The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

May 4, 2012

Promise Center event to provide legal, volunteer information

OTTUMWA — Four community organizations are banding together to provide information and counsel to the area’s homeless.

As part of National Mental Health Awareness Month, the Promise Center, AmeriCorps, Iowa Legal Aid and the Ottumwa Community Outreach Ministry (OCOM) have partnered for “Keeping our promise: To service, to justice and to our community,” on May 16.

Marlys Breon-Drish, coordinator of the Promise Center, said 40 percent of the homeless population has a mental illness or other disability, and they need to know their rights.

“We wanted to do something for [National Mental Health Awareness Month] and felt this collaboration was a great time to bring awareness to mental health issues,” Breon-Drish said. “We felt it was appropriate to address [the homeless] population.”

And though Ottumwa’s homeless shelter closed last year, there’s definitely still a need for it in the community, Breon-Drish said.

“We would love to see the homeless shelter re-open,” she said. “But it’s totally about funding.”

This community project was funded through a mini-grant from the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service.

“It’s good for our members who have been in the system a

May 16

• 9-10:30 a.m.: Educational session at Promise Center, with question-answer session following

• Immediately after: Assemble “survival skills” backpacks

• 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Lunch at outreach center

• Return to the Promise Center for dress rehearsal of “The Trial of Goldilocks”

• 1:45-2:45 p.m.: Performance at Agassiz Elementary

• Community members can drop off backpacks or duffel bags at the Mental Health Center, 110 E. Main St., or the Promise Center, 230 E. Main St., or call 641-682-8772 and they will pick them up.

• If accommodations are needed, contact Marlys Breon-Drish at 641-682-8772 by Tuesday.

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