OUR WESTCARE STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
“We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness.” - YvetteClark
“History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” - Michelle Obama
“Darkness can not drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” -Nelson Mandela
As President of WestCare, I have been honored to lead an organization that serves diverse youth, adults, and families. Keeping this in mind, I encourage you to educate and immerse yourself in cultures, life experiences, and histories that you may not identify with. We must listen and learn from our Black brothers and sisters - amplifying their voices in the spirit of empowerment.
As Black History Month comes to an end, I would like to give space to remember, honor, and celebrate the achievements, resilience, and history of Black Americans. I recognize that there are no better persons to put this into words than those with lived experience, so I invite you to reflect on the following quotes from Black trailblazers throughout history: DickSteinberg President, WestCare Foundation
A Precious Soul Gone, Not Forgotten….By Emily Selby, Counselor
The community of Bullhead City lost an AMAZING soul. Corky Cornell was a longtime resident of Bullhead City with his wife and children. Corky was a business owner and a member of numerous organizations throughout his journey in Bullhead City, AZ.
Corky donated time and money to several organizations he believed in and held close to his heart. WestCare Arizona was one of them! We were lucky to have spent over 20 years with Corky. We saw him often, quickly visiting, and always there to lend a hand when needed. It is people like Corky who help create great communities that form bonds that last a lifetime! He inspired us to give back to the community and people. Thank you for showing us the meaning of selfless love and care by motivating others to do the same.
Corky, you will never be forgotten and will forever be a part of WestCare Arizona; may you Rest in Peace.
Happy Retirement, LynnPimentel! By Michael Mygind, Director of Marketing
In early February, our WestCare California family of programs bid a heartfelt farewell and wished a very Happy Retirement to a longtime member of our family and leadership, Lynn Pimentel!
While she has been employed with our organization for over 20 years, her history with WestCare goes back even further. In 1990, she was a client and in early 1993, a graduate of The Third Floor, a 48-bed residential treatment facility in Fresno, which we now affectionately know today as WestCare California.
After completing the program, she returned in July of 2002 as an Outpatient Substance Abuse Counselor. She was then promoted to Director of the Women and Children's Program at MLK Residential in January of 2003. In 2006, she was promoted again to Director of MLK. A year later in 2007, she was promoted to the position of Clinical Director for WestCare California. Her rise through the ranks would continue in 2008 into the role of Deputy Administrator for WestCare California, in which throughout this 13+ year tenure, she would oversee all programs until transitioning to oversight specifically for our treatment and rehabilitation, Veterans services, housing opportunities, and education & prevention programs. She remained the Deputy Administrator until she began her transition into retirement, in which she worked with our organization on a part-time basis as a Special Projects Specialist, beginning January 1, 2022. Throughout her 20 years of service to our organization, she proudly touts that 387 clean and sober babies were born at our MLK Residential facility during her time with us.
On top of her leadership duties for the organization and commitment to the message of recovery as a proud alumni, her name has become synonymous with community involvement, collaboration, and advocacy. From her role as the co-founder of Community Partners 4 Recovery (CP4R) and the SoberStock event to her involvement with the Fresno Madera Continuum of Care (FMCoC) and role in planning various WestCare events ranging from treatment graduations to parades, the Fresno AIDS Walk, California alumni group gatherings, and more – she has embodied our mission and vision well beyond the confines of a regular working day. She lives it and she breathes it.
During her farewell party, she remarked, "This is my formal retirement from WestCare. I started with this organization in 1990 as a consumer and I’m retiring as a former Deputy Administrator. It was like working with family every day – changing lives, seeing babies born clean and sober, seeing clients who used to attend programs work for us now, seeing the change in the people we serve, seeing the growth of our agency, and seeing the lives that have been touched by housing and Veterans services. It just makes me very proud to be a WestCarian. I will be in your hearts always and you will hear my words when I say things like, ‘May the force be with you.’ Have a good life. I enjoyed every association with WestCare that I’ve had and appreciate their support throughout the years. Thank you.”
While she will remain with our organization by way of helping plan future WestCare events, there is no denying that we will miss her and her unbridled passion for recovery and the life-changing services that we are so fortunate to provide. On behalf of your WestCare family, those that we serve, and our countless alumni – we love you and wish you only the happiest of years ahead in your retirement.
Guidance/Care Center’s (GCC) Unsung HeroBy Maureen
Since 2001, the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys has been hosting the annual Unsung Heroes event to recognize the tireless efforts of our community’s volunteers. Each Monroe County 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is invited to nominate one Unsung Hero to recognize the individual’s unpaid contributions over the past year.
For 2022, Guidance/Care Center’s Unsung Hero is Elena Spottswood!
Elena Guardiola Spottswood was born in Havana, Cuba to Cuban-born parents, Felix A. Guardiola and Elena Plana de Guardiola. She came to the U.S. as an exile in 1961 and grew up in Miami, Florida as one of eight children. She attended many schools in Dade County, both public and parochial, received her AA degree from Miami Dade Community College, and graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Criminal Justice. She married Robert Spottswood in 1980, and they have two sons (Robert Jr., and Philip) and two daughters (Elaine and Mary Anne). They lived in Coral Gables until they moved to Key West in 1992. Elena is a homemaker and community volunteer who is passionate about family and serving her community. She is active with many community boards including GCC’s Community Action Council (CAC).
Elena has been a volunteer on our CAC for many years. She shares our passion for behavioral health and serving the Florida Keys and has been a strong advocate for increasing access to mental health services. This year, she was instrumental in having federal funds allocated to our capital project to rebuild The Heron assisted living facility for those with mental illness. The FY23 Omnibus was signed into law by the President on Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022. It included the federal earmark of $1.5 million for construction of a new Heron facility, thanks to Congressman Gimenez (R-FL-26) and Elena’s advocacy with him.
The 23rd Annual Unsung Heroes Celebration recognized Elena’s outstanding efforts in our Florida Keys community. This celebration was held on Friday, Feb. 3 at a luncheon at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel. In addition, the Keys Weekly had a special newspaper insert to honor all of the Monroe County Unsung Heroes.
Congratulations, Elena and thank you for all of your service to further support our mission!
Guidance/Care Center by WestCare
Introducing The Women’s Place
Outpatient Treatment Program
WestCare Georgia is pleased to announce the launch of The Women’s Place (TWP) outpatient treatment program. Since its launch, TWP has established some great community partnerships, including with the Goodwill of North Georgia’s Career Center. Our first community outreach event was on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at a recent resource fair sponsored by Goodwill. The fair was a remarkable success with several community health organizations and local businesses present. TWP was able to network with local partners while also promoting WestCare Georgia’s prevention, treatment, youth, young adult, and adult programs.
On Thursday, Jan. 27, TWP officially opened its program to the public. Our team spoke to guests, sharing their excitement, passion, wisdom, and knowledge when discussing the program’s implementation and goals of meeting the needs of program participants and the community. Two women expressed interest in the program and are currently scheduled for enrollment. The goal of TWP is to impart hope, help, and healing into the lives of every woman admitted into the program. Upon completion of the program, women shall empower and strengthen themselves to obtain remarkable success on their path to recovery.
If any woman between the ages of 18 and older desires to change and is willing to learn a better way of life, please feel free to contact The Women’s Place at either (404) 761-7485 ext. 37106 or (470) 487.3582, or by email at email@example.com
FAVA Receives a Boost of Support from the Farmers Trust & Savings BankBy Amanda Eldridge, Veteran Navigator
WestCare Iowa’s Family Alliance for Veterans of America (FAVA) program is very honored to recently receive a generous donation of $5,000 to assist our Veterans and their families in need on behalf of the Farmers Trust & Savings Bank In 2014, the bank celebrated its 100th anniversary and has always been proud to provide credit, quality, financial products, and outstanding services to the communities they serve.
The funds received from this generous gift will be used to stock our pantry with much needed food, hygiene items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, baby items, and support animal food/medical care.
Thank you, Farmers Trust & your ongoing support of Northern life-saving work without you!
Effective Jan. 25, 2023, the a new location at:
701 Pierce Street, Suite 204, Sioux City, IA 51101
Jessica Salcido of NAI United office with much more space our services and personnel! Thank you, Jessica!
FAVA (Family Alliance for Veterans of America)
Reentry Efforts at the Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery CenterBy Gary Compton, Program Director
WestCare Kentucky’s Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center in Ashcamp, KY provides reentry resources for our residents during and after their stay. During the final week of January, we hosted several community partners to provide linkage to services and education for residents who were returning to the community.
On Jan. 30, Department of Corrections Employment Administrator, Dana Taylor, presented to 39 halfway-house residents and staff. She discussed employment opportunities within and outside of the service region. Dana informed them of opportunities for local employment with accompanying transportation provided by the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Reentry Branch. Residents with job placements will be provided with no-cost transportation for the first two weeks of their employment and half-cost transportation afterwards. Dana has made a commitment to continue monthly service for our residents.
On Jan. 31, Rural Community Opioid Response Program (RCORP) Program Director, Justin Kerr and his staff, Cheyenne Price, Lynn Bradford, and Kelly Carlisle, presented to 39 residents and staff. Justin and his staff conducted a Discharge Education class that focused on preparation for community reintegration and the challenges that residents may face.
On Feb. 1, our Hal Rogers program partnered with the Kentucky Department of Corrections Reentry Coordinator, Matt Goble, to provide reentry resource manuals to residents upon discharge. Residents leaving our program will now be provided the most recent and up-to-date resource services information specific to the areas that they will be living in.
On Feb. 2, Mountain Comprehensive Care staff, Regina Gearheart, Samantha Osborne, Matthew Fields, and Jordan Justice conducted intake interviews with residents for fatherhood classes. These classes focus on interpersonal communication and familial relationships. Fifteen residents were selected to participate in the classes, which began on Feb. 7 and will be taught two days a week over the course of five weeks for a total of 30 hours. Each resident will receive a $150 gift card upon completion.
Hal Rogers Appalachian Recovery Center Counselor, Matthew Gross, stated, “I think that this week, residents were provided with great opportunities for help upon discharge.”
It was truly great to see everyone come together during this time and work to help prepare our residents for return to their communities.
Recovery is Celebrated and Heroes are Recognized at Black Monday 2023By Angela Mangum, VP Revenue Cycle Management
On Feb. 13, a fellow Las Vegas provider, There is No Hero in Heroin, hosted the latest installment of Black Monday, their annual event to raise awareness and support funds. This event brings resources and support services together to help bring awareness to addiction and emphasize recovery. We were proud to be an event sponsor as well as one of many providers to share about their services by way of a general WestCare Nevada booth, lit up in a beautiful blue light, softly highlighting our flyers and swag and a booth on behalf of our Spiritual Alumni Group, accompanied by alumni members proudly wearing their Spiritual t-shirts! Everyone was all smiles and handshakes – knowing that they were all there to help those in need at any point in their recovery.
To make a great night even better, our VP of Operations, Leo Magrdichian, was honored as their 2023 Hero of the Year for his years of service in the field of treatment and rehabilitation! After humbly approaching the stage, he selflessly made two confessions at the podium. The first of which was that he was the least deserving of all of the nominees and the second being that he has never worked a day in his life for the past 12 years because, “when you are helping people in need in a community you love, you never work a day in your life.”
Following the event, he remarked, “I was truly honored to have been first nominated and then actually chosen as the Hero of the Year at this year’s Black Monday event. It is a gift to be able to serve some of our most vulnerable in this community in this capacity and to then be recognized in this manner as a good steward. This gift is truly remarkable and something
that I will never forget.”
Please join me in congratulating our friend and colleague, Leo, on this profound honor and to our fellow providers, brothers and sisters in recovery, and the dedicated team behind the Black Monday event who made it all possible - thank you! This event is proof that treatment works and recovery happens!
VETCare Oregon Expands Services for Local Vets!By Charlene Pech, Program Manager
VETCare/WestCare Oregon has had a lot of change moving into 2022 and we are anticipating 2023 will bring more of the same. The New Year started off strong with the startup of two new Veteran programs, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) and VETCare Prevents, a suicide prevention program made possible by the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program (SSG Fox SPGP)
These programs added seven new staff (two more still to hire) and a second office location. VETCare has a dedicated and motivated team who work diligently to support the WestCare mission of Uplifting the Human Spirit. Looking forward, our team is hoping to expand even more. Our goal is to offer a diverse and accessible spectrum of housing, health, and employment resources to underserved Veterans in our community. As we grow, change, and adopt new programs - it is important to highlight our successes and celebrate staff who are making a difference in the lives of others.
This month, we would also like to celebrate and highlight one of our newer members of the VETCare team, Chanel Harris! Chanel, Outreach Coordinator for HVRP, is a critical part of our team not only because she is a natural at engaging community partners and developing trust within our unhoused/underhoused communities – but, because she uplifts everyone that she meets and extends compassion and kindness with each encounter. Thank you, Chanel, for all of your hard work and for choosing WestCare/VETCare!
Guara Bi Receives Funding to Meet the Needs of Gender Violence VictimsBy Yolanda Gonzalez, Program Assistant and HR Coordinator
Guara Bi - Manaya in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico has been offering direct services to female victims of gender-based violence. Recently, the Department of Justice awarded us with a grant allocated by the Government of Puerto Rico through the Committee on Prevention, Support, Rescue and Education of Gender Violence (PARE)
WestCare’s Chief Operating Officer for the Caribbean and Latin American region, Cristian Duarte, joined the Secretary of Justice, Domingo Emanuelli, to sign an agreement between the agencies. We intend for this agreement to strengthen the services provided to meet the emotional, psychosocial, and physical needs of primary and secondary victims of those we serve. Guara Bi - Manaya has helped dozens of crime victims to stabilize their lives by providing security, protection, and assistance as they navigate the process of the justice system.
DreamWeek 2023 in San AntonioBy Alisa Garza, Administrative Assistant
In the month of January, WestCare Texas was honored to be a sponsor and presenter for DreamVoice LLC’s DreamWeek, an annual series of hundreds of events presented by local organizations and individuals with the mutual goal of honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and fostering the free exchange of ideas on universal issues that affect the human race. Our state’s sponsorship of the event was pivotal in starting off the new year. As Mayor Ron Nirenberg stated, “DreamWeek is one of the most forward-looking and iconic developments in San Antonio in the last decade.” WestCare Texas is proud to stand by Dr. King’s vision of racial equity and unity that this series of events upholds.
As a sponsor, we were honored to be a part of the opening ceremony and breakfast, wreath laying ceremony, MLK Jr. March, and Mayor’s Ball Gala as well as the DreamVoice Awards Luncheon in which Beverly Watts Davis, Senior Vice President of WestCare Texas, was recognized for her contributions to helping make DreamWeek an annual event. During this week, over 220 events occurred which provided networking opportunities to connect with others who
believe in the promotion of equity, diversity,
and civic engagement.
As part of DreamWeek, WestCare Texas hosted several events that provided information and educational opportunities. These events focused on race and class issues in San Antonio, healing families of color from the traumas of racism, and bringing substance use and crime prevention information to the Eastside community. Our events also included several mental health workshops, a healthy-living history workshop in partnership with the City of San Antonio’s Healthy Neighborhood Office, a panel conversation and video on substance use prevention, and a panel discussion on juvenile delinquency prevention and reduction in partnership with the Juvenile Probation Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It was our honor for WestCare Texas to start the year off as a MLK DreamWeek sponsor, hosting events that provided prevention and intervention resources while also bringing the Eastside community together to advocate for progress and Dr. King's vision.
Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Leadership ForumShelisa Allen, Administrative Assistant
From Jan. 30 through Feb. 3, The Village - Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery’s Regional Director, Marsha Taylor and Prevention Coordinator, Brandy Brookes, visited the mainland for the 33rd Annual Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Leadership Forum in National Harbor, Maryland. On the first day of the forum, Marsha and Brandy joined thousands of attendees from across the country for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA’s) 19th Prevention Day. As part of this, professionals and youth leaders held presentations and workshops focused on topics of prevention while sharing advice, expert opinions, and research. This five-day event gave insight as to how other organizations have been able to serve their community and left both Marsha and Brandy with refreshed perspectives and new tactics to bring back to their home island of St. Croix!
Wisconsin LST Youth Shine at Recent Chat with Bader EventBy Felicia Williams, Program Director
Since moving into the Harambee community, Bader Philanthropies has always prided itself in staying connected by hosting chats that they call, Chat with Bader The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School’s AfricanAmerican Immersion Program had three youth that attended and held dialogue with their elders and prominent members of the community. Of the three, two were seventh and eighth grade scholars in WestCare Wisconsin’s Life Skills Training (LST) Project One of the youth featured was Marceana Adkins, the third place winner for the district-wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech and Essay Contest She had the opportunity to bless all in attendance with her profound and heartfelt speech that concluded with a standing ovation. We will certainly make sure to follow Ms. Adkins as she advances through her educational journey!
WestCare Honors the Legacy and Service of Dr. Eugene WalkerBy Andrew Moran, Development Director
On Feb. 2, leadership from across our organization and on behalf of our board gathered at Sunset Station’s Club Madrid Ballroom in Henderson, NV. This night was not just as part of our most recent board meeting festivities, but was also presented in honor of Dr. Eugene Walker for his legacy of service and over 20 years of support and guidance as a founding board member for WestCare Georgia
Dr. Walker has had so many accomplishments throughout the years that it would take a book to truly list them all. Before his extensive career in education and politics, he was a standout multi-sport college athlete in football, basketball, and track who would later earn multiple hall of fame honors for his time with Clark Atlanta University and holds the distinction of being the first scholar athlete at Clark to finish in four years.
After graduating from Clark in 1958 with his bachelors in social science, he would return to his high school, Drake, to teach and coach basketball from 1958 through 1968. In 1969, he received his master’s in history from Atlanta University. He would later receive his certificate in Southern history from Johns Hopkins University and in 1978, his doctorate in history from Duke University.
In 1984, he was elected State Senator for Georgia's 43rd District and would serve until 1992. As part, he was also the first African American to hold the position of Majority Whip for the Georgia Senate. In 1988, he served as State Chairman of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. From 1995 to 1999, Walker served as the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice and throughout the years, has served on countless boards including Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles, the DeKalb County Board of Education, and WestCare Georgia’s Board, of which both himself and WestCare Georgia’s Vice President of Operations, Derrick Boazman, had served on since the state’s incorporation into the WestCare family in 2003.
The event opened with remarks from our CEO, Ken Ortbals; an invocation by our Vice President of Human Resources, Rashieda Shabazz; heartfelt words from longtime friend of Dr. Walker, Derrick Boazman; and a presentation of awards by our President, Dick Steinberg and chairman of the WestCare Board of Directors, Jim Wadhams. Before Dr. Walker took the podium to share his thoughts and wisdom, a special slideshow that highlighted just a glimpse of his accomplishments was played in his honor set to Diana Ross and The Temptations’, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Throughout the evening, his loving wife, Pat Walker, was in attendance supporting him and sharing in the beautiful occasion.
The evening’s recognition was not solely for Dr. Walker as fellow WestCare Georgia board member, Doris Michaux, was also recognized for her dedication to our mission. Between her time on Boards for both WestCare Georgia and WestCare California, Doris has now been affiliated with the WestCare family for more than 32 years! Now residing and lending guidance in Georgia, she is retired from the Fresno County Dept. of Social Services in California, where she served as Executive Administrator for all service divisions, inclusive eligibility, social work, and administrative services.
In all, it was truly a beautiful evening and a fitting way to recognize those who have so selflessly given their time to help our operations better serve those within our communities who are in need of the life-changing services that we are so proud to offer! To all who played a part in making this night so special, thank you!