Mental Health Association April Luncheon Begins With Appreciation

At the April recovery luncheon of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, Finance Director Jill Marsh, right, recognized Jena Vacanti for the basket raffle fundraiser she created that raised more than $3,300.

Finance Director Jill Marsh opened the April recovery luncheon of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County by recognizing Jena Vacanti, who is completing her internship at MHA through Jamestown Community College’s Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) program.

Knowing the MHA has experienced funding cuts and that its work depends on grants, contracts and donations, Vacanti took it upon herself to create and organize the recent basket raffle fundraiser held at the Brocton American Legion.

Kim Barnett was the grand prize winner of the football autographed by Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly. With 53 baskets donated by local businesses and community members, the event raised more than $3,300. It was also an opportunity to talk about substance use challenges and to train people in Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, an over-the-counter opioid overdose reversal drug.

Vacanti is a student of Sarah Tranum, JCC Professor/Director of OTA and president of the MHA board.

Administrative Manager Michelle Colaiacovo recognized a participant for achieving secure housing and being six months sober and welcomed new volunteer Diana Bloom.

Colaiacovo also announced that a new Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) group will be starting Wednesday, May 29. CRAFT meets for 12 weeks with family members and friends of someone struggling with a substance use disorder, guiding them through strategies to use for more positive interactions with that person.

Human Resources Director Billy Hernandez awarded a certificate to a participant who is now living in his own apartment.

Jamestown Floor Manager Ed Lloyd awarded certificates to three participants who successfully completed the 12-weeks anger management group, one who finished the Goodskills Career Builder program at Jamestown Community College, and another for nine-months sobriety.

Participant Melita Lyon offered grace before the meal that was prepared by St. Susan Center and served by Activities Director Dianne Valvo and volunteer Joe Wisnewski.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today