Recent News

Mike's Inspiring Journey

Congratulations to Mike, who was recently honored as one of three finalists for the inspirational ACHSA Award at a banquet at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel. Mike, whose personal journey took him from successful business owner to 17 years as a homeless man battling mental illness and addiction and, now, to a productive citizen with 10 years sobriety, received an official commendation from the County of Los Angeles, signed by all five County Supervisors. Although Mike did not win the top ACHSA award, which recognizes people who have made great strides in living with mental illness and addiction, he humbly stated, “I understand why that guy did win”. Mike is an inspiration to us all.


Cultural Awareness Committee

During our most recent Cultural Awareness Committee meeting, we explored Puebla, Mexico, learning about its history, traditions, legends, and most importantly, its food. Maria Paz, Community Organizer for CCERP not only presented but also prepared delicious “Mole Poblano” (a sauce made from more than twelve ingredients, including chocolate and many spices) served over chicken and brought popular sweet potato candies. Additionally, we learned how important religion is for the people of Puebla and, at the same time, how colonialism destroyed many of the Aztec temples. Those who came parted with a “recuerdo” (small parting gift to remember the event). Special thanks goes out to Bruce Boardman, CEO, and the programs who joined us, Bimini, River Community and Omni Center!

14th Annual Statewide Integrated Care Conference

At the 14th Annual Statewide Integrating Substance Use, Mental Health, and Primary Care Services Conference, providers from all over the substance abuse and mental health field gathered together to discuss relevant topics, learn new techniques and ideas, and network with one another, in hopes of better serving the surrounding communities. Having been a partial sponsor to the event, Social Model Recovery Systems had the opportunity to share with all who attended the amazing things our programs are doing for our participants. We also had the wonderful opportunity to send Gary Tsai off with a brand new Social Model teddy bear! Thank you to Alex Murray of River Community Wellness Center for attending this event and representing our non-profit agency.

Cultural Awareness Presentations at Omni Center

Last week, Omni Center staff and residents came together to celebrate diversity within our programs, by acknowledging the history, food, and modern-day qualities of Greece, Ireland, Nicaragua, and the United Kingdom. Fuji, the Program Coordinator at Omni, opened the presentation with a motivational speech, tying in our third and fifth Core Beliefs and referencing that cultural awareness is understanding individual’s experiences and having tolerance and patience for those different from us. He went on to explain that appreciating differences is how we effectively interact and communicate. This was a great message for all listening that afternoon. Mario, Josh, Greer, and Noah, residents at the Omni Center, researched the countries they were interested in or had a familial tie to and presented to a full audience, with people coming down from River Community and the Main Office. Everyone enjoyed a family style meal including traditional dishes found in the countries presented. We are all definitely looking forward to the next event.

Energy Drink Education

Energy drinks have been around longer than we may think. Today, we learned that Coca-Cola was the first energy drink in the United States. Could it be because they used to put cocaine in the recipe? Over the years, there have been many energy drinks to hit the market: Monster, Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy. Our presenter stated that along with other biological problems, energy drinks have even caused some deaths. We learned that caffeine and sugar is what gives a person a boost, but some people drink up to five energy drinks a day. This is unhealthy. The next time you want a boost, you should try exercising as a better option.

American Red Cross Volunteer: Amanda Crest

River Community Covina & the Wellness Center want to recognize Amanda Crest for stepping up to help the community of Beaumont, Texas. During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Amanda went to Texas with the American Red Cross to volunteer as a Disaster Mental Health Worker, where she provided a variety of care and assistance to others for up to 11 hours each day. Amanda traveled to different cities in the area to visit people at their homes. She talked to them about their current states and asked if they had any needs from the Red Cross. She also worked in the client shelter and helped community residents process their losses and create plans for the future. She assisted with lunch and dinner food trucks in the community and passed out cleaning supplies to those in need. Lastly, she found next of kin for those who passed away in the storm, and she met with family members and other volunteers to provide emotional support and comforting words of hope. Being able to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey was a rewarding experience for Amanda. Although it was difficult and saddening at times, to see the devastation caused by the storm and hear people’s stories of loss, she is grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer with the American Red Cross to help those in need and looks forward to helping in the future.

Halloween on the Hill

Mariposa staff and residents went up to River Community and were given a presentation on the history of Halloween. The attendees carved pumpkins and fellowshipped with the residents. They also enjoyed a delicious spaghetti lunch with some cool Halloween treats for dessert.