Dr. Marion M. Spellman
Founding President & CEO
In 1971, Marion Spellman developed a program designed to help hurting and addicted men and women in our society. Growing up, she witnessed firsthand, the devastating effects of substance abuse with her own brother and the pain that it caused her family, in particular her mother.
Dr. Spellman vowed to do whatever she could and so she started a program to prevent other families from enduring the same pain her family suffered. The desire grew as she witnessed an increase in broken homes, community deterioration and overwhelming crime. Recidivism was the major solution offered. She also observed that most of the reported crimes were drug and alcohol related.
Dr. Spellman began by working with incarcerated women in the Allegheny County Jail located in West Central Pennsylvania during the early 1970’s. She had a desire to see many of these women not only free from repetitive incarceration, but also free from the cause of their addictions. There she began reasoning with individuals in the prison and actually witnessing dramatic and lasting success.
She gained experience in the field of drug and alcohol treatment in the late 1970’s at a Christian drug and alcohol treatment facility in Western Pennsylvania, and soon afterwards was promoted to director of the female component of that program which specialized in personal care and spiritual growth. Dr. Spellman was able to see the benefit of a structured program for individuals who had developed irresponsible living habits.
She later worked for the Bureau of Correction in the Commissioner’s Office. However, her promotion to this position did not erase the burning desire in her heart to see lives changed and in 1980, she founded Peniel.
Peniel was established without the benefit of startup capital. It was birthed with a deep desire to provide effective professional rehabilitation for men and women who require long-term inpatient treatment for chronic drug and/or alcohol addiction or for mild emotional problems. The program has served literally thousands of men and women from nearly every state as well as foreign countries during its existence.
From its humble beginnings in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Peniel continues to chase it’s vision and maintain its standard for excellence. We have expanded our physical plant to include: a sanctuary, two new dormitories, a full sized gymnasium, a weight room, learning center, a full library, a medical wing, and a family visiting area. Peniel has extended our services to include a licensed outpatient component. Our credentialed staff are committed and capable. As Peniel has crossed the threshold of 37 successful years of effective Christian treatment, we enthusiastically look forward toward a bright and promising future. Men and women continue to seek help for their life dominating addictions. God continues to bless Peniel with the capability to serve.