Saturday, April 30, 2011

We Are for Real, and Taking Care of Business!

Here is a summary of what the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) Colorado state organization has been doing and/or accomplished since Feb. 1, 2010:

1. In February of 2010 we secured office space at the Pikes Peak Partnership, 1352 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80909. We also purchased liability insurance.
2. In March, 2010 we had our first meeting of the Board of Directors for the year.
3. Plans were made to begin offering the Pathways to Recovery class beginning in June 2010.
4. The Board directed the President (now called Chair) who also serves as the Executive Director, to find income sources besides donations from board members to meet agency expenses. Expenses at that time were $350 per month.
5. Janet Karnes passed on info about the Chinook Fund, which provides seed money to new nonprofits who do not have their 501 (c)3 status yet.
6. Application for a grant was made to the Chinook Fund, and a $2,000 grant was awarded in June.
7. Steve Bell, Executive Director, made a site visit to encourage and counsel with the leaders of DBSA Boulder and DBSA Longmont. Meetings were productive and led to a joint facilitator training meeting in June. As a result of the training, each chapter now has two additional facilitators for their support groups. Charles Sakai assisted.
8. First Pathways 8-week class for job-seekers is conducted. Ten enrolled, 5 graduated (attended at least 6 out of 8 sessions and completed homework). Three members of the class secured full- or part-time employment.
9. Board meeting in Alamosa, July 2010. By-Laws revised.
10. Second Class for Pathways was held in the fall of 2010. Eight enrolled, four graduated, including Doreen Daily, a resource advocate (peer specialist) with MHA-Pikes Peak Region. She is now a Pathways Facilitator. The fall class was led by Charles Sakai.
11. Steve Bell gave presentations on the nature of mood disorders to Bayaud Enterprises in Denver, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, a psychology class at Colorado Technical University, and Newman University at the invitation of the instructors, and/or program directors.
12. Fall 2010 - preparation of tax-exempt application began in earnest in September.
13. Application for 501 (c)3 status completed and submitted on January 2, 2011. Approval and notice received from IRS six weeks later.
14. January 2011 - Third Pathways series began. Completed last week of February. As with the end of each class, a graduation luncheon or potluck was done. Doreen Daily facilitated this session and arranged for a luncheon at the Black-Eyed Pea restaurant.
15. Beginning in late January, phone calls or e-mail contacts from consumers and family members began coming in at a rate of one or two a day. Demand for new support groups outside of Colorado Springs continues to grow. Local consumers are referred to DBSA Colorado Springs chapter.
16. Meetings were held with peers from Denver and Pueblo who want to start new support groups, one in each city to begin with. This would fill the need for peers and family members looking for support groups in those communities.
17. In February 2011 George Pollard recruited Cathy Smith to do clerical and administrative work in the office once or twice a week. George will facilitate the spring Pathways class.
18. Purchased our first used computer for $50, and installed it in our office at the Pikes Peak Partnership. We are now looking for a printer, and may acquire one soon.
19. DBSA Colorado - BrainStorm Career Services now has 5 volunteers (including an Executive Director. The spring Board meeting was held on Saturday, April 30, 2010 at Pikes Peak Partnership. Steve Bell was re-elected as Chair/Executive Director, George Pollard remains as Vice Chair and volunteered to be an acting internal auditor, and Charles Sakai was elected as Secretary and board member. The current board agreed to remain until the end of this year.


DBSA Colorado State:

1. Establish 4 new support groups outside of Colorado Springs - 2 already in the works.
2. Provide relevant information and referrals to 200 incoming contacts.
3. Conduct at least 2 leadership training workshops for existing chapters.

BrainStorm Career Services;

1. Conduct 4 Pathways to Recovery classes.
2. Assist at least 20 Pathways students in securing meaningful and sustainable employment OR getting enrolled in formal education to further their career goals. Seventy percent of these students would still be on the job or attending school after 6 months.
3. Conduct at least 3 vocational rehabilitation consultations or workshops with large employers in El Paso County [Colorado] to educate them about hiring persons with psychiatric disabilities.

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