Discovery Counseling Center was founded in 1971 by a group of community members in San Ramon Valley…
In 1971, Peter Strauss, a former school counselor, was approached by a group of valley residents who were concerned about drug and alcohol use among the troubled youth they were seeing downtown and on the streets at night. The residents didn’t have the money to start a substance-abuse education program, but they did have a desire to help the kids. A $300 grant from Danville Rotarians got them a two-week contract with Peter Strauss, and a mission.
Strauss’s nonthreatening approach allowed the kids he met with to open up to him. Word spread, and in those first two weeks, “a couple hundred” kids streamed into the Fosters Freeze parking lot in downtown Danville. A few weeks later, community organizers including a local orthodontist Dr. Rob Brown who saw many of these kids in his practice struggling with issues including depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse, were able to organize enough financial support to open an office on Linda Mesa Avenue. The Discovery Center opened its doors in June 1971.
While the community was generous, monetary donations alone were ultimately not enough to support the growing counseling needs. In 1973, women like Marge Early and Barbara Gibson stepped in, held garage sales and founded the “Friends of Discovery” as an auxiliary to begin organizing sales of donated goods to provide a stable source of funding for the Discovery Center through the Thrift Station.
Over the years as our staff and services grew, Discovery Counseling Center moved from Linda Mesa Avenue, to Rose Street in 1999, and finally to the Town and Country Shopping Center where we are located today.
Now over 50 years later, the work of Discovery of Counseling Center clinic is still sustained through the support of the 100 plus volunteers that run the Thrift Station. Programs have been expanded to counselor support in schools throughout a partnership with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and our clinic continues to work to make counseling affordable so that no one is turned away from mental health support for financial reasons.
While Discovery has expanded and evolved with the changing needs of the community, as we enter the next 50 years of service to our community the mission and purpose of those first community organizers are still at the core of our mission to help individuals and families in times of difficulty and transition, and to keep this care accessible to as many as possible.
50th Anniversary: 2021
Discovery Counseling Center proudly celebrated 50 years of service to the families, children, teens, and adults of all ages.
Out of the turmoil caused by the pandemic, Discovery has emerged stronger and more vital to our community than ever before.
Thank you to all who helped us celebrate this momentous milestone and to those who continue to show us your support!
Here are some photos from our 50th Anniversary celebrations held on August 21, 2021.