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Dennis Felty Receives the “I’m the Evidence” Award

Since 1968, Dennis Felty has been a change agent and visionary dedicated to improving the lives of men, women and children with disabilities. On March 29, 2012, he was honored at the Mental Health Association of the Capital Region’s Festival of Hope. He received the first annual “I’m the Evidence” Award for his leadership in making sure that all people have the opportunity to contribute and participate in their communities.

He began working at the Harrisburg State Hospital in 1968, and after seeing the way people lived there, he became committed to an alternative approach to supporting individuals with disabilities. Working with a group of like-minded people, he co-founded Keystone Human Services (then called Keystone Residence) to provide community-based services. The first community home for three gentlemen with intellectual disabilities opened on Green Street in Harrisburg in 1972, with Dennis as the executive director.

Dennis Felty 2012 Festival of Hope Honoree Announcement

Since then, Keystone has expanded to provide community-based services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism and mental illness, as well as children and family services, and Dennis’s vision and dedication has grown. This year, Keystone is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Dennis is an internationally recognized leader in human services, committed to inclusion and creating opportunities for individuals to be valued and participate meaningfully in their communities.

The Festival of Hope celebrates the journey to recovery from mental illness. The Mental Health Association of the Capital Region is a resource for mental health that educates and advocates for people in Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry Counties. They provide assistance in gaining prompt treatment and services, promote mental health prevention and wellness, conduct seminars and workshops related to mental health, and raise awareness and support for mental health and recovery.

Tributes

“You have been an inspiration to the Pennsylvania human services system for decades. Through your leadership, we have advanced community-based services to countless individuals and their families. You are a close colleague whose friendship and commitment I will always cherish.”

—Karen F. Snider

“Thank you, Dennis Felty, for your commitment, leadership and support to those facing developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges.”

—Chris Baldrige and Dave Skerpon

“Thank you for your many years of serving your fellow man.”

—Don and Anna Maria Enders

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