STEP UP ON SECOND with TOD LIPKA at WVRC on October 1st
STEVE PETTISE led the Pledge. In the absence of LENNY, RICK BROUS led us in America the Beautiful, which we did pretty good. MARK KRAUSE provided the Invocation. May you help us to love our friends and family, to treat our employees and fellow workers fairly, to seek justice, to help those in need, to be the best that we can be, and to live by the Four Way Test
Is it the truth, is it fair to all concerned, will it build goodwill and friendship, and will it be beneficial to all concerned. Amen and that covers some good ground, MARK Well Done.
Our only Visiting Rotarian was our Speaker, Tod Lipka, who belongs to Santa Monica. We did have Misake Musada with us, our Ambassadorial Scholar from Japan, and he was introduced by PP HOMER NEWMAN. PP STEVE SCHERER asked for the Mike, and reminded us that WE are the Membership Committee that is, every one of us. This ‘lecture’ was brought on by the fact that PP STEVE didn’t have ANY Special Guests to introduce and we always need them. It’s also true that if you don’t ask, you don’t get so START ASKING, please.
Prexy ED spoke about The Turkish Delight dinner party, which is set to Sunday, the 25th of this month, starting at 6pm. You probably recall that this is for the benefit of hearing-impaired children in Turkey, to buy needed testing equipment. NEVIN SENKAN and her husband, Slim, are hosting this gathering at their lovely hilltop home in Bell Air. And the dinner, wine, and entertainment cost only $50 which is also deductible! NEVIN tells me the following have signed up already HOMER & SALLY NEWMAN, ANDY & PAT ANDERSON, ED & KATHY GAULD, ELLIOTT TURNER, MARSHA HUNT, MIKE & SHEILA YOUSEM, PETER & SHIRLEY MORE, HENRY & ANNIE TSENG, and LEAH VRIESMAN & her husband, JONATHAN WEE. This will be a lovely event, in good company, so get your checks in soon!
Reading To Kids comes up this next Saturday, the 10th, and WVRC is Expected! Last month, PAT ANDERSON and SCOTT HICKS were new to our group, which includes MARCIA and RICK BROUS, ED JACKSON, MARSHA HUNT and YOE. This will be the 103rd CONSECUTIVE 2nd Saturday at Magnolia Elementary School, and of course it also takes place at SEVEN other local schools. Time is 0900 until noon. The kids are Kindergarten up to Fifth Graders, and they all come because they WANT to so their eager participation always shows! It’s fun, and we would love to have more WVRC family join us- call me with questions, please.
We received a lovely report letter from Jamie Feld, our new Ambassadorial Scholar. She is studying in Cordoba, Argentina, and her subject is Geography. She reminds us that there are more than 700 Ambassadorial Scholars again this year, all funded by R.I. Her letter came in on 9/27, and if you missed it, lemme know and I’ll forward, OK? Or you can reach her directly at Jamiefeld@gmail.com. If I may, I’ll suggest SHE would be a wonderful “Pen Pal” to introduce to your own kids and she would love to hear from them, of course.
Vice President ED JACKSON has provided the list of GREETERS for October-November-December 09. October 8, Steve Day & Warren Dodson. 15th, JR Dzubak & Bob Wessling. 22nd, Kevin Komatsu & Mike Yousem. 29th, Sherry Dewane & Leah Vriesman. November, 5th, Scott Fitch, & Chris Gaynor. 12th, Peter More &Susan Klein. 19th, Eric Loberg & Marsha Hunt. 26th, Terry R. White & Aly Shoji. December, 3rd, Don Park & Marcia Brous, 10th, Sean McMillan & Curt Smith, 17th, Nick Kahrilas & David Friedman. This is an important activity and since you are called on so infrequently, YA GOTTA BE THERE!! If you can’t make it, be sure to arrange a substitute, OK?
I now have a momentous announcement THE JOKE. Without casting any now-irrelevant aspersions on previous efforts, this latest was not only well received, but applauded! What is the difference between an insurance company actuary and a Mafia actuary? An insurance company actuary can tell you how many people will die this year. The Mafia actuary can name them.
While I cannot say without equivocation that the preceding led us into a happy frame of mind for lunch, nonetheless it is a fact that STEVE PETTISE soon introduced our Speaker, Tod Lipka. Tod is the CEO of Step Up on Second, a non-profit agency which is a leader is providing services for mentally disturbed people. His organization focuses on long-term strategies and support services for members, in order to treat their brain disorders. Figures show that 26% of adults that’s one in four suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Tod has both his MPA and Gerontology degrees from USC. He plans to address the stigma that may be attached to mental illness, information and support for families and co-workers, bio-social services and how to access them.
Tod began by thanking us for our welcome to someone from USC, and noted that when he began his Gerontology courses there in 1980, there were only two universities providing that subject matter. In his introductory address, the Dean felt he should let them know that employment opportunities in this field were not good which, of course, isn’t exactly what you hope to hear. To bridge this possible gap, Tod also enrolled in their Public Administration course, so he ended up getting two degrees for the price of one, so to speak.
Step Up On Second was founded in 1984, its Mission being to assist people with severe, persistent mental illness. Major fields are Schizophrenia. Bi-Polar Disorders and severe depression. We help them reintegrate into the community by providing comprehensive services. They are located next door to the Laemmle Theatres on 2nd Street in Santa Monica. Their Center serves about 1500 people each year, includes a staff psychiatrist, showers for the homeless, and they serve two meals a day. They provide socialization groups, job training, and housing. All these services are designed to provide a sense of community. Mental Illness is an illness of the brain, and has a stigma attached. It is an isolating illness. Add that to the fear that mental illness provides, and the problems become apparent. The aim of Step Up is to create a community that is a safe home for people.
They try to aid people in achieving their goals in life social, educational, romantic, employment think what it would be like if you never had a job? Thus vocational training is an important component of what they provide. By creating a community, they hope to allow clients to learn some of the skills needed to better manage their lives. With physical illness, such as diabetes, or heart disease, for which there is no cure, they want clients to learn to manage their illness. The current financial showdown has certainly increased the number of persons who need treatment for mental illness.
For reasons that are both biological and environmental, it seems that the first symptoms of mental illness occur between the ages of 18 and 26. The really sad news is that such illness can be misdiagnosed, or not even recognized, for years. As with all illnesses, early detection, early diagnosis, and early treatment are most beneficial. They have a young adult program, called Daniel’s Place, that is designed for people after their first breakdown. This is designed to provide intervention as soon as possible. Most of their clients are in the 50-55 age range, many of whom have struggled with mental problems for many years. They now separate the young persons at the beginning, because when they see their older clients, they can have an immediate panic attack. “Will that be me in 20 years?” Early treatment is most helpful, particularly since today there is so much more treatment available.
There is now a National Organization, called NAMI, National Alliance for Mental Illness, which runs country-wide support groups for family members. In addition to the one in four adults who will be diagnosed with some form of mental disorder each year, one in seventeen will have serious mental illness. Schizophrenia affects one percent of the world’s population, and typically causes perceptions in the brain which can create hallucinations, both auditory and visual. He gave an example of one of their clients who was working as an usher in a movie theatre. The problem he had was that as he was checking tickets, he would hear voices, and would then stop and talk back to them. The treatment they devised was to explain to him that these weren’t real voices, and NOT to respond to them.
Tod noted briefly that Bi-polar Disorder was serious, and manic depression was its most common characteristic. There is a perception that persons with mental disorders may be violent, which is due to the very small number who have been untreated for years and thus make the headlines. The fact is that there is no difference in violent tendencies of the average person and those with mental illness. Most violence in our society comes from the use of drugs and alcohol.
Tod mentioned having a list of service facilities on the Westside, and if you call him at (310) 394-6889 x26, he will send it to you. They have found that they can be most effective with new clients by giving them time to get used to their range of services, so when they accept a new service, it’s because THEY thought it was worthwhile. Their system, called Housing First, puts even long-time homeless people directly into their own room, and it works! They have three projects in Santa Monica Step up on Second, Step up on Fifth, and Daniel’s Place. They are buying two properties in Hollywood, similar to what they now manage here.
Q&A Is depression considered a mental illness? It can be a mental disorder, or can be diagnosed as mental illness, depending upon its seriousness. How do people find out about you? Word of mouth, referrals from other agencies, and people just walking in off the street. What’s the intake process? Typically, we can begin providing services the day they arrive. The only requirement is that they wish to come aboard. We are open 365 days a year. Drugs and alcohol are not permitted. What services are downtown? There are many, but not enough to meet the demand. What percentage of the homeless has mental illness? Nationally, about a third, and in Santa Monica, closer to 40%. What’s your source of funding? 60% comes from the County, the City of Santa Monica provides about 20%, and fundraising brings in the rest. Housing is funded separately. Tod Lipka, thanks for your information, and keep up your good work.
Words of Wisdom:
There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.