Fellowship Health Resources celebrates opening of new Peer Center

Published 09/21/2011
ACE Center
Surrounding by staff, board, and community members, FHR President/CEO Joe Dziobek cuts the ribbon to official open the new A.C.E. Center.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony presents Stein Highway "Mural of Hope" to the community

Seaford, DE - September 21, 2011 - Fellowship Health Resources, Inc. (FHR) had a lot to celebrate as FHR President/CEO Joe Dziobek cut the ribbon to officially open the new Acceptance, Change, and Empowerment (A.C.E.) Center at 547 Bradford Street on Thursday, September 15.

MuralThe A.C.E. Center provides FHR members a place to socialize, engage in therapeutic groups, find resources, and explore training opportunities. Director of Peer Services John McNamara said that he could not be any happier with the creation of this program. “Peers are providing peer support, which is so significant in an individual’s journey to recovery,” he said. “The A.C.E. Center promotes acceptance, cultivates change, and instills empowerment in those who are living with mental illness and substance abuse diagnosis.”

“The Peer Center appeals to everyone. If you just want to drop in and hang out, watch TV, play Wii, or grab a snack, you can. That’s the beautiful part about it; all the different resources and components are there for you,” said FHR Chief Operating Officer Rich Graziano. “FHR members are interacting with one another and the community, and the community is embracing them.”

Contractors renovated former NAMI-owned, FHR-rented property, creating the brand new A.C.E. Center and its supported transitional housing component. Director of Program Services, Laura Marvel, said the renovation process inspired members to begin brainstorming ideas for the highway bridge underpass that is adjacent to the FHR property.

John Donato“The pillars under the bridge were covered in graffiti. The landscape wasn’t taken care of and it just wasn’t a nice view from our brand new A.C.E. Center,” Marvel said. “So we began thinking of ways to clean it up. We’ve been incorporating Studio 35 (FHR’s diverse arts and music recovery program) ideas into our services and I knew that local artist, John Donato, would be the perfect person to ask for help in creating an underpass mural. I saw some of the work he did at an art workshop that I took my daughters to; he’s inspiring, creative, and imaginative, and I knew that he sees art as something that can be taught.”

Donato created a basic design for the mural, allowing those who were interested to “fill in” the rest. “I didn’t have an exact idea of how this would turn out,” he said. “I knew I’d outline some birds and fish, but I had no idea of the colors people would use or how personal and fun the finished mural would turn out.”

Local radio station, Eagle 97.7 FM, covered the ribbon-cutting festivities live on location. DE Regional Director Ken Donovan was just one of the many FHR staff members who went live on-air. “Everyone has put so much time and effort into this mural. The teamwork and perseverance that we saw over the past few days is what this peer center is all about,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that this mural was completed start to finish in less than a week.”

Other local media, such as WBOC-TV and the Seaford Star, were on location to cover the event. FHR Board Member Michela Coffaro, Psy. D., ACSW, joined President/CEO Joe Dziobek for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of the work going on in FHR programs throughout Sussex County,” Dziobek said. “This mural is outstanding. We’ve already talked to John Donato, and we’re planning on extending the mural to cover the entire underpass of the bridge. The mural’s presence adjacent to the A.C.E. Center sends a strong message of community support for the Center and its members. It’s wonderful to see passersby stop to take a closer look at the mural. The entire Seaford community should be proud of the work going on here today.”

For more information about the A.C.E. Center and its services, contact DE Regional Director Ken Donovan at 302-934-1861.

Watch the video here!