Cheer Up the Blues Welcomes Community
Last night Perry Wellness Center hosted its annual Cheer Up the Blues on its brightly lit campus, as peers, staff, and visitors from throughout the community stopped by to enjoy the festivities. From the beautifully decorated tree in the market to the one-of-a-kind display of our Christmas parade float, the campus and market were entrancing! Guests stopped to browse the market, share refreshments, or get a photo with Santa.
Many of us remember the early years of this event, when Stuart Perry donned his Santa suit and stood on the corner of Felder and Lamar Streets, encouraging passers-by to stop for a cup of cider and words of holiday cheer. From those roots have grown a commuity event that serves to remind a wider audience of the reality of holiday depression. We appreciate the support that Americus and Sumter County have provided us.
We'll be posting others photo on our Facebook page and updating you about the event, but for now we thought we'd share a photo of Santa Kelly and his favorite elves, Amanda and Mulkey.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Peer Spotlight: Jeffrey Bowen
Every spare moment at Perry Wellness Center is an opportunity for self-improvement. Peers and staff are all encouraged to recognize that each has a job to do for the betterment of Perry Wellness Center, as well as for themselves.
Jeffrey Bowen, who has been enrolled at the center for two months, is one recent example of putting time to good use. Jeffrey was recently selected to be a part of the receptionist/greeter team in the lobby of our growing campus. Although Jeffrey is known for his quiet demeanor, he rose to the occasion in his new duties. He also put his “down” time to good use, studying to improve his reading skills and word usage. To assist him in his efforts, Jeffrey studies with a personally prepared Word Search notebook.
His quiet attention and detailed approach to his personal improvement have served as an example to other peers and staff at the center. Thanks, Jeffrey!
In the above photo, Jeffrey Bowen works to improve his word recognition skills during a break from regular duties.
PWC Parade Float Has Special Message
As the Christmas season progresses, we want to share some of our seasonal activities at Perry Wellness Center. This year we participated once again in the Downtown Americus Christmas Parade, and a great time was had by all!
To help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the animated movie, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” we decorated our float, along with peers and staff, to the theme of the “Perry Wellness Center Island of Misfit Toys.”
Staff member Laura Leigh Bell noted, “Decorating the Christmas float with all of the peers was a lot of fun and helped us gain a positive Christmas spirit. I really enjoyed working hands-on with the peers and watching them use their creative talents.”
Three full weeks of preparation went into the colorful float, which had a special message this year for many peers. The theme was chosen because staff and peers believe that everyone has a place to fit in, no matter the flaws that each individual might possess. In the movie, the “misfit” toys believed that they were not wanted because of their flaws. But Rudolph and the gang encouraged them and helped them find homes with children who wanted them. In the same way, Perry Wellness Center believes that there is a place for everyone at the center and in his or her community.
Although the PWC float did not win the contest this year, it had a special place in the hearts of those who proudly took their place at its side.
In the photo above, costumed peers and staff assemble with the completed Perry Wellness Center float prior to the start of the Downtown Americus Christmas Parade.
Christmas Spirit Fills PWC Campus
On the campus of Perry Wellness Center, the holiday season is a busy one. Christmas trees, poinsettias, and seasonal crafts are for sale at the bustling Happy Patch Market, and colorful decorations brighten the center’s classrooms and campus. The large Leyland cypress from Farmers Feed and Seed is fully decorated through the efforts of both peers and staff. In the community, the center has also participated in seasonal events such as the downtown Christmas parade, all while attending to the regular operations of the program and an upcoming visit from Georgia’s behavioral health commissioner Frank Berry.
Collards and Collaboration: Agrium Project Provides Benefits
As we have noted before, Perry Wellness Center is engaged in an ongoing community partnership with Agrium, Inc. Through a grant that was awarded to our center, we have worked with local staff to train peers in how to raise and harvest their own raised beds of produce.
We have now gone through our second season on this educational endeavor with Agrium, and continue to be pleased with its effect upon peers. Most recently project manager Phyllis Smith was struck by the benefits that Grover Thornton had received from the project.
“I am excited to see Grover harvest the first collards from his raised bed,” Phyllis noted. “He will take these home for a healthy meal for his family.” The project not only gives peers some practical gardening skills; it also promotes a sense of personal accomplishment and greater self-reliance.
The program will continue with the production of more gardens for the spring and summer season. Its training curriculum includes seed and plant selection, and proper planting, maintenance, and harvesting.
In the above photo, Grover Thornton takes his first collard harvest home to share with family members.