Summer Bash - Celebrating recovery! The blue skies and shiny green leaves dancing to the rhythm of the friendly summer breeze were the perfect background for the many smiling faces at Bayland Park. The team of volunteers welcomed and greeted everyone at the Summer Bash, a celebration of recovery. Clients who receive mental health services at the Southwest Community Service Center were invited to the festival-like event to celebrate together the progress they have made and the challenges they have overcome. Employees from three service units, Children and Adolescents, Adult Mental Health and Juvenile Justice, teamed up to organize games, food, information sharing and encouragement for everyone who participated. Tiffanie Williams-Brooks is the Practice Manager of Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She expressed joy seeing that the vision of the event was accomplished. “The Summer Bash provided an opportunity for our families to come together with other families who have experienced mental illness with a family member,” Tiffanie said. “When there is a common bond, there is more cohesiveness and support.” This unique interaction outside of the clinic setting also proved meaningful to the employees who provide services to the families. Michelle Andrews was one of the event organizers. She is a Peer Educator for Adult Mental Health Services under the leadership of Practice Manager, Dr. Dionne Hill. “Through the Summer Bash festivities we wanted to show clients and families that the difficulties and challenges they face should be celebrated and that they should be praised as individuals overcoming challenges. It should be seen as a strength.” “Families were smiling, adults were playing Apple at the table communicating and laughing, children with expressions of laughter playing games and one teenage boy said to his mother ‘Mom thank you for bringing me here I’m having fun!’ He hugged her. I saw adults enjoy play and laughter. Everywhere I turned, there were smiles,” Michelle said. Dr. Ee’a Jones is the Practice Manager of the Juvenile Justice Program. At the event she shared about Project Semicolon, which helps raise awareness about mental health recovery. “I provided the Project Semicolon tattoos denoting that a person’s journey is not over because they have a mental illness,” Dr. Jones said. The positive reactions from the families who participated encouraged event organizers to plan a Summer Bash festivity for 2017. “Our services transcend the clinic. We want our families to know and feel that we care about them,” Tiffanie said.