Key players in Manatee County “lunch and learn” at the Academy.
With interest in the Academy gaining a wider reach, we welcomed esteemed guests from our sister city Bradenton Florida. Chief Assistant State Attorney of Manatee and Desoto Counties, Cynthia Evers, and Assistant Public Defender of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Gabriele Plendl, Esq., joined us last Friday afternoon to see what we’re all about. Both shared that they were unfamiliar with the Clubhouse model of recovery. As they toured the Academy with founding member Chantel Gingerich, they were fully engaged and inquisitive. Chantel, of course, did a great job answering their questions and sharing a bit of her own story for context. As they took in the bustling teams, each working together on projects and tasks that directly support our operations, they saw another side of mental illness; a side that many don’t consider when they think about those living with mental health challenges: the potential for a productive life. They observed the high level of collaboration, camaraderie, and professionalism that our members convey. They also got a glimpse at our creative and humorous side as they caught the premiere of our weekly newscast, This Just In. And while on the subject of our creativity, they joined us for a delicious lunch. We get excited sharing what we do, and it’s especially gratifying when we can see that little light go on, the “ah ha moment” when someone “gets us.” Cynthia and Gabriele clearly did.
We rely on our strong partnerships with law enforcement and judicial leaders to support mental health initiatives, and we are grateful for an ongoing partnership with Larry Eger, Public Defender of the 12th Judicial Circuit and Ed Brodsky, State Attorney of the 12th Judicial Circuit (serving Sarasota, DeSoto and Manatee Counties). Without their leadership, we would not see the progress that we have in reducing incarcerations and other punitive measures for those in a mental health crisis.
As our membership grows, we see more folks from Manatee considering membership at the Academy. We love to have made a connection with two more key individuals, and potential referral sources, in Manatee County. And they couldn’t have been nicer! We thank them for stepping away from their very busy schedules to spend some time with us. We look forward to furthering our connection.
Pictured above are (left to right) Academy at Glengary Board President Joan Geyer, Academy staff Vanessa Alcantara, Gabriele Plendl, Cynthia Evers, Academy member Chantel Gingerich and Academy staff Jeffrey Jean