outREACH - Spring 2010
The good news is that Vantage was recently successful in purchasing a home that will accommodate four individuals with mental illness in permanent housing. We are very proud of this accomplishment and the new addition to our housing department.
The bad news is that the state budget is shrinking our funding, which will result in fewer services that we can provide to the community. The irony is, due to a weakened economy, joblessness and foreclosures, more individuals are in need of our services – but fewer donations and less funding are available, as individuals' ability to pay declines.
Some would say that we should be fortunate that the cuts are not worse, that everyone must share the "pain." While I do understand, the fact is that the field of behavioral health has historically been woefully under funded. Unfortunately, when state finances were healthy, providers for our most vulnerable citizens did not share in the wealth.We know that:
- Mental illness affects 1 in 4 adults of every age, race, religion and income level
- Mental illness is a brain disease and is not the result of a flawed character, weak resolve or lack of intelligence
- Consumers of mental health services are not vocal about their illness
- 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability for persons age 5 and older are mental disorders
- People can - and do - regain their mental health through a combination of good medical and psychiatric care, community support services and meaningful relationships
This work is my passion and as I hear about the everyday successes the staff make happen with the individuals we serve, I don't hesitate to share some of these stories or to ask for your financial help as we enter a difficult budget year. I hope you find the Client Success Stories article inspiring and can help us continue the worthwhile work we do.
Sincerely, Victoria L. Sidrow, President and CEO
Vantage Welcomes New Residence
left to right: William J. Boylan, Chair, VHS Board of Trustees; Gary Kohles, Supervising Contract Administrator, Bergen County Division of Community Development; Vicki Sidrow, President and CEO, VHS
Gary Kohles, pictured above, is presented with a certificate award by Vantage Health System for his leadership in assisting Vantage with bringing to fruition the opening of an affordable housing residence in Englewood, NJ. Purchased with federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) stimulus funds for homes in foreclosure by a competitive grant from Bergen County's Division on Community Development, this home will give independent housing opportunities for four individuals with special needs.
"In order for individuals to recover from mental illness, safe, affordable, permanent housing with supportive services is crucial. We are thrilled to be able to offer our clients this wonderful opportunity," stated Vicki Sidrow, President and CEO.
Staff News - Staff Recognition
Andrea Boone began as receptionist in Englewood in 1980 at what was then known as the Community Mental Health Organization. Andrea has been the first person thousands of individuals have met upon entering our doors. Her pleasant demeanor welcomes them, and clients sense her caring as she remembers most of them by name! She now celebrates 30 years with the organization.
Shirley Feldstein & Zahava Ortsman
Vicki Sidrow recognizes Shirley (left) and Zahava (right) for their 35 years of service to Vantage.
Said Sidrow, "When Shirley and Zahava started working here in 1975 the Dumont site had just been built 3 years previously. While the organization has grown tremendously since then, both have continued their clinical social work, effectively treating hundreds of individuals and families with a variety of mental health challenges, in individual, group, couples and family therapy.
"With 100 years of combined service amoung them, the Board of Trustees, management and staff thank Andrea, Shirley & Zahava for their dedication and commitment to the individuals and families served here at Vantage."
David Griffith, MS, LCADC has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Dave's long tenure at Vantage (23 years), his knowledge of the organization and his varied experiences here made him the perfect choice for this position.
Robert M. Jones, CPA. Bob was hired as Controller in December 2009 and recently promoted to VP of Finance. Bob's experience and enthusiasm brings leadership in the Finance Department where he manages Vantage's $10.5 million budget.
Robert Zeglin was promoted to Director of the Life Enrichment and Achievement Program (LEAP), a day program for adults with a developmental disability and mental illness. Rob showed himself to be an effective and creative leader as Assistant Director. His background in research adds a new dimension to the position.
Tara Ripp, Grants Manager. Tara was promoted from within the VHS Finance Department from a billing position to that of overseeing the myriad number of federal, state and county grants, making sure that our reports, resulting in payment for services, are done on a timely basis.
TD Foundation Grant
left to right: Patricia Mahmarian, Director, Partnership for Caring, Kirby Holmes, Manager of TD Bank, Cresskill Branch, Vicki Sidrow, President and CEO of Vantage Health System
TD Charitable Foundation approved a $2,500 contribution to Vantage's Partnership for Caring program. Partnership for Caring is a unique program which partners with the Borough of Bergenfield, the Board of Education's five Elementary Schools, Middle School, and High School. The specific focus is upon children and adolescents who are identified as at-risk of future delinquency as indicated by poor academic performance, disruptive behavior in school and/or at home, excessive absences and/or tardiness, absence of basic every day living skills and alcohol/drug abuse and/or experimentation.
Save the Date!
Vantage Health System's 12th Annual Golf Outing is happening at White Beeches Golf & Country Club in Haworth, NJ on Monday August 9th! Go to our events page or contact Dave Griffith at 201-567-0500 x3259 for more information on signing up, or taking out an ad in the Ad Journal.
Vantage Health System Receives Lillian Pitkin Schenk Award
The Lillian Pitkin Schenck Fund awarded a $40,000 grant to Vantage Health System through the PNC Bank, the Fund's financial trustee. "The Lillian Pitkin Schenck Fund has been a supporter of Vantage and our mental health services to children and adolescents in Bergen County for many years. In essence, they have become an instrumental partner with us in providing these services to at-risk individuals and families. We are extremely grateful to the Trustees of the Fund for their ongoing confidence and support of our important work in the community," said Vicki Sidrow, President and CEO.
Thank You Community Chest Of Leonia
In this very difficult year, it is our pleasure to sincerely thank the Community Chest of Leonia (and by extension the residents of Leonia) on behalf of Vantage Health System's Board of Trustees, staff and clients, for their donation of $2,500 to Vantage Health System.
We are very grateful for their contribution and thoughtfulness in keeping Vantage, and the vulnerable individuals and families we serve across our programs, in their charitable giving.
Thank you, The Rotary Club of Englewood
The Rotary Club of Englewood made a $1,500 donation to Vantage Health System in recognition of the work done by the organization for residents of Englewood.
Scott Reddin, President of The Rotary Club of Englewood hands Vicki Sidrow, VHS CEO, the donation from the Club. Surrounding them, left to right are Rotary members George Milne, Daniel Fitzpatrick, and Dr. Patricia LaRocco, Assis- tant Governor, District 7490.
Client Success Stories
The Recovery Centers of Vantage are structured day programs at both our Dumont and Englewood locations for individuals recovering from a psychiatric illness who are in need of structured daily activity to continue on their path to wellness.The Centers provide five hours of group treatment, Monday through Friday. Each individual decides if their needs are best suited by our new short-term three month program or our longer term program.The staff, consisting of Psychiatrists, a Psychiatric Registered Nurse, licensed clinical social workers, mental health professionals and a prevocational counselor, work hard every day to assess each individual's strengths, to give them hope and empower them to live meaningful and productive lives.
Remembering that "success" is different for everyone, the following are only two of hundreds of success stories regarding individuals who are treated in Vantage's Dumont Recovery Center.
K came to Vantage just over one year ago from a hospitalization lasting two months. She had significant problems with impulse control, anger and anxiety resulting in frequent outbursts where she would throw things and get into arguments with family. She had no friends. After a year at Vantage taking part in the Recovery Center and the supervised Residential Program she is now employed part time, in good control of her anger and anxiety, has several new friends, and is moving to a less supervised residential setting. K reports feeling happy for the first time in over 10 years and is looking forward to acquiring even more self reliance, job opportunities and pursuing her life goals as she starts her 2nd year with Vantage Health System.
J.S. came to the Dumont Recovery Center after a lengthy hospitalization for a suicide attempt. At first she paced incessantly and felt the need to walk around the outside of the building, having felt like a prisoner at the hospital. After having a successful medication intervention from her Vantage psychiatrist, and starting to have a trusting relationship with her case manager, she began to relax in the program and attend therapy groups. She was very shy and did not speak much in groups, but was able to open up in individual therapy.
J.S. was very motivated to go back to work, and resume her life before her suicidal episode. She participated in the workshop and became involved with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. She also attended dance classes in the community in an effort to stay in shape and meet new people. A little over a year later, with the help of Vantage's transitional employment counselor and her case manager, she was able to successfully get a job as a sales person in a department store at a near-by mall. She also became able to leave the transitional residence and move into an apartment in the community which she shares with another woman.
Now more than another year later, she is still working at the same department store, and living in the same apartment. She has new friends at work, and has achieved stability in the community. She is still in touch with her old friends, in contact with her family, and has successfully integrated her past life, her current situation, and her future goals.