Drop-In Center Celebrates Grand Opening

Drop-In Center Celebrates Grand Opening

C4’s Drop-In Center celebrated its grand opening Thursday with speeches from Illinois Secretary of Human Services Michelle Saddler, C4 chief executive Eileen Durkin and moving testimonies from consumers who use the Center.

                Saddler praised the center as a wonderful, innovative idea “that helps people with severe mental illness gain social and life skills and transition from institutional to more community-like  settings."

                “I’m thrilled to be part of this celebration here today that shows how much we’re caring for our neighbors,” Saddler observed. “This center promotes personal growth, responsibility and independence.”

C4 is among several agencies statewide selected to help move 4,500 adults with mental illness from nursing homes into community settings over the next five years.  The Drop-In Center is part of that effort.

Saddler praised C4 for its leadership on mental health issues and thanked CEO Eileen Durkin for “teaching me about the mental health needs of our state's people.”

                Besides Saddler, other dignitaries in attendance were State Rep. Greg Harris, Dan Burke from Governor Quinn’s office, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, and representatives from the Office of US Rep. Jan Schakovsky and Ald. Joe Moore’s office.

                The most moving testimony came from several of the more than 300 people who use the center weekly, which has a computer bank and offers consumer-led groups on writing, spirituality, a book club, and art groups.  

A consumer named Adriana talked about how the importance of peer support that the center offers.

“You see the connection between people from all walks of life here,” she said. “YOU get the motivation to keep going.”

Perhaps the most dramatic testimony came from a middle-aged woman named Tammy, who credited Drop-In center coordinators Herb Cobbs and Troy Butler with “saving her life.”

“This is a wonderful place for people to come who are between the rocks,” she said. “If it weren’t for the drop-in center, I might not be here today to tell my story.”

Cobbs returned the compliment, praising the consumers as the driving force behind the Center.

“Everything you see here today was inspired by consumers,” he said.