• Mary Lindqvist

We Are Who We Are and That's Okay!

Every one of us, in our own way, wants a place where we feel we belong. A place we are comfortable and valued and we can contribute our thoughts and ideas without judgement or repercussion. For someone in recovery from a mental health or substance abuse disorder, finding that place can be very difficult. The shame and stigma that often accompanies those disorders can be overwhelming.

Bridges Community Center, located at 5718-7th Avenue, opens its doors to all who want and need support. A member-run Peer to Peer support center, Bridges offers support and recreational groups daily. Everyone who attends Bridges is considered a “member” meaning they have identified themselves as someone in recovery. Even the paid staff are members – no hierarchy there. The members make the rules and every week, at the Member Meeting, they make sure the rules are being followed. Bridges offers over 100 different groups per month in addition to at least one monthly fun outing. They also serve lunch every day but to get the free lunch one must be an active member. Active membership is easy – attend one group per week and perform one chore to help keep the place clean. Of course, there is no tolerance for drugs or alcohol at Bridges either.

All of the support is peer to peer. Most staff are trained Peer Support Specialists and others are Peer Mentors. All groups are facilitated by peers, some by the members who volunteer. These volunteer facilitators take their own time to research and compile group material to keep the groups vital and lively. Bridges members are active in the downtown neighborhood too! They volunteered for the downtown clean-up and, recently, had a fundraiser luncheon and personally delivered lunch to some downtown businesses. They also go as a group to volunteer at the Shalom Center to help give back! The members of Bridges not only belong at Bridges but they belong to the community of Kenosha and they want to show everyone that people in recovery are just like everyone else. They’re your friends, relatives and neighbors!

Bridges Community Center is funded by the Kenosha County Division of Aging and Disabilities and receives part-time administration assistance from Kenosha Human Development Services. Bridges maintains its own Board of Directors. Bridges is open Monday through Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Stop in and our members will be happy to show you around!

#speakout #stigma #abuse

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