1-1, it is a simple, easy-to-remember number
connecting callers to the help or information they need.
Just as you dial 9-1-1
for emergencies, callers can dial 2-1-1 for non-emergency information and
assistance. As a first point of contact, the 2-1-1/Crisis Hotline serves as the
gateway to other community services. The service is available 24 hours a day,
seven days a week.
2-1-1 also provides emotional support, crisis intervention, disaster response,
and suicide prevention services. Callers do not have to be in crisis to call
and the service is free. The phone operators are highly trained, treat calls
confidentially and help callers navigate through the maze of community services
in a nonjudgmental manner.
Pathways also maintains a human service referral database that is comprehensive
and up-to-date. The database is also available as an online resource directory
Pathways of Central Ohio is a not-for-profit social service organization
established in 1968. Its services include the 2-1-1 Crisis/Hotline, the
Professional Development Center for Early Learning, the Center for Prevention
Services and the Parent Education Center.