Holiday donations can help Colorado West help others |

Holiday donations can help Colorado West help others

Sometimes it’s the little things that can mean a lot for people who benefit from the programs provided with the help of Colorado West Regional Mental Health.It could be a warm jacket for a recovering substance abuser, a toy that can help parents play with their child in a better way, or a place for the mentally ill to gather for lunch or enjoy some animal companionship. All of these are needs that Colorado West and its associated programs could better provide thanks to people who give to the second annual Holiday Fund drive.The drive is sponsored by the Post Independent, The Citizen Telegram in Rifle, The Valley Journal in Carbondale and the Two Rivers Community Foundation.Following are four programs for which Colorado West and related programs have requested funding:n The Transitional Living Program at the Colorado West Recovery Center in downtown Glenwood Springs is asking for $750 to buy gifts and necessary items.The 97-day, live-in program is a kind of halfway house for substance abusers.The clients, about 100 a year, consist of people such as repeat drunken driving offenders who have lost everything due to their substance abuse and need to start over, said Stacey Linman, administrative supervisor for Colorado West Recovery Center. Many are there because of a court order, and perhaps 40 percent ask to be admitted.”They’re trying to get their lives back on track. It has to be pretty severe for them to come in,” Linman said.Donations could help the program provide winter clothing, day planners, work boots and other necessities.”These are people from all spectrums, every social class, where unfortunately substance abuse has gotten the better of them, where they’re trying to get back on track and be productive citizens,” Linman said.n Colorado West Counseling Services is asking for $600 for therapeutic supplies for its Filial Therapy Program, which serves families with children from 3 to 10 years old. For needy families, the money will help cover the $75 cost for buying supplies, generally consisting of toys.The program involves working with parents to teach them how to play therapeutically with their children. It helps parents better understand their child’s play and participate in their play in a way that allows children to express themselves, said Jackie Skramstad, program coordinator for mental health services with Colorado West.Children tend to express themselves more through play than words, and the program helps parents understand what a child is communicating, Skramstad said.She said the program can help any child, but most parents become involved because they are struggling with a child with behavioral difficulties, or may not be sure how to set limits with their children.The program is very structured, and toys are used that help children express their feelings, learn to cooperate, use their imaginations, and achieve other goals. Toys can be as wide-ranging as puppets, baby bottles, dinosaurs, games, and paint and crayons.n The Hopeful Heart Clubhouse in Rifle is a separate nonprofit organization funded by the Colorado West Mental Health Center. It is requesting $2,500 to finish a basement for use as offices at a building it uses for lunches, counseling and education of mental health clients in Rifle.The Hopeful Heart Clubhouse provides a place for people with mental illnesses to gather, fight isolation, and get involved in outings such as picnicking, movie-watching and bowling.The organization also provides lunches for $1.50, or for free if the clients do some work in exchange.It serves some 20-25 people in Garfield County, helping them better function in society. It also helps the public to understand that mental illness is not disabling, nor are the mentally ill a threat to others.n Rainbow’s End uses therapy horses to help the mentally ill deal with trust issues and build self-esteem. It is asking for $2,000 that could pay for such things as a round pen, winter hay, and farrier and veterinarian fees.The program technically is called equine assistance psychotherapy. The therapy doesn’t come from riding the horses, but instead from merely working with them.”It’s nothing more than grooming the horse, feeding the horse, putting a halter on it, whatever the case may be,” said Barbara Watson, who also is president of the Hopeful Heart Clubhouse.”I find it’s great with the horses because they’re so big and it feels so good when you can connect with them,” she said.”It’s awesome. It’s hard to convince people who don’t like horses but it really is.”The program has two horses now, and is still in the process of being developed. Colorado West has a similar program in Frisco.”I haven’t gotten up to full-bore yet because it takes money to do it,” Watson said.Renowned Parachute horse trainer John Lyons has donated tapes toward the program, she said.”He’s been real helpful.”She said the program now is based on Morrisania Mesa near Parachute. Her dream is that one day it can operate out of an enclosed arena or barn.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext.

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