PROVIDENCE PLACE THIRD ANNIVERSARY – APRIL 2019
Providence Place, a monthly drop-in center for persons with mental health issues and their family members, is about to celebrate its third anniversary. Since this partnership between NAMI and Providence United Methodist Church began in April, 2016, over 1,000 individuals have enjoyed a free lunch, an opportunity for socialization, and a variety of cultural programs.
PUMC provides a large meeting area in the Mission Center on the first Saturday of every month, and various Sunday School classes and women’s circles rotate to prepare or purchase and serve lunch. Outside groups, such as the Queen City Jack and Jill Club, have also reached out to make Providence Place one of their service projects by bringing in a lunch.
For the first two years, a variety of programs were presented, including musical groups, dancers, crafts, artists and writers. Last year Providence Place received a grant from Cardinal Innovations to offer an ongoing Art and Writing Workshop for 2019. This has attracted adults from all ages and walks of life who appreciate the therapeutic value of using visual arts and the written word as a form of expression and an emotional outlet. A small group of the artists have formed an art support group that also meets in the Mission Center once a week. At our Saturday gatherings, we continue to offer bingo and other board games for those who enjoy this form of social interaction.
An Advisory Board comprised of regularly attending participants meets each month to offer valuable input and assure that the program speaks to the needs of this population. This group recently suggested and developed an in-depth discussion of Bessel Van der Kolk’s book, The Body Keeps the Score at one of our gatherings.
Providence Place has made a positive social and emotional impact on hundreds of people over the past three years, and that includes those of us who facilitate the program. We delight in seeing the familiar faces, some of whom have nearly perfect attendance since our inception. We have shared our personal stories, and laughed and cried together. Our hearts leap when someone from Family to Family or a support group has made a connection that leads them in our direction. We are thrilled when a group like Piedmont Music Therapy walks in and asks to partner with us to present a drum circle to the greater community.
NAMI Charlotte’s mission is to protect the dignity and improve the quality of life of persons and their families living with mental health conditions through advocacy, education, and support. If you drop into Providence Place (2810 Providence Road/Mission Center) at noon on the first Saturday of any month, you will see this mission statement in action.
Click here to read a feature article about PROVIDENCE PLACE in “The Voice,” Providence United Methodist Church’s newsletter. PROVIDENCE PLACE was made possible by a partnership between PUMC and NAMI.
PROVIDENCE PLACE IS BORN – APRIL 2016
In April 2016, NAMI-Charlotte partnered with Providence United Methodist Church (PUMC) to launch a drop-in center for persons with mental health challenges. On the first Saturday of every month (including holiday weekends), volunteers from both organizations gather in the lower-level Mission Center from noon to 2:30 to serve a meal and provide an opportunity for socialization and cultural enrichment to persons with lived experience and their family members.
The center, known as Providence Place, averages approximately 35-40 participants each month. Shortly after signing in and receiving a nametag, everyone who is able takes part in an ice-breaker activity. Lunch is served by volunteers who then enjoy sitting down with the participants and getting to know them. Following lunch there will be a program that might include music, art, crafts, writing, exercise, dance, games or other enriching interactive activities. Sometimes bingo is the main attraction, and it is always available for those who love to play it.
Too often, real or perceived social isolation occurs as a result of mental illness. Recent studies are beginning to provide data showing that regular and focused social interaction engenders feelings of self-control and self-confidence, reduces social isolation, and leads to better physical and mental health. We at Providence Place feel encouraged by these research findings, as well as the results we see with our own eyes, as persons with lived experience and their families begin putting our gathering on their social calendars. Drop in and join us whether you are a person with lived experience, a family member, a volunteer, or an advocate. It’s all free and absolutely good for your mental health!
If you have questions about Providence Place, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.