One of the advantages of being the oldest living cub reporter this side of the Mississippi is that I get to meet and spend time with achievers who, for me, are always interesting people. Just last week I met with Ms. Terri Card, President & Chief Executive Officer of Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare and her Executive Assistant, Ms. Annette Arriola. Greater Lakes is located at 9330 – 59th Av SW, Lakewood, Washington 98499. T: 253-581-7020.
Nine more years and Annette will have worked for Greater Lakes for 50 years. I made a promise to Annette to stop calling her a job hopper once she reaches the half century of service mark with Greater Lakes.
Speaking of 50 years, 2015, marks the 50th year Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare has served our community. You are invited to a special celebration and fund raiser.
Beginning on September 14, 1965, a group of local citizens organized what was originally called Lakes Child Clinic, now known as Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare. The original organization was started and managed by an all volunteer board. The original organizers of the Greater Lakes Mental Health foundation included Mrs. Marion Clapp, Mrs. Harold Liebe, Dr. John Marks, Reverend Bruce Parker, Dr. J.W. Rose, Dr. Phil Smith, Dr. David Sparling and Mrs. Frank Weeks.
In 1967 the board hired their first paid Chief Executive Officer, Michael Roskin. Greater Lakes’ historical leadership is as follows:
Michael Roskin, December, 1967 – September 1974, Richard T. Wintersteen, September, 1974 – August, 1978, Gary Bees, August – November 1978, Robert Cherniak, April, 1979 – June, 1997, Richard J. Towell, Senior Vice President & COO Richard J. Towell 1994 – 1997, President / CEO June, 1997 – September, 2012, Terri L. Card, September 12, 2012 – Present.
Greater Lakes has had a strong first 50 years helping our community. What about the next 50 years?
We are concerned about the future. The original group of faithful supporters and donors has gotten older and older, many of whom have died. The original donor list is dwindling.
Greater Lakes, as a not-for-profit organization, needs new supporters. Greater Lakes is reaching out to you with the invitation included above. We hope you will attend.
If you are not able to attend, consider making a DONATION on-line or through the mail.
Studies show most mentally ill end up impoverished, socially isolated with a pattern of cycling in and out of jails and mental institutions.
Terri described mental illness in our community like a pyramid.
The base of the pyramid includes those who are found in our general population. Those suffering from mental illness in the bottom group often are supported by friends, family, schools, churches and other social organizations. Their built-in support helps them negotiate life with their particular mental illness. This group includes the high-functioning mentally ill.
When you move up the pyramid, the next and largest group includes those individuals that Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare serves.
At the tip of the pyramid we find the those who suffer from the most severe level of disabling mental illness. They are institutionalized in group homes, jail or mental institutions. The group, at the top, lives a miserable life. They cause problems everywhere they go. They are expensive to take care of and support.
Terri taught me a new acronym; PORCH, which stands for Permanent Options for Recovery Centered Housing. Greater Lakes has operated a successful PORCH program for the past four years, which has been supported by a 5-year financial grant. PORCH succeeds in moving clients away from crippling mental disability so they can function independently in a meaningful way. After the fifth year, 2015, the grant will expire which will cause the PORCH program to die. To keep PORCH alive Greater Lakes needs new donors.
Terri graciously provided us with a sneak preview of the short video clip planned for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. The video clip shows us how PORCH provides a positive impact in our community.
In closing, I invite you to watch an amazing 11 minute Ted Talk featuring 19 year old Kevin Breel. Kevin tells his personal story describing the delicate balancing act between the lightness and darkness in his life that ultimately brought him to the brink of suicide.
Donations of time, money or in-kind will go a long way to support the Greater Lakes community mission. Please consider helping Greater Lakes.