Paint­ing shades of dig­nity: Mha­honors ex­cep­tional in­di­vid­u­als

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Society Scene - Broward - - Front Page -

This will be the 18th con­sec­u­tive year that the Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion (MHA) of South­east Florida will honor ex­cep­tional peo­ple at its “Ex­cep­tional Peo­ple Im­pact­ing the Com­mu­nity (EPIC) Awards Lun­cheon” May 15 at Sig­na­ture Grand.

Chair­ing this year’s “EPIC Lun­cheon” are Ta­nia Hamil­ton and Alana Se­gall.

Hon­orees are Kris­tine Car­leson of Rebel Drop-In Cen­ter, Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal; Kathy Lon­don of Chil­dren’s Di­ag­nos­tic& Treat­ment Cen­ter; Cur­tisWalker of Task­force Fore End­ing Home­less­ness; and Gary Barg of To­day’s Care­giver Mag­a­zine.

“What th­ese very di­verse and ded­i­cated in­di­vid­u­als have in com­mon is their com­mit­ment to the pub­lic good, their ef­forts to im­prove the lives of ci­ti­zens of our com­mu­ni­ties, and their ad­vo­cacy for per­sons with men­tal ill­ness,” said Paul Jaquith, pres­i­dent/CEO of MHA.

“EPIC” is a sig­na­ture event forMHAand a pres­ti­gious recog­ni­tion for hon­orees. Nominations are gen­er­ated from the com­mu­nity by providers, pro­fes­sion­als, ad­vo­cates and per­sons served.

“Since its in­cep­tion in 1996, over 100 in­di­vid­u­als have re­ceived an EPIC award for their ef­forts to ben­e­fit the health and well­be­ing of our com­mu­nity,” Jaquith added. Nei­ther fame nor celebrity com­pels the award. Past Hon­orees in­clude elected of­fi­cials, pro­fes­sion­als, per­sons re­ceiv­ing ser­vices and ad­vo­cates for the cause.

Work­ing with the chairs on the event are Chris Yoc­u­lan, Ni­cole Storrs and ShaneWeaver; as well as a large cast of vol­un­teers.

Event spon­sors are GEO Care, Brink­ley-Mor­gan, Gulf Coast Fam­ily and Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, and Idelle and Larry New­burge.

Guests will have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore the ser­vices and pro­grams of­fered at MHAthrough some imag­i­na­tive in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ences. There will also be an ex­hi­bi­tion of work by artists of MHA’s 9Muses Art Cen­ter, which will be for sale.

Pro­ceeds of the event will ben­e­fit the pro­grams and ad­vo­cacy ofMHAin­clud­ing 9Muses Art Cen­ter, Thum­body Pro­grams, Lis­ten to Chil­dren, Par­ent­ing Ed­u­ca­tion/Par­ent Sup­port (PEPS), Fam­ily Voices and the SETH LineWarm Line. Pro­ceeds of art sales will di­rectly ben­e­fit artists of 9Muses.

The mis­sion ofMHAis to pro­mote­men­tal health and vic­tory over men­tal ill­ness and re­lated chal­lenges through ed­u­ca­tion, preven­tion, ad­vo­cacy, re­search and em­pow­er­ment. The vi­sion is a so­ci­ety in which all peo­ple are ac­corded re­spect, dig­nity and the op­por­tu­nity to achieve their full po­ten­tial free from stigma and prej­u­dice.

MHAre­cently cel­e­brated its 55th an­niver­sary of serv­ing the com­mu­nity. Board chair­man Dr. Adam Rosen­berg lauded the many com­mu­nity vol­un­teers whomake the var­i­ous pro­grams and com­mu­nity outreach ser­vices pos­si­ble. “When peo­ple visit our or­ga­ni­za­tion, they are amazed at the many pro­grams we have.”

Tick­ets are $65 and can be or­dered by call­ingMHAat 954-746-2055 or by vis­it­ing

ShaneWeaver, left, Rick Al­dret and artist Trevor Bai­ley

Hold­ing Thum­bod­ies, a tool for the self-es­teem pro­gram for young chil­dren, are Den­neshia Spratt, left, Robin Sorkin, Lynn Britt and He­len Leitch.

Vi­o­let King, an artist at 9 Muses Art Cen­ter, which is a drop-in pro­gram themed on the arts in Laud­erd­hill, paints ta­ble cen­ter­pieces for the Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Florida’s 18th an­nual "EPIC Awards Lun­cheon."

Cur­tisWalker, left, Gary Barg, Kris­tine Car­leson and Paul Jaquith

Chris Yoc­u­lan, left, Caryn Botknecht and Kathy Leone

Idelle New­burge, left, Liz Mey­ers, Maud Pas­quet and Dana Cahn

Ta­ble cen­ter­pieces, made by artists at 9 Muses Art Cen­ter, are sculpted and painted for the lun­cheon.

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