Community Solutions celebrates strength, commitment, courage and dedication

Community Solutions celebrates strength, commitment, courage and dedication

Santa Clara County Mental Health Director Dr. Nancy Pena, who
has dedicated the past three decades to advocating for children and
adults facing mental health issues, and Frank Avelar, one of the
people who has faced those issues in his life, will be recognized
for their dedication and courage at Community Solutions seventh
annual

Helping Hands and Healing Hearts

award luncheon Friday.
Santa Clara County Mental Health Director Dr. Nancy Pena, who has dedicated the past three decades to advocating for children and adults facing mental health issues, and Frank Avelar, one of the people who has faced those issues in his life, will be recognized for their dedication and courage at Community Solutions seventh annual “Helping Hands and Healing Hearts” award luncheon Friday.

The heartwarming event honors a community leader who champions the potential of all individuals, and also celebrates a former Community Solutions client who has triumphed over personal adversity. Proceeds from the event support Community Solutions ongoing human service and mental health programs for South County, South San Jose and parts of San Benito County.

The luncheon will be held 11:15 -1:30 p.m., Friday, at Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. Tickets are $55 and available until Thursday from Lisa DeSilva, (408) 776-6212, [email protected]

“Each year, it is our honor to recognize two individuals who embody our agency’s mission of creating opportunities and changing lives,” said Erin O’Brien, CEO, Community Solutions. “Both Nancy and Frank are truly worthy of being honored,”

Pena has spent her entire career improving services for, and treatment of, individuals who are challenged by mental health issues.

“Nancy’s commitment to social justice and her tireless efforts to improve the quality of mental health services in our county and beyond make her a very deserving recipient of the 2010 Helping Hand award,” said O’Brien.

Avelar is one of the people who has benefited from Dr. Pena’s efforts. With a history of depression and substance abuse, Avelar ended up in the criminal justice system in 2003. After several unsuccessful attempts at treatment, he found the support and services he needed at Community Solutions. He has now been clean and sober for more than three years. Not only has he discovered a new, healthier life for himself but he has also found a way to give back. He now works as a paid intern, instructing classes for Community Solutions’ Drinking Drivers Program. He is helping others move beyond their addiction for themselves and for the safety and good of others.

According to O’Brien, Avelar is an example of how Community Solutions works in partnership with their clients.

“It is our job to help our clients realize the opportunities that await them. But they are the ones that make the changes in their lives. Our donors invest in us and we, in turn, invest in our clients. Frank is just one example of how that investment benefits not just the individuals who are served, but our whole community.”

Community Solutions is the most comprehensive nonprofit human services and mental health agency in South County. The agency offers counseling services, prevention, education, crisis intervention and housing programs for families, children and individuals. Community Solutions works in partnership with community-based organizations, law enforcement, local schools and county health and human service providers. Last year the agency helped more than 5,000 people make positive changes and become more self-reliant.

Details: www.communitysolutions.org or call 408-779-2113.

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