History and Mission


David’s Harp was founded in 1978 as a community-led, grassroots effort by over 100 church volunteers and mental health professionals. The founding members envisioned a nurturing community space where adults with mental illness could develop a sense of belonging, while participating in activities that would build their social and cognitive skills. The founders drew their inspiration from the story of David at the court of Saul from the Book of Samuel. When Saul was suffering, David had the courage and compassion to play his harp, bringing relief and solace to Saul. This story, for which David’s Harp is named, continues to inspire the volunteers, staff and Board members of David’s Harp who understand the unique needs adults with mental illness have for inclusiveness, compassion and opportunity.


The mission of David’s Harp is “to provide a warm, friendly and peer-supportive environment in which adults with a major mental illness, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or race, come together to achieve an improved quality of life and the highest possible level of independence in the community.”

“Many people assume that an individual with a mental illness chooses to be socially isolated. Few of us can imagine what it would be like to have no friends, no money, no transportation, no job, no family contact, pets or recreation. We take for granted the comfort we receive from going out to coffee, driving our car to a movie or browsing through the library. David’s Harp offers a refuge for people to feel safe and comfortable, to eat and visit, to be known by their names, and to be accepted just the way they are.”

– Sandra Chisholm, Board Alumni and Volunteer

From Our Members

A member shares what he likes most about working in the garden at David’s Harp:

“I like the real beautiful flowers and all the different colors of the flowers and planting things. It makes me feel wonderful; it is wonderful for you, too, and for everybody.”

Happenings at the Harp

David's Harp is gearing up for gardening season! Generous vegetable starts and flower donations from The Portland Nursery are currently being planted by members.

Get Involved!

David's Harp is currently seeking donations of arts and music supplies for our Art and Music Therapy classes. We accept all donations but have a particular need for the following: hand drums, fabric scraps, colored paper, regular paper, paints, brushes air-dry clays, recycled goods, sewing materials, beads, adhesives, markers, and embellishments such as feathers and glitter. At David’s Harp we appreciate the little things and make the most out of everything! Please contact us for more information.

Volunteer Spotlight

Betty Kennedy has volunteered and served as a David’s Harp Board Member since it was founded in 1978, over 30 years ago!

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