FORWARD TO OREGON

 

Pat moved to Oregon in the Spring of 1996 to be with his new sweetheart.  He felt heąd had a pretty good run and decided to retire.  This was probably a good idea since he had his fifth heart attack at the end of January 1997.  As he slowly recovered, he slowly built connections and started to get involved in mental health in Oregon.  While he claimed to be łsemi-retired˛ he couldnąt keep out of the field he loved.

 

He got involved at the state level and based on his reputation from Colorado and California, he got involved at a national level.  For about five years, Pat worked hard at state and national mental health issues.  However, it was at one of the national meetings in Washington, D.C. that he realized that he may have lost touch with the łgrassroots.˛  Therefore, when he returned home, he got involved in local activities for consumers/survivors.  He visited the drop-in center and got to know some of the people.  He investigated and found out ways to get involved in the local county mental health council in Clackamas County.

 

Eventually, Pat became the chair of the Clackamas County Mental Health Council.  During one of his many conversations with the county mental health director, he reminisced about the trainings he had done in California.  Intrigued, the mental health director, Melinda Mowrey, wanted to learn more.  It suddenly dawned on Pat that he could and should provide similar training in Oregon.  A meeting or two with Melinda, a meeting or two with Jessica Leitner (Adult program boss) and funding was secured and the basics of the training were in place.

 

In talking with Jessica and describing the program, she felt that two county staff would be able to carry the role that had been played by Candace Fox in California.  Those two were Erin Staley and Jan Miller.  To provide the support that had been provided in California by Mary Carley, Pat elected to work with Empowerment Initiatives, Inc. (EI).  The Executive Director of EI, is Adrienne Young and Pat knew that she understood the principles of self- empowerment better than most and would be great at fulfilling the support role.  Adrienne secured a contract with Clackamas County and hired Angel Moore to be the co-facilitator of the training with Pat.

 

In addition to updating the training to include contemporary subjects such as trauma and abuse and spirituality and sexuality, the training took on a new name.  O.F.F.I.C.E. (Office For Family Involvement and Consumer/survivor Empowerment) became S.P.I.R.I.T. (Service Provider Individualized Recovery Intensive Training).  The name was developed in Contra Costa County after Pat had left but he felt it was a better name and more reflective of the purpose than the original OFFICE name.

 

Pat had other conflicting interests happening in his life.  His grandmother had died in Ohio and he was interested in purchasing her home and moving back to the small town in which he had been born and raised.  The schedule for the move to Ohio meant that the training in Oregon had to move very quickly.  There wasnąt time to do the outreach and coalition building that had been a part of the foundation of the program in Contra Costa County in California.  Pat also wanted to get in some research to validate the success of the program but there just wasnąt time.  There was also not enough time to do the job development that had been done in the past.  However, Pat knew that the most important part of the training was to help people regain their personal self-esteem, self-confidence and the self-assurance to pursue whatever their dream may be, beyond the end of the formal training.

 

So, the training proceeded despite all of the pieces not being in place.  Pat took the lead in training the class and trained the others (Jan, Erin and Angel) to be trainers of the future.  Everyone pitched in and did a lions share of the work of matching speakers to the dates in the curriculum and even teaching some classes themselves.  Even before the class began, everyone was working hard to create the flyer, the application, conducting interviews of potential students and arranging the classes.

 

By half way through the training, the students were chomping at the bit to start working with the system and making positive changes and helping other consumers/survivors.  With some guidance from Angel, the students decided to articulate their progress by writing letters of thanks to Melinda for the opportunity to participate in the training.  These letters provided a powerful testimony to how much the class promotes recovery.

 

At present, EI and Angel are leading the way to create more classes in Oregon.  MHCC continues to provide some scaled down version of the training without as much success as that seen in the fuller versions of the training.  Colorado and RATC folded the trainings a few years ago.  Pat is in Ohio and will hopefully find an audience there.