Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Community Living

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Barack Obama and Michelle Obama

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The Center of Healing Arts, Recovery, Growth & Empowerment

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A Community Outreach program of Adult Well Being Services

Obama’s Vision of recovery

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Olmstead decision under the Americans With Disabilities Act: President Obama has declared this the “Year of Community Living” reaffirming a commitment to addressing isolation and discrimination against people with disabilities that still exists today. The Administration on Aging, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, the Office for Civil Rights, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services are to form a HHS Coordinating Council. The council is led by the Office on Disability.


     There has never been a better time than now for people in recovery to uncover and sharpen their natural talents, gaining a greater sense of self-esteem in the process. A sense of value is necessary for one to participate in his/her recovery. Thus we must seek out those who share our hopes and dreams.

Healing Arts & the Community

     Now that the President is calling for more community involvement, we at CHARGE are proud to be a part of the Russell Street Bazaar artistic community. Most people with a disability are quite capable of being contributing members to society when the proper supports are in place.  The combination of Peer Support and a Recovery Centered Environment is invaluable, and is the basis of CHARGE.

       Being in the community has taught us one good lesson: there is a vibrant community willing to help us. However, societies perception of the recovering community is based on the media, so the fight against stigma is mostly one of simply educating the community. 

  At CHARGE we have found a good way to fight stigma and educate the community is by demonstrating our talents and abilities in community settings. When we facilitated the consumers of the “STEP” program to participate in a contest of professional artists and they won 3rd place, we knew we were on the right track. When folks with disabilities get the proper support, great things can happen.

      Two years ago, at the 2nd annual ‘Empowerment Day’ I introduced the Recovery Band and Veda Sharp (Detroit Wayne County CMH/ Director) pledged her support. That support has led to the overall sense of worth of the band and now the band wants to pass that self-esteem on to others through CHARGE. I don’t feel there is a bigger leader than the one who is not too big to sit and listen to us. It increases our self-esteem.

       It is no longer rare to see Veda Sharp at consumer gatherings surrounded by consumers, listening intently. Folks get to say, “The Director told me it’s okay to work on my recovery”. Although this may be a small gesture, it means a lot from the street level.


      Now that the folks from ‘STEP’ have shown that consumers can work alongside professionals we hope to do the same thing musically. The Rackham Symphony Choir is slated to do a concert next March tentatively called “Voices for The Homeless: A Concert of Hope and Help”.  Iris Diop, a member of the choir has offered work with one of our consumers, (yet to be chosen) and her or she will debut with the choir at March’s homeless concert. CHARGE will provide the Peer Support, and Adult Well Being Services will provide administrative & clinical supports. When all is said and done, there should be no doubt that magic occurs when a consumer group, a community group and a CMH work as a team. The consumer becomes the winner.


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