Safe Haven Dreams has Taken Wings

County Staff including Behavioral Health Interim Director Williams Cornelius, Supervisors Gary Evans, Kim Vann and Denise Carter and Safe Haven pariticipants and other guests look on as Peer Support Specialist Valerie Stirling cuts the symbolic ribbon to open Safe Haven Drop-In Center. (Submitted Photo)

(Submitted to the WPR)

A project that was a dream for many years has taken wings said Colusa County Behavioral Health Interim Director Williams Cornelius at the opening of Safe Haven Drop-In Center in downtown Colusa.

“This has been a dream we have pursued for a number of years, and with the support of the Colusa County Board of Supervisors it has become a reality,” Cornelius said. “I like to say it has taken wings, because it is growing and becoming a successful venture due to the people who participate in the programs and activities offered here,” he said. “They take great pride in the Center, and have worked very hard to make it a positive addition to the community.”

The Center opened at its new 131 5th Street location on March 1. On April 25, it hosted its official opening, open house and Colusa Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting.

The Center originated with about five active participants four years ago in a one-room and patio site at the Colusa County Behavioral Health Department. It grew to serve more than 20 individuals, but the new center now boasts a daily average of nearly 50 active members.

Safe Haven is designed as a non-judgmental and safe place for people to share and learn skills. Its success and support in Colusa County has been made possible by Proposition 63 funding.

Peer Support Specialist Valerie Stirling who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the center said she was extremely pleased with the support they have received from the county and from the community. “We were happy that so many guests, including Supervisors Gary Evans, Kim Vann and Denise Carter attended the open house.” We appreciate all that they do for our county,” she said.

Safe Haven Drop-In Center depends on donations for many of its daily needs. Stirling said the community has been most generous and that too is appreciated. Donations made to the Safe Haven Fund are tax deductible. The Fund holds a 501 c 3 non-profit status under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Colusa County.

World renown Native American flutist and traditional storyteller Keith Bear will be the featured performer at this 11th annual S.O.S. Wellness & Recovery Rally at the Colusa County Fairgrounds beginning at 5:30 pm on Friday May 11.

However, Bear will also be visiting Colusa County Schools May 7-10 when he is scheduled to bring a number of assembly programs to the students. Additionally, Safe Haven Drop-In Center will host Bear to a reception in his honor on May 10 at the Drop-In Center.

“We are very excited to bring Keith Bear to Colusa County,” said Cornelius. “It is the Department’s goal to make this event something special for all Colusa County residents.”

The goal of the S.O.S. program is to educate and change public attitudes that may create stigma associated with persons seeking mental health services in Colusa County.

He added that it is very important for the community to be aware of the services available in the county.

In the resolution, it is acknowledged that people who suffer from mental illness must be given the treatment, understanding, and the respect, they deserve.

The board approved the resolution in an effort to continue to stamp out the stigma associated with mental illness and the use of mental health services.

Tickets for the May 11 barbecue and rally are available at Safe Haven Drop-In Center at 131 5th Street in Colusa or by calling Valerie at (530) 458-0856. ■


Is the Owner, Publisher, Editor, and Reporter of the Williams Pioneer Review. Committed to publishing the news of our Community, Lloyd has been the owner of the Williams Pioneer Review since 2010. To contact Lloyd about this article or future articles, please email him at