In 1994, the only free support system available to mental health consumers in Tuscarawas County was The Open Door, which was affiliated with Cornerstone Support Services. Consumers could drop in there for a cup of coffee and conversation. But within the hearts of two women a dream was developing. Mary Lou Jacoby worked for the ADAMHS Board as a volunteer for the Office of Consumer Affairs. Martha Briem worked for the ADAMHS Board as Executive Director. "Lou" and "Marty" worked together to develop a plan for a brand new drop-in center that would help to reduce the isolation of mental health consumers and offer them the hope of recovery.
It was through Marty and Lou's efforts that the mental health agency that is ACE was born. Advocacy, Choices & Empowerment, Inc. became a corporation on August 3, 1994. For the two years that followed, ACE met in a building beside Goshen Dairy on 2nd Street in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Because the place was rather small, they would have to meet for parties and bigger events at what is now Tractor Supply on Bluebell Drive. Members diligently searched for "a place to call home", as well as for vehicles that could be used to transport consumers. In 1996 ACE began renting two storefronts on West High Avenue that belonged to Jim Booth. The lease ran from 1996 to 1999.
In 1999 the ADAMHS Board received a grant and, because of that grant, they were able to rent the building that now houses ACE at 115 3rd Street SW in New Philadelphia. ACE Club members have met at this site since that time. Although we are currently finding the space to be very limited, it is still home to the many members of ACE.