The Wildflower Alliance supports healing and empowerment for our broader communities and people who have been impacted by psychiatric diagnosis, trauma, extreme states, homelessness, problems with substances and other life-interrupting challenges.
We do this through:
* Peer-to-peer support & genuine human relationships
* Alternative Healing Practices
* Learning Opportunities
Essential to our work is recognizing and undoing systemic injustices such as racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, transmisogyny, and psychiatric oppression.
Who We Are
This community is made up of people whose experiences include:
- Extreme emotional distress
- Psychiatric diagnoses
- Surviving Trauma
- Addictions or complications with drugs (prescribed and otherwise)
- Discrimination based on psychiatric labels, race, gender, ability, size, and more
- A desire to find healing and growth for any part of their lives
- And allies or who have genuine interest in learning and/or adding to the community
We approach our mission by:
- Offering trauma sensitive peer-to-peer supports
- Fostering mutuality and connection building
- Creating opportunities for learning and sharing of ideas
- Advocating for change at individual and community levels
- Developing regional and national networks
The vision of the Wildflower Alliance was built upon years of advocacy by people both locally and nationally who have experienced psychiatric diagnoses, extreme states, trauma, oppression and a variety of other challenges. Together, they argued that peer supports should be valued monetarily and funded throughout Massachusetts. In 2005, the Transformation Center supported people in the local area to form the Guiding Council of Western Mass (GCOW).
GCOW was made up entirely of individuals who had ‘been there,’ who worked and/or lived in Western Mass and who were interested in shaping the vision of what would be known as the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC). GCOW members worked together for over a year to develop a mission statement, core values and a structure for the RLC in their region. When the Department of Mental Health released the RLC call for grant proposals in December of 2006, GCOW took leadership in developing a grant proposal and voted to join with the Western Mass Training Consortium as their partner agency.
GCOW and The Consortium were awarded the Recovery Learning Community grant in May of 2007. They opened the doors of their first Resource Center in Holyoke in July of that same year, followed by Pittsfield (October, 2007), Greenfield (January, 2008), and Springfield (May, 2009). Development of physical spaces has continued as our resource centers have moved and expanded in various ways.
In 2012 the Wildflower Alliance opened the only peer-run respite in Massachusetts, Afiya.
Focus on community supports and development has continued to grow outside of the spaces, with groups, workshops and events regularly held in a variety of settings such as housing units, hospitals, jails, churches, and more.
In 2020, the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community finished it’s rebranding to the Wildflower Alliance, to emphasize our national and international organizing and training work, and to move away from concepts of “Recovery” that many people find limited or don’t relate to.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Wildflower Alliance has begun to offer a wide range of online support supports, and host a persistent emotional support space through Discord.
The Wildflower Alliance is currently one of five Recovery Learning Communities funded throughout the state of Massachusetts. Visit the Transformation Center’s website to learn more about other RLCs.
The Wildflower Alliance’s largest funder are grants from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. We are constantly seeking additional funding opportunities and have received funds through:
- Arts councils
- Community Development Block Grants
- Federal grants
- Contracts with jails, hospitals, community organizations, and housing projects.
- Individual donations and local foundations.
All funders and donors play a crucial role in supporting the RLC to:
- Reach as many people as possible
- Develop new, innovative supports
- Offer stipends to people who take on valued roles within the community
- Offer a wide variety of free offerings in person and online to people who would otherwise not have access to peer support groups and wellness activities such as acupuncture, reiki, yoga, art classes and more.
Visit our donations page to make a contribution!