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Turning Point provides free recovery services

POSTED December 24, 2009 2:36 p.m.
A Modesto organization is reaching out to area people with mental illness and offering them a safe place to get career counseling, be a part of a support group or just hang out.
Turning Point and its daily activity program, The Empowerment Center, provide services free of charge to county residents who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, or are family members of someone with a mental illness.
A large number of people who have a mental illness find themselves out of a job and out of resources to better themselves with this down economy, said Elisa Duke, activities coordinator for The Empowerment Center. Turning Point has served almost double the number of people this year than last year, Duke said.
“It is a reflection of the state budget crisis,” she said. “All those people have nowhere to go. They can come here to be in a safe environment for those in recovery.”  
There are many different programs that Turning Point offers including the Employment Services Program, the Integrated Services Agency, the Garden Gate Respite Center, the Warm Line and the Empowerment Center.
The Empowerment Center is opened all day for those with a mental illness to just walk in, Duke said. They offer different workshops for free to help with recovery.
Once a month the members who use the Empowerment Center submit ideas for workshops and events that they would like to see at the center, Duke said.
“It is really their program,” Duke said. “Members ask for what they want and we make it happen.”
The program is about giving the members the power and responsibility in their own recovery, she said. That is why it is called The Empowerment Center.
For the month of December, The Empowerment Center offered workshops on peer support, dual recovery, life skills and spiritual support. They also have presentations that are open to the public.
“We are trying to bring more of the community to our center,” Duke said.
During the holidays, they have offered holiday cooking classes and holiday craft classes, she said. But most people who come into the center feel like the holidays remind them of hard times they went through.
“It is a hard time for them during the holidays,” Duke said. “During the holidays, they think about why they are here instead of with their family. It can be depressing for them.”
Duke said they expect more people using the center in the holidays, though. About half of the people that use the center are homeless.
The Garden Gate Respite Center can be used for transitional housing, Duke said. It is used to help people who are homeless to find a place to live. The Warm Line is another program that is a 24-hour non-crisis support line to help those that need immediate guidance with peer support, she said. Anyone can use the support line.
“We catch the people that fall through the cracks,” Duke said. “This is not a treatment center. It is a drop-in only center to help in recovery. They are responsible for their own recovery.”
For more information about Turning Point, call 341-0718 or visit 609 5th St. in Modesto.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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