The Ottumwa Courier


April 18, 2012

Promise Center's future at stake

Guest Editorial

OTTUMWA — We are writing in response to Rep. Gaskill’s statement in the April 9 Ottumwa Courier that the current mental health bill, in its current form, would end funding for the Promise Center, causing it to close in 2013. Promise Center, which is located at 230 E. Main St., is a program of the Southern Iowa Mental Health Center and is a drop-in center for adults with mental illness. We are, and represent, members of the Promise Center and would like the community to know the things we know.

First of all, the Promise Center was created in 2001 in response to needs expressed by adults with mental illness, their friends, family members and providers for a safe, nurturing place for those with mental illness to go for support, socialization, life skills education and a connection to the community. Since that time, 474 individuals have become members. In 2011, 165 members came to Promise Center for a total of 6,135 times!

Promise Center is not just a place to “hang out.” It helps people stay out of the hospital and reduces visits to the emergency room. Many individuals with mental illness have limited or no support system, and the center provides this support and is “family” to many of us. It alleviates depression and isolation. It teaches us about the community and makes us feel we are a part of the community. Many of us do volunteer work (RSVP, Outreach Center, Make Ottumwa Shine), are working part time or are looking for jobs. We have learned how to communicate better and have better social skills. We have discovered there are people who care and that we are not alone. It helps us cope with the symptoms of our illnesses. It keeps people off the streets and out of jail. It has made us more independent and willing to break out of our comfort zones and shells. We are more focused and thinking about goals. Many of us have learned to use the city bus system after joining. We can go to the Promise Center in a crisis and leave feeling better. It helps us in our recovery from the devastating impact of living with a mental illness and its accompanying stigma. It gives us hope.

We have an open door policy and encourage anyone to visit and see how the center benefits its members. We are proud of our center and our accomplishments. We are not a charity program. We have not had an increase in our operational budget since opening almost 11 years ago. Members clean and maintain the building, wait on customers in our store, answer the phone, as well as many other tasks. Other service providers such as Hillcrest Family Services, First Resources and Optimae are able to accompany their clients to the Promise Center to help work on their goals.

The thought of losing the Promise Center creates many emotions for us: depression, anxiety, anger, thoughts of loneliness, confusion about the future and the fear of not seeing our friends and peers.

We encourage our legislators to find a way to continue funding for the Promise Center. We feel it is a tax savings to Wapello County taxpayers. We wish they would have considered the consequences of their proposed legislation before putting it into motion. Consider the impact if it was your son or daughter who might lose this vital support.

Amy Butts, Cassie Archer, Carol Archer and Dan Humble are members of the Promise Center.

Text Only
  • Investing more money in tornado research would be a disaster

    This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would require National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding to focus on improving forecasts of "high impact weather events" like tornadoes and hurricanes "for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy."

    April 4, 2014

  • 1120 OTT Opinion Reiter bw photo -L A running Start The Great American Smokeout is tomorrow. The American Cancer Society has chosen the third Thursday in November for this annual event to encourage smokers to quit. There are still an estimated 43.8 million cigarette smokers in the U.S. and several mil

    November 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • No Headline Provided

    October 25, 2013

  • Be aware of prostate cancer I am very pleased to see the coverage and interest in breast cancer with October designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are about 220,000 new cases of breast cancer reported every year, and it is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths

    October 4, 2013

  • Our View Election a chance to move Ottumwa forward Over the past several days, the Courier sat down with each of the candidates for City Council. Among the candidates are some of the best people we've seen step forward in a very long time. We'll endorse candidates for the general election. What we wa

    October 4, 2013

  • Broadband Internet just the beginning I had the opportunity to meet the broadband delegation from Ottumwa who recently toured Steuben County, Ind. As one of the iMAN Fiber Network team members, I can assure you this was an incredible experience for both of our groups. First, as I've lear

    September 14, 2013

  • Request free utility locates using Iowa One Call technology Iowa homeowners who need to dig on their property have free access to an updated technology tool, iTic Lite, available from Iowa One Call, the organization tasked with promoting the message "Call before you dig in Iowa." For their own safety and that

    September 10, 2013

  • Tell us your survivor story The world is filled with stories. Some make front-page news while others get hidden and are never told. Stories of people who overcome obstacles should have a place to make their voices heard. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Courier

    September 6, 2013

  • School board voting will be a little easier Tuesday The League of Women Voters would like to encourage a greater participation by voters in the upcoming election of school board members. It is encouraging to see a larger number of citizens campaigning to serve their community on the school board. I

    September 6, 2013

  • 0831 OTT Opinion Guest editorial mug -L -T Davis Co. residents, businesses need access to affordable, reliable broadband The Federal Communications Commission’s recent rule changes are having a significant impact on Citizens Mutual Telephone Company and its consumers, forcing a reduction of capital spending, significantly due to the lack of certainty in future revenue

    August 30, 2013 1 Photo

AP National