By Molly • 

Champion Team reorganizes at new site

Marcus Larson/News-RegisterInside the new home for Champion Team are, from left, Holley Goins, program coordinator; Carrie Hall, executive director; Lindsay Dent, activities coordinator; and Daniel Patrick Coady, president emeritus.
Marcus Larson/News-RegisterKathleen White of Champion Team shows the arts and crafts room in the peer to peer support group’s new home in McMinnivlle.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Friday, according to Executive Director Carrie Hall. She said she would like to add some Saturday hours as well if she can.

The Salem-based Mid-Valley Behavioral Care Network has provided the program with $58,000 in operating funds for the current fiscal year which was awarded through a contract after Request for Proposals were received. Its mission is to serve Oregon Health Plan clients, and Hall expects that caseload to grow as the new Cover Oregon program is implemented under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Patricia Ross, consumer affairs specialist for Mid-Valley, said that while Champion Team is an independent nonprofit, she helps with technical assistance and making sure the reporting necessary for the contract is complete.

Hall said members of the care network staff had helped her reorganize the program in the new location after several months in hiatus. "They wanted to see this happen for our county," she said.

Champion Team operated out of Abacus House, a county facility, before going inactive in the spring.

Member Kathleen White formed Friends of Champion Team to keep the program from dying altogether. She kept a core group meeting at the Village Quarter in downtown McMinnville.

"Our hats are off to her for being the matriarch," said Hall, who holds one of three paid positions in the revitalized enterprise. The other two are Holley Goins, serving as program coordinator, and Hall's daughter, Lindsay Dent, serving as the activities coordinator.

The facility runs 2,700 square feet. It features a full kitchen, men's and women's restrooms and a day room.

Hall said Champion Team will be collaborating with other agencies to assemble "wraparound" resources for clients suffering from mental illness or addiction issues. She hopes it can served as model for the state.

"It's all about mental wellness and being healthy," she said.

Hall would like to be able to serve non-OHP clients, too, but that would take funding from other sources. Current funds are mission-specific.

"There's a lot on the table for us," Hall said. "I want to grow the numbers, reach out to the homeless.

"The whole thing is just unfolding. I think our community needs it — even the people that don't utilize the facilities."

The program has a seven-member board at present, but is open to seeing membership grow to 15. Interested members of the comunity are invited to contact Hall at 503-474-4600.

Hall said she's suffered from mental illness herself, so understands the challenges.

"I've suffered from mental health issues since the age of 21," she said. Now 47, she said she started undergoing therapy at 23."

She is also recovering from alcohol and drug addictions via a 12-step program. She said she has celebrated eight years of sobriety so far.

Before signing on with the Champion Team, Hall worked as an andminstrative or executive assistant. At one time, she worked for the Yamhill County Juvenile Department.

Daniel Patrick Coady, who now holds the title of president emeritus, has participated in Champion Team since it's inception in 1998. He said it took its name from Mohammed Ali, considered the best boxer of all time.

The program is planning to hold a series of fundraisers to meet immediate needs, which include computers, a conference table, folding chairs, office supplies, kichen appliances and television sets. "There are still some difficult climbs, but we're well on our way," Hall said.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS