SERVING INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES LIVING WITH MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS IN MIDDLESEX COUNTY SINCE 1968
Cities of Peace Illuminated and The Breathing Project Inspired an Artwork Honoring Gilead Community Services: In August of 2018, a group from Gilead’s Social Club accompanied Suzanne Gaskell, Board Member, on a field trip to Old Lyme. The highlight of the morning was the Cities of Peace Illuminated exhibition at Lyme Arts Academy. The power of the works was immediately experienced. A collective “Wow” and “Oh, how beautiful!” filled the otherwise quiet gallery, as the group took in the beauty of the collection of multilayered, gold illuminated paintings replete with cultural symbols, quotes and maps. Equally beautiful, was the belief in the transformative power of human creativity, to help heal trauma that made the work possible. Artist and visionary, Ellen Frank, directed and collaborated with students, scholars and artists from 33 countries to create a suite of paintings honoring cities imperiled by conflict.
The young artists who were trained by and participated in Cities of Peace Illuminated took its mission to heart. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic they reached out to one another to form an international leadership team; collectively they conceived The Breathing Project. Suzanne was honored to meet with the team on occasion and was inspired to create a painting for the project.
Dedicated to the Staff and Volunteers at Gilead Community Services whose selfless actions and compassion were exemplified as they worked to protect our most under served and vulnerable from Covid-19.
By mid-April 2020, the pandemic had rapidly spread in the tri-state region. The staff at Gilead Community Services, was stretched thin as 20 percent of its caregivers were in quarantine after exposure to colleagues who had contracted the coronavirus from infected clients.
Joe Crispino, an ACT team member was quick to offer support and hope to individuals living with a mental illness. He was also the first Covid positive case to be admitted to Middlesex Hospital. Within days of his admission, Joe’s condition worsened; twice he went into cardiac arrest and was resuscitated. Miraculously, on April 21, after nearly four weeks on a ventilator Joe was transferred from the hospital to a rehabilitation center were his long recovery continued. As a testament to Joe’s indomitable spirit and the culture at Gilead Community Services, he has returned to work on behalf of others. Hope for a better tomorrow realized through compassionate action, is embodied by the staff and volunteers at Gilead Community Services daily.
To learn more about the Cities of Peace Illuminated and The Breathing Project 2020 visit: https://www.citiesofpeace.org
Gilead named as Nonprofit of the Year by the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Feb. 2021: The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is an amazing and special business organization that serves as the voice of the business community in Middlesex County as well as many surrounding towns. Larry McHugh and his team run the strongest and most influential Chambers of Commerce in New England (and beyond!) and they are a trusted and valued partner to businesses of all sizes! Thank you to the amazing team at our Chamber who support our community in so many ways and who have been a great support to me over the last several years. We are grateful for the work they do to help make Middlesex County the greatest place to live and work in Connecticut!
Check out this wonderful article that highlight’s this year’s recipients of the Chamber’s small business awards, including Gilead Community Services!
Gilead Celebrates Juneteenth, June 19: The long history of discrimination, injustice and racism in our country are not in line with the Gilead’s mission. Issues of equality, human rights, respect and dignity are paramount to everything that Gilead is trying to accomplish as an organization. In the context of the sobering reality of inequality and injustice that continues to exist within our society, we want to encourage all of us to learn, grow and remain open to how we can contribute to the healing of our nation.
One of the ways we can take part in this process is to intentionally learn and listen. Gilead is proud to honor and celebrate Juneteenth (June 19, 2020) as the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Please join us in honoring this special day that recognizes and remembers the end of slavery while we also recognize and speak out against the continued inequality, injustice and racism that exists in our country.
Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.
One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with: “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.” The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America.
The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.
I want to continue to encourage all of us who may be participating in efforts to fight these injustices to remain safe and to have hope that our country will emerge from this with a better understanding of our country’s racist systems and use this knowledge to create a more equitable and just country that is more united as a result.
Stay safe and stay committed to what you know is right!
Gilead’s Response to Injustice, June 4, 2020: Issues of equality, human rights, respect and dignity are paramount to everything that Gilead is about and everything that we are trying to accomplish as an organization. Recent events and the long history of discrimination and injustice in our country are not in line with Gilead’s mission or the foundation of equality, equal opportunity and dignity that our organization was founded upon.
While we are appropriately appalled and outraged, I think that these events also call us to look inward and continue a process of self-evaluation to consider how we as individuals and as an organization can contribute to the solution that our society and our country collectively longs for. We must remain open, as an organization, to examine ourselves and ask the right questions to ensure that we are moving in the right direction and contributing to the healing that needs to take place all around us. Over the coming weeks and months, Gilead’s Leadership Team will be leading the agency through a period of self-evaluation and planning to consider the questions that need to be asked and the steps that need to be taken as in relates to the reality of inequality in our society. It is important to the entire Gilead Leadership Team that we continue to examine ways for us to lead our agency and impact the community around us that moves us toward healing and addressing the injustices that continue to plague our country, our state, our city and our spheres of influence.
In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Gilead has a long history of advocating for our staff and the people that we serve who have been marginalized in many different ways. Because of this, when injustice appears, it is expected that many of our employees and clients will engage in addressing this injustice. I want to encourage all of us who may be participating in efforts to fight these injustices to remain safe and to have hope that our country will emerge from this with a better understanding of our country’s racist systems and use this knowledge to create a more equitable and just country that is more united as a result.
Gilead Granted $50,000 for Mental Health Resource Center, June 8, 2020: The Cigna Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Gilead Community Services for the creation and operation of a Mental Health Resource Center (MHRC). The Center will provide an array of mental health services to people in need of help who need guidance when facing a mental health issue.
“This money will go a long way toward our goal of a centralized service for an individual or family facing a mental health crisis,” said Gilead CEO Dan Osborne. “Navigating the service system for mental health can be confusing and challenging. The Mental Health Resource Center will be a starting point and an ongoing resource for those people.”
There are 48 million U.S. adults living with mental illness and a full 60% don’t receive the services they need because of the unique needs of each individual and a complex service system.
Gilead’s mission is to empower personal growth, independence and recovery through improved mental health, physical well-being and community integration. This new service, a centralized, Mental Health Resource Center, staffed with a full-time Service Navigator, will serve as a breakthrough system to allow individuals unfamiliar with the system to find the help they need.
The Cigna Foundation awarded the grant because the MHRC provides a unique service that fulfills a need that has not been previously met.
“The health care system can be confusing and hard to navigate, so it’s absolutely essential that we try to make it easier for people to get connected to the care they need, especially people who are facing a mental health crisis. That’s why Gilead’s Mental Health Resource Center is so important and so deserving of the Cigna Foundation’s financial support,” said Wendy Sherry, president of Cigna’s Connecticut market.
The MHRC will provide various complimentary services, including case management, benefits counseling, family supports, stress reduction & wellness programs, educational events and trainings. Through outreach and engagement, Gilead hopes to impact at least 150 individuals in its first year and will use quality assurance and data management systems to measure our success.
The MHRC will expand Gilead’s reach to the broader community, helping more members overcome barriers and challenges, and improve their quality of life. Gilead envisions a future where a mental illness is as understood, and appropriately addressed, as any other chronic illness—free from stigma, surrounded by support and full of hope.
ART for SOCIAL CHANGE – Daniel Hand High School Partners with Gilead Community Services, March 2, 2020: Inspired by the work of Abby Carter, whose powerful portraits of patrons at the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, put a face on the struggles of the poor and homeless in Middletown, students at Daniel Hand High School in Madison began a portrait drawing project with the hopes of raising awareness and advocating legislative action for quality mental health care.
Thanks to Patti Burke, Gilead staff and clients graciously agreed to have their portraits drawn. The positive work that Gilead is doing was highlighted in class but, as the project evolved, discussions were had about the societal prevalence of mental illness and substance abuse; no one is immune. The conversation quickly turned to mental health and teens. Some students decided to put their face on the issue. The statistics are staggering; according to the National Institute of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all adolescents, age 13-18, will experience an anxiety disorder. Hospital admissions for suicidal teens doubled in the last decade. The National Education Association recently published an article that cited the following alarming data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: One in six high school students reported “seriously considering suicide” in 2017. That statistic included one in four girls and nearly half of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students.
While we have much work to do, to insure that quality mental health care is accessible to all, I’m encouraged that students are talking about the issue. Talking openly about mental illness removes the shame or embarrassment that prevents many from seeking help, for themselves or a loved one. The other lesson in this project is about the Power of Art to effect positive change.
Students are paying attention. Their conversations about social issues and the passion with which the students have engaged in this art project has reaffirmed my optimism about the future and the belief that “Art can change people and people change the world,” attributed to musician John Butler.
*Thank you to Board Member, Suzanne Gaskell for spearheading and coordinating this project!
Gilead Gladiators Success – August 2019. Congratulations to the Gilead Gladiators softball team on their recent win over New Haven, the strongest team in the league!
Tom Harrison, Gladiator Head Coach and ACT Engagement Specialist, gives us his post game report: “Gladiators started off with an early lead of 4-0 in the 1st inning. New Haven made a little come back with three runs in the 2nd and eventually took the lead in the 3rd inning. The Gladiators battled back and took the lead in the 5th, making it 9-8. New Haven had the bases loaded with one out but the Gladiators hung on with a game ending double play! We had a total of three double plays and one home run.”
The Gladiators generally play every Thursday in August and September. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org for game schedule and more information.
Gilead’s Social Club Celebrates PRIDE Month – June 28, 2019. In conjunction with the City of Middletown’s PRIDE parade on Saturday, June 22nd, Gilead coordinated with Melissa Cordner from True Colors CT, answered questions from clients and discussed topics such as: what LGBTQ stands for; expressing your sexuality, human and civil rights; and how to be an ally of people in the LGBTQ+ community. “The bottom line is to respect people and just be nice to each other,” she told the group.
Bill Urich, a member of the International PRIDE Movement and ACT Team Recovery Specialist Case Manager, talked about the history of the movement and why we celebrate PRIDE month. Bill provided us with a beautiful montage of posters and information that gave us a feeling for the entire movement (50-year anniversary on June 28!), and helped us understand the history of the LGBTQ+ persons internationally. Attendees enjoyed the presentation, along with lunch and rainbow cake, and ended the day posing under the flag that proudly hung from the Social Rehab Center!
Gilead Marches in Memorial Day Parade – May 27, 2019. Staff, clients, board members and volunteers came out to represent Gilead at Middletown’s Memorial Day parade. This was the second year Gilead marched in the parade. There were a lot of cheers of support along the route. Gilead felt truly loved!
Nonprofit Candidate Forum – September 27, 2018: Over 100 people attended this event that featured about 20 legislative candidates legislative candidates! This is by far the largest candidate/legislator turnout that we have ever had. Thank you to the event sponsors: MARC Community Resources, Kuhn Employment Opportunities, Middlesex Community College and Keep the Promise Coalition for their generous contribution to our event breakfast! We wish everyone the best of luck in the upcoming elections and encourage all constituents to register to vote! Register here: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do
A Visit from Melissa Ziobron – August 2018: Melissa Ziobron, State Senate Candidate had a wonderful visit with at the Juniper Program! She came and spent some quality time at the program and was able to take a tour of this beautiful home and meet all of the wonderful staff and program participants that were there during the tour.
Some of the highlights from the tour included:
• Admiration of the client artwork displayed throughout the house (particularly the beautiful bird art!)
• A rich discussion about the value of nonprofits to the community and the need for consideration of continued conversions from State to Private programming
• A detailed conversation about the impact of the 1% funding increase to all nonprofit providers that she fought for last year, including our appreciation for her advocacy and some of the challenges that we are experiencing on the implementation side.
• Advocacy for continued work to adequately fund non-profit agencies to support all of the great work that we do in the community and to address the chronic underfunding that plagues non-profits throughout the state and threatens our missions!
• Quality time and photo opportunities with a couple of the program participants in the home who were excited to show off their bedrooms and living space!
Thank you to the staff at Juniper and the program participants for welcoming Representative Ziobron into their program this morning and for being such gracious and warm hosts. The loving and caring environment of Gilead was on full display this morning and it was so wonderful that Melissa was able to see that. And a special thank you to Representative Ziobron for coming out to our programs and spending time to see what Gilead means to the community! She commented on how caring the staff were and recognized that agencies like Gilead are successful because of how focused and dedicated our staff are to our mission. Thank you all for the wonderful work that you do every day and thank again to Juniper for providing a positive and welcoming environment.
CT State Senator Suzio Visits Gilead – August 2018: Senator Len Suzio stopped by and spent some time with the ACT, Outpatient Clinic and WISE Programs. We were very appreciative that he could take the time to meet with our Baldwin Center staff and tour the OPC and ACT office spaces to see the great outpatient services that are being provided!
A special thank you to Senator Suzio for coming out to our programs and spending time to see what Gilead means to the community! He has shared on numerous occasions how impressed he has been with the staff and services at Gilead!
Exciting Survey Results – June 2018: Gilead Client’s Overall Average Satisfaction this year was 86% agency-wide – the highest level of satisfaction in five years! This is the fourth year in a row total overall satisfaction has increased. The highest levels of satisfaction, agency-wide, was in the areas of: Access; Participation in Treatment; Quality & Appropriateness; Satisfaction with Services; and Respecting Wishes with Family Involvement – all with an 89% to 91% satisfaction level. 96% of clients reported that “staff here believes that I can grow, change and recover.” 90% of clients deal more effectively with their daily problems and 85% feel that the quality of their lives is better this year than it was last year. Gilead is proud and thankful to all our staff for the great work they do every day and to all the clients that work hard day in and day out to improve their lives!
Liberty Bell Award – May 2018: Congratulations to our very own Gary Wallace, who was recognized by the Connecticut Bar Association for his exceptional work as a Middletown Police Officer. He was presented with the Liberty Bell Award for his presence as an outstanding representation of the Connecticut law and justice system. This award is given to an individual in a legal profession, who is not a lawyer, and is committed to bolstering relationships between the community and other law and justice officials. In addition to being a valued member of the Gilead Board of Directors, Gary is involved with a number of other local organizations and initiatives.
Gilead spends Hill Day at the Capitol – April 2018: Gilead CEO Dan Osborne visited Washington D.C. last week to advocate for non-profits and mental health organizations. Dan and 12 colleagues from the CT Nonprofit Alliance were participating in “Hill Day,” an advocacy event coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health. On Hill Day, leaders from the state level meet with Federal Delegation to communicate legislative priorities. Dan reported, “This year, I was fortunate to be able to meet with Connecticut’s Federal Delegation including multiple staff members as well as legislators (including Representative Joe Courtney, pictured).”A take-away from Hill Day that Dan would like all of us to reflect on is the importance of being an advocate. “While political advocacy can often feel like a daunting task,” he says, “it is rewarding to see the change that all of us can make when we take steps to advocate for what we believe in. This year, we learned that several of Connecticut’s leaders in Washington have co-sponsored bills that we urged them to get involved in last year when we attended Hill Day, 2017! Based on support from the Connecticut delegation, these bills now have the chance to move forward and generate additional funding and favorable legislation that will help us significantly back home in CT.”
Gilead appreciates the partnership we have with Genoa Healthcare! Check out their new branding video to learn more about all the services they offer.
Mental health issues affect everyone, not just those struggling with these challenges. Just ask Cathy and Jim Probolus of Portland, CT. The Probolus’s are long-time supporters of and volunteers for Gilead. When their nephew, Daniel Howe, passed away, they established the Daniel G. Howe Memorial Fund for Gilead Community Services. This endowed fund will help Gilead meet the needs of our clients and their families for years to come and honors the life’s work of an inspiring individual. Read more.
Gilead and Oak Hill unite to build a new model of care – November 7, 2016. Oak Hill and Gilead Community Services are pleased to announce a new affiliation, which brings together two strong organizations with an innovative vision. Gilead, a leading regional private provider of mental health services, is joining forces with Oak Hill, the state’s largest private provider of services for people with disabilities. Recognizing that many individuals in both organizations live with both mental health needs and physical disabilities, Gilead and Oak Hill will work to build a new model of integrated care that meets the unique needs of each individual served. Read more.
Congratulations to Gilead Staff on a successful CARF Survey – October 2016. We are extremely pleased to announce that Gilead is expecting a full 3-year accreditation based on a successful CARF survey that concluded on October 14th. During the review, CARF shared with us that “visiting Gilead was a very encouraging experience.” They also shared that, “The culture of person centered care was evident throughout the organization. Staff treat clients with respect, dignity and believe in their ability to improve.” Please join us in congratulating our amazing staff who have dedicated themselves to Gilead’s mission and the high quality services that we provide.
Community Citizen Excellence – May 2016. Gilead was honored to present our Community Citizen Excellence Award to Laura Janik and Linda DeLillo, sisters of long-time Community Apartment Program (SCAP) resident, John. Loved by all for his generosity and good spirits, John’s family grew to be like a family to others who lived at SCAP, as well as staff. Sadly, both John and his father passed away within months of each other. Though grief stricken, Linda and Laura continued to show care and concern for the clients and staff. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in May, family and friends gathered under the pergola donated by Laura and Linda to celebrate John’s life. In addition, the family donated funds for a rocking chair in memory of another client that had recently passed away. With their unflagging compassion and commitment, Laura and Linda embody Gilead’s mission of Improving Lives and Building Futures.
Chester Elementary’s Kindness – Feb. 25, 2015. Gateway Community Treatment Team in Chester welcomed students from Chester Elementary School’s Interact Club Junior/Student Council recently when they delivered items for the clients. The students collected several bins at school for Gateway club members. Clients and students enjoy cookies and juice before the bus takes them back to school. Thank you Chester Elementary School for your kindness and generosity!
Voices in the Dark – May 20, 2015. New network aids perceptual and auditory hallucination sufferers. Nathan started hearing voices when he was 16. Alan’s began much earlier, when he was 6, and Sandy’s started after a psychotic breakdown as a young adult.
Get inspired! There are so many ways to get involved with Gilead.
We invite you to participate in one or more of our annual events. Thank you to all the individuals and businesses that support our mission throughout the year.
Major Donor Event
Every summer Gilead recognizes our Major Donors who are committed to improving lives and building futures of the people we serve with this special event. For more information, click here.
Each May, stakeholders step forward and offer a dollar-for-dollar match of all donations we receive during the month of May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Your donation made during the month of May and June will be doubled! For more information, click here.
Quizine for a Cause
Quizine is a night of cuisine, trivia, and fundraising. Guests begin the evening with dinner at a local home or restaurant and then gather all together at Wesleyan University for client stories, homemade desserts, wine and beer tasting, teacup raffle, live auction, and trivia quizzes. To join in the fun, click here.
Gilead’s need for your support remains steady, year-to-year, because the needs of the individuals we treat are constant and enduring. For that reason, every December we make a special appeal to ensure client needs are met.
Gilead Community Services has so many wonderful stories to tell.
Since 1968, Gilead Community Services has provided housing, support services and clinical treatment for individuals with mental illness throughout Middlesex County. We provide services that foster recovery including general psychiatry and therapy for individuals and families as well as more intensive case management and residential programs.
Interested in scheduling an interview or learning more about Gilead Community Services, contact:
Dan Osborne, CEO
Phone at 860-343-5300, ext. 3412.