Monday, February 16, 2009

Center of Healing Arts, Recovery, Growth & Empowerment

From Gerald Butler:


    One of the main objectives of a transformed system is the reintegration of consumers back into mainstream society. We cannot expect success by suddenly moving folks from a clinical environment and into society. Thus CHARGE has moved into the Russell Industrial Center and Bazaar. The place is an old auto plant of over 2 million square foot. Today it is a community of 209 local and world-renowned musicians and artists. This past Friday, the Recovery Band and CHARGE officially became a part of this community. There is far too much creativity going on for me to talk about, here, so I suggest you visit the web site. (

    When Detroit Wayne County CMH got behind a consumer project like the recovery band, I knew then that we had finally turned the corner. Wayne County now has the most Peer Specialists in the State, the Virtual Center of Excellence, and this summer we are hosting the “The First Annual Peer Support Conference, among other forward movements. The members of the band feel it would be just plain wrong if we do not pass on to others, the same understanding and support that was given us by D-WCCMHA. CHARGE is how we plan on accomplishing this.

     So far we have spoken to about 20 artists, all of whom wish to help in some way or another. Because CHARGE is now a part of this community, consumers will have daily exposure to all levels of the art world, from grass roots to the professional. Hopefully, a few will realize their dream was not as far off as they thought. Arise Detroit is an entity of over 400 community groups, block clubs, development authorities, Detroit Library, Detroit Institute of Arts, various banks etc. We have also have established a collaboration with Arise Detroit.

     We have seen where certain folks were not doing well in recovery and it was because their choices were limited By doing things such as supporting the Recovery Band Wayne County CMH is basically saying all doors to recovery are opened. When now have greater choices as to how we want to manage our recovery. Through CHARGE we hope to be able to open doors just as doors were opened for us by exposing consumers to as many opportunities as possible. The more choices available the more consumers will walk through them.

    The day when we can be seen assets to the community is now. We can now be judged not by our disease, but by our abilities to achieve. None of this would be possible if certain leaders had not made a conscious decision to support us. It is up to us to make certain we have such leaders in our lives. We need to thank and encourage them, and if they like hugs, by all means give them a big one. Mostly we need to hear more about experiences with passionate leaders. Send your letters to

    We would like to sincerely thank D-WCCMHA for their positive leadership, and for opening new pathways to recovery. We look forward to this summer and the growth of our relationship with the Russell Street Bazaar. As we work together to remove obstacles, we must keep this thought in mind: Consumers want and are capable of recovering and becoming contributing members of society. All we need is as many choices and open doors as possible.

Gerald Butler

Peer Support Specialist/Advocate


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