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05/2007 Video Premiere and Clean Sweep in Holyoke

Highlights from RVCC
River Valley Counseling Center, Inc., took center stage at the annual Department of Mental Health sponsored Legislative Breakfast on May 4, 2007, when a clip from a recently produced video was presented.   The video premiered to the audience that included DMH Commissioner Elizabeth Childs, M.D., DMH Regional Director Elizabeth Sullivan and her staff; in addition to Western Massachusetts legislators.

Catholic Communications of the Diocese of Springfield produced the feature story of the inspiring journey traveled by a former RVCC Day Treatment Program client.   Last summer, Cathy Pike completed the Commonwealth's inaugural "Certified Peer Specialist" training and became one of only two Certified Peer Specialists in Western Massachusetts.  Cathy is now an RVCC employee at the Day Treatment Program and is the first Certified Peer Specialist in the Commonwealth to obtain full-time benefited employment. 

This poignant story conveys the message that recovery is an achievable, realistic goal for people with mental illness, especially as professional staff, peer specialists and clients work in collaboration.  Channel 22 aired the story twice in June; once as the feature story on "Real to Reel" and once on the "Chalice of Salvation."

In addition to being featured in the presentation, Cathy Pike was honored and received a certificate acknowledging her contribution to promoting and embracing key concepts of a new era of mental health treatment that includes self-advocacy, self determination and empowerment strategies.   Congratulations to Cathy!

In other news from River Valley, Al Gore isn’t the only person who believes that cleaning up the environment is important.  RVCC’s own Executive Director, Matthew Haas, and a team of RVCC employees from administration, the AIDS Project and the Day Treatment Program, along with Day Treatment clients, hit the streets on Friday, April 20th to participate in Holyoke’s Clean Sweep Event. 

Going Green seems to be a hot topic in our nation’s media.  It has gained much attention in recent months, and Holyoke is no exception.  Illegal dumping is a serious problem in Holyoke, and the city’s cleaning efforts aren’t working says Mayor Sullivan.  Clean Sweep was a response to the mayor’s request for people to step up and clean up Holyoke’s streets.  As the sponsoring agency, RVCC welcomed the collaboration of volunteers from Girls Inc. and Valley Opportunity Council.  Everyone worked together to clean up the neighborhood around their facilities on and around Elm, Chestnut and Walnut Streets.   Volunteers worked from 10-2 and ate a pizza lunch provided by RVCC for all those participating. 

A news crew from WWLP 22 and a reporter from the Holyoke Sun were present to cover the event.  The news report from Channel 22 focused on illegal dumping on the streets of Holyoke and interviewed RVCC employee Brenda Salgado.  “Illegal dumping is very costly to the city.  We see it in different places all over the community” said Salgado.  Residents of the neighborhood were supportive of the effort and appreciated the interest given to their streets.