Again in April, MassLive ran an article about the budget cutbacks the RLC has been facing.
It includes lots of input from members of the community, as well as a lot of info on how funds get allocated in the first place.
Here’s a brief excerpt from the article, including words from Earl Miller, Ana Keck and James Fortini:
“Earl Miller, who coordinates centers in Springfield and Holyoke, said about half the people who come into the Springfield center are homeless, and others are on probation or parole. The center creates a community.
“For people who are there, losing the center entirely may mean losing their connection with the larger community that supports them,” Miller said.
…Ana Keck, 24, of Northampton, connected with a Recovery Learning Community through an alternative to suicide group and said people there helped her think through suicidal thoughts in a way that was different from the medical treatment she received at a hospital. “It was helpful in how I view myself. I’m connected to a broader community,” Keck said.
Keck has since started working at centers, and she has found meaning in not being labeled a “sick person,” but as someone who can help others. “We’re able to mutually support each other,” Keck said.
James Fortini, 31, of Northampton, similarly went from attending a suicide alternatives group to working at a respite center. Fortini said he felt like the “traditional system” focused on telling him what he cannot do, while peers at the center helped him accomplish things he wanted to do. “When I grew up, they told me I’d never graduate high school. I’ve done that,” Fortini said.”