Battle of the Artists
The consumers of the STEP (Services To Enhance Potential) program took the battle against stigma to the streets this weekend. There was an event where professional and semi-professional artists from across the State gathered to paint murals at the Russell Street Center. STEP painted a mural in honor of the mental health-recovery community for this event. As people would drop by to find out about the mural, they would also learn what STEP was all about. It was fascinating to hear statements like: “I didn’t know” or “My impression of mental illness was totally different”, from the majority of folks who dropped by. STEP is fighting stigma by demonstrating their talents and abilities on a community level.
It was exciting watching the STEP folks match the ‘professional’ artists not only the quality of their work, but in the timely manner they completed it. I felt so proud that I wanted to say to everyone in attendance “See what happens when folks in recovery are allowed to be who they are”. The event itself has International significance in the art world; the mental health recovery movement will be represented. It was video recorded and I’ll let everyone know as soon as it is available on the Web. The cool thing is our brothers and sisters from STEP won 3rd Place!! The train is gathering momentum.
Jazz and Poetry Nights
In keeping with our community outreach efforts, the Recovery Band is hosting twice a month Jazz and Poetry nights at the Café-Con Leche coffee house located on West Vernor across from Clark Park. The environment is positively charged, and conducive to sharing recovery stories. We will be there this Friday the 22nd and are inviting those with poems to share, stories to tell, songs to sing, or just wanting to be around good people, to join us between 7:00 PM until 10:00.
Empowerment Day 2009
“Leaders in our Lives”
This years Empowerment Day is being held on June 11th at the Burton Manor/Livonia. Thanks to Detroit-Wayne County CMH we are finally in the bigger place we have needed for so long. One thing we have learned is this: consumers like to have fun and dance. So this year there will not only be space for dancing, but we plan to introduce a new dance called “The Recovery Slide”, a simple hustle that all can do. Each person must register, and I have attached forms. Please make sure to fill them out and return to the Agency by the 1st. You do not have to be a consumer or relative of a consumer to attend.
Annual Awards Luncheon
Gateway will be holding their Annual Awards Luncheon on the 28th at Sacred Heart Seminary on Linwood at Chicago. Marianne Bozenski chairs the event and you may recall she was last years Empowerment Day ‘Consumer of the Year’. If this event is anything like the last two years the band has played for them, it will be a positive, fun, and encouraging event.
Finally, we would like to thank the following folks for making it possible for consumers to fight stigma by demonstrating their talents: Simone Brown of Synergy for her financial support, Detroit-Wayne County CMH, Adult Well Being Services, and the staff of STEP, for their love and encouragement and support. Mostly we thank the Russell Street Industrial Center and Indie Edibles for accepting consumers into the community as we are and for supporting and encouraging us. Gerald Butler/ Peer Specialist