The Workforce Education & Training (W.E.T.) Action Volunteers at Colusa County Behavioral Health were honored for their hours of service at the end-of-the-year celebration luncheon at Louis Cairo’s on Aug. 28.
This is the third year running that Cristy Edwards, owner of Cairo’s has sponsored the luncheon. Until this year she has catered the luncheon offsite. This year she opted to host the volunteers and Behavioral Health staff at her Williams restaurant.
Prior to lunch Edwards addressed the guests.
She explained that she was honored to have them come to her restaurant. “I want to share with you that you are valued in the community,” she said.
She encouraged her guests to continue to share honest dialog with those around them.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of in mental illness,” she said. “Choose to continue to love your selves and to work hard,” she added. “Do not give up. Continue to hold one another up and together we can make a change.”
“Cristy has been exceedingly generous to the clients and we appreciate her generosity,” said peer support specialist Valerie Stirling who along with CCBH Director Terrence (Terry) Rooney presented the volunteers with their certificates.
In addition to the volunteer appreciation certificates, Rooney first presented Behavioral Health publicist Kathy Craigo with a special recognition for her excellent volunteer work and dedication to the department.
Mental Health Services Act coordinator Dereck Parks commented that the W.E.T. program is a vital part of the clients’ goal of giving back to the community. “This program has been beneficial both to the volunteers and the community members with which they come into contact,” he said.
The training program was established on July 1, 2008 and now includes 25 active volunteer participants. This year’s tally of donated time back to the community by the volunteers was 3,453i hours.
The 2013 volunteers include Barbara McElligott, George McElligot, Lazaro Hernandez, Ginger Harvey, Shauna Erdman, Thomas Saunders, Kevin Werre, Thresa Rangel, Al-bert Smith, Jennifer O’Brian, Diana Arnaud, Clint Galbraith, Barbara Argain, James Fomin, Christina Rodriquez, Rob Wilson, Rachael Saldana, Virginia Wilson, Jeff Gwinnup, Angela Jaconnetti, Noah Vasquez,
Loretta Werre, Katie Marie Young, John Davis and Elizabeth Gould Benjamin who completed volunteer hours ranging from 2 hours to as many as 459 hours.
The WET Action Volunteers is a program for Colusa County Behavioral Health consumers and family members and offers training and education through individual and community activities to support wellness and recovery. An individual must complete an application and a formal interview process to be selected for participation in the pro-gram.
The volunteers were recognized for their leadership and participation in projects throughout the FY 12/13 including such projects as assistance to homeless, arts and crafts volunteers and movie matinée volunteers, Safe Haven volunteer greeters, painters and trainers, Stamp Out Stigma workers, Pay-it-Forward Program, work at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, assistance with special events held in conjunction with the Colusa Theatre and assistance to local business owners.
The volunteers are interested in more opportunities to assist on a local level.
“If your organization would like to invite the volunteers to help at your site, we would love to lend a hand,” said Valerie Stirling.
Stirling can be contacted at (530) 458-0856. All projects must follow WET Program guidelines and they must be preapproved by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Coordinator.