Volunteers teach skills to help people recover from mental, emotional disabilities

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At Friendship Community Center, adults recovering from mental and emotional disabilities work in a safe, homelike environment to acquire skills so they are able to function successfully.

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Peer support specialist Kathy Ringel listens as Randy Holmes talks about the obstacles he faces when trying to form relationships. The group discussions take place throughout the day and include topics such as socialization, self-advocacy, independence and community entry skills.  Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Peer support specialist Kathy Ringel listens as Randy Holmes talks about the obstacles he faces when trying to form relationships. The group discussions take place throughout the day and include topics such as socialization, self-advocacy, independence and community entry skills.

Recovering from mental illness is not something that can be done alone. Through this peer support program, members work with counselors and volunteers who can empathize with the feelings and symptoms of mental illness because most of them have been there.

Mikey Coffman is one of the volunteers.

After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and spending several years "severely mentally ill. I thought mental illness was a dead end and that I would be chained to a wall somewhere," Ms. Coffman said.

She credits a strong support group of friends and church members for giving her the strength and learning tools to overcome it. Now she wants to do the same for others.

"It's all about paying it forward," she said. "It was done for me and I just want to give back what I received."

She knows the program works, citing the experience of a Friendship Center client who came to her after his mother died.

"He not only took care of the situation but told us which tools he used to get through his mama's death,'' she said. "That's all about Friendship. That's what we do."

HELPING OUT

WHAT: Friendship Community Center, a nonprofit organization funded by United Way

THE MISSION: Help adults recovering from mental and emotional disabilities practice life skills in a safe, homelike environment.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Donations of clothing, household goods, personal items and computers in good condition are sought. Call (706) 736-4339, or send an e-mail to friendship center@knology.net

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soldout
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soldout 05/04/08 - 06:55 am
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They might want to consider

They might want to consider using EFT which is the best tool for emotional problems I have seen. Very powerful, quick and easy. Anyone can learrn to do it in minutes. The training manual is free on the web. Amazing stuff.

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