Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jewish Group Home for Adults with Mental Illness Holds Open House

Recent tragedies in this country, such as the Newtown school shooting, have sparked critical conversations about how society and healthcare deals with mental illness. In the 21st century, as the US becomes more progressive and sensitive to its populations uniqueness, the stigma surrounding mental illness continues to prevent people, from loving mothers to active-duty soldiers, from seeking treatment. Ignoring mental health needs has all too often resulted in tragedy for too many families. A grassroots San Diego effort is seeking to help rectify these issues, to dispel myths and stigma, and to provide a safe and loving environment for adults with mental illness through the creation of Chesed Home, Home of “Loving Kindness.”

After years of fundraising and advocacy, Chesed Home is finally approaching its goal. With the support of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County’s Innovation Grants, Chesed Home was able to expedite its processes, finding an appropriate space in Escondido and signing a lease. On Wednesday, January 23, Chesed Home held its first Open House, welcoming community members from across San Diego to see the facility that their dedication and support has built.

Dozens of people streamed in and out of the open house, taking tours of the facility with Chesed Home leadership, including board president Fern Siegel, who noted that they could not have accomplished so much without Federation’s support. Jewish art and ritual objects were scattered around the home, emphasizing that this group home, while open to any individual from any background, will be built on Jewish values.
Grassroots organizer and advisory board member Devorah Shore was inspired to action after seeing the below standard facilities and programs her own son had to settle for, and she will now also serve as a Volunteer Coordinator. She explained that “the essence of the home will be uplifted by the quality and quantity of Jewish volunteers who will surround the home with positive caring and love.”  She added that Chesed Home is obtaining proper licensing and searching for a Program Director before a projected opening in 1-2 months. Once open, residents will be able to use their monthly subsidies from government agencies to help pay the necessary fees. Even with some additional private funds required, the facility will cost a half of what similar services would, thanks to the support Chesed Home has received from Federation and numerous donors. “We want this to be a place of pride…a legacy parents can leave once they have passed on,” Devorah added.

The Escondido facility was originally built to be a group home, and Chesed Home has taken full advantage of its spacious and multiple rooms. The facility will support, nurture, and care for residents’ minds, bodies, and spirits through technology, nutritious meals, exercise, gardening, and art, in addition to traditional treatment methods. The home is fully equipped with a sparkling new vegetarian kitchen where residents will cook nutritious meals using food they grow in their own garden. A fitness room will have stationary bikes, yoga mats, and other health equipment, and residents will have full use of a television and computers. Local public transportation, a future home vehicle, and a walkable neighborhood will provide independence and flexibility in a structured environment.  
Executive Board member Dana Glasser noted that Chesed Home will be “a home away from home and a family to rely on and trust” for its residents. “People will feel safe and loved and cared for.”

“There is an amazing, diverse Jewish community here in San Diego,” explained Devorah, “Everyone has offered to come help and volunteer, and we are thrilled and so grateful. We are grateful to Federation for its financial backing and marketing and fundraising workshops, and we are thankful to our donors. Every bit makes a big difference.”
Chesed Home will hold a second Open House on Sunday, January 27 at 11:00am and it is located at 402 West Lincoln Avenue, Escondido, CA 92026. They invite the entire community to visit and see what their love and support has built. 


Post a Comment