Back in their octagon building, supporters, staff and volunteers for Faulk Center for Counseling gathered in green to salute Mental Health Awareness Month.
The pandemic really put mental health on the map. “Now the community realizes mental health needs more than ever,” board vice president Lois Weisman said at their annual reception. Telehealth kept them going during the shutdown, she added.
Vivian Cardia presented Faulk with a $5,000 check to be matched by donors. After her daughter died, she raised her toddler grandson with special needs. Now he’s 21, lives independently and goes to community college. Faulk has been there for her since day one, she said, so this was her way of “inspiring other people.” That’s Vivian with a butterfly on her wrist in the photo.
New Faulk CEO Jonathan Price introduced himself and thanked supporters and sponsors. He gave his wife Kelly credit for the green balloons and butterflies décor.
Faulk has been offering low-cost mental health services and support groups for 50 years, said new board president Dr. Gwenesia Collins. “No one is ever turned away.”
Since Parkland, Faulk has had more presence in public schools. School district behavior health manager Dr. Michael Kane was among the supporters. He also belongs to Palm Beach County’s Action Alliance, working to Break the Silence on mental health. Making introductions was Rita Thrasher, Alliance chair and Boca Raton’s Promise president known for mounting the first Stop the Stigma campaign. That’s Rita in the photo with her daughter Marla Kosec.
“We’re all partners in awareness, including the city, especially after Parkland,” Mayor Scott Singer said, presenting a proclamation.
Photographer, Faulk volunteer and butterfly expert Tina VaLant briefed the group on how to carefully release the 50 butterflies handed out in see-through envelopes. Then everyone including city and county officials stepped outside to take part in that Faulk tradition symbolizing hope.
Thrasher is urging support for a Zoom program “Women of Action Mental Health Matters” 1 to 2 p.m. May 27 at this link: https://zoom.us/j/96666213496#success
Here’s a link to a Q&A with Faulk’s CEO: https://thebocavoice.com/vicki-katz-retired-meet-faulks-new-ceo/
By Marci Shatzman