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             VOLUME III ISSUE X                                                            OCTOBER 15, 2010

  A Structured, welcoming place where people with ongoing mental illness come to gain support, learn to work and rebuild their lives.

                    From the Directors                                        2010 Walk for Wellness
                                                                                           By Thomas Schenck
                       By Deborah Kaufman, Director
                                                                              On Sunday October 10th, Laurel House
                                                                      had the opportunity to participate in the Mental
       It has been a trying month here at Laurel
                                                                      Health Association of New Jerseys 3rd annual
House Middlesex. Logisticare, the new transporta-
                                                                      Walk for Wellness. The walk took place at
tion brokerage firm for Medicaid has taken over in
                                                                      Johnsons Park in Piscataway. Registration be-
Middlesex County. The company informed Laurel
                                                                      gan at 8:30 AM and the walk started at about
House on September the 21st that as of October
                                                                      10:30.This is the second year that I partici-
1st our members could no longer utilize Medicaid
                                                                      pated. I was interviewed by a woman who
transportation to get to and from the clubhouse.
                                                                      asked me why I backed MHANJ. I said that I
They gave us just two weeks notice to come up
                                                                      was a consumer of mental health services and
with an alternative plan for about 85% of our mem-
                                                                      that they basically saved my life.
bers! Pleas were made both from our members,
                                                                              There was about 300 people there of all
myself and the Board of Social Services County
                                                                      ages, some even brought their dogs with them.
office to give us more time, reconsider the deci-
                                                                      There were dogs of all shapes and sizes and
sion, to no avail. We even reached out to Com-
                                                                      some brought their children.
missioner Velez but she was unable to help.
                                                                              With your $20.00 registration fee you re-
Since opening our doors in 2008 we have utilized
                                                                      ceived a t-shirt, breakfast, lunch and a raffle
this valuable service so this was quite a blow to
                                                                      ticket. There was also a band that played some
our members and our budget.
                                                                      nice music. I met some really nice people there,
       Laurel House is persevering with the help of
                                                                      some from last year and some were new faces.
MCAT (Middlesex County Area Transit), public                          The weather was beautiful, just like last year, a
transportation, our dedicated staff and Triple C                      little cool in the morning then warming up to-
Housing. We are still exploring a permanent solu-                     wards the afternoon. If I am able and willing I
tion and one that will capture all of our members,                    am going back again next year.
but we would like to thank all who have helped
through this tough time. Sometimes tough times                           A RIGHT TO:
bring out the best in people and it was inspiring to
see all our members come together and advocate                          A PLACE TO COME
for their clubhouse. The dedication of our mem-
                                                                        MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
bers and our staff has been a refreshing distrac-
tion from this issue and we will continue to work                       MEANINGFUL WORK
together to come up with a plan to move forward.
                                                                        A PLACE TO RETURN
                        A Trip to New Mexico
                              By Robin Stephenson
      On Saturday, August 28th, I left my comfortable but small apartment in
Metuchen and took a shuttle to Newark’s Liberty International Airport. Just as I
was about to board my plane to Dulles Airport and then on to Albuquerque, there were
mechanical difficulties with my plane and I was rerouted to Phoenix Airport where I
changed planes for my final destination. I had been up since 6:30 AM and did not get into
Albuquerque until after 11:00 PM, (1:00AM Eastern time). It was an exhausting day and I
was relived that my sister Jill and my brother-in-law, Daserath, were there to greet me.
      My sister is an art therapist and an expert at dream interpretation and analyses. I
met one of her clients, Jeff, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. The three of us spent
an afternoon in Santa Fe, eating ice cream and watching people. There is more art pro-
duced in Santa Fe than any other city in the country with the exception of New York.
There are wonderful Mexican and Native American influences in the local art.
      My sister and I took the back roads from Santa Fe to Taos passing mountains, Na-
tive American reservations and old Spanish missions. We explored the galleries and
shops of Taos and then drove to a scenic overlook above the Rio Grande river. We
walked across the bridge that spanned the gorge and I got a terrible sense of vertigo as I
looked down towards the river below, but the view was well worth it.
      Finally it was time to leave and I reluctantly said my goodbyes and returned to New
Jersey and my friends at Laurel House.

     ( Robin Stephenson is Manager of Member Support; Laurel House Middlesex.)

                                    Rotary Club Speech
                                           By Jordan Rubin

                  On September 21st I went to the Rotary Club with Deborah Kaufman,
our club director, to talk to the members about my experience with mental illness and
how Laurel House has helped me with it. We had a delicious buffet lunch and then we
got down to business.
      The Laurel House crew comprised of Deborah, Jack Garner and myself began to
share our experiences at Laurel House in order to inform and educate the rotary club
members and hopefully gain their support ,both financially and emotionally . After Jack
and Deborah finished I began my speech. My intention was to have these people under-
stand how Laurel House has contributed to my mental health giving me the great gift of
community and a sense of belonging. I truly hope the message was conveyed and that
they had a sense of where I was coming from and how Laurel House helped get me
      This meeting was a great reminder of how truly blessed I am to have had Laurel
House as my support for the past year and a half since I first joined. God bless Laurel
House Clubhouse!

“Inside yourself or outside yourself, you never have to change what you see, only
                              the way you see it”
                                 — Thaddeus Golas
                    “The Lazy Mans Guide to Enlightenment “
              “The Turn A Frown Around Foundation” Visits
                                          By Ray Linares

       Last month Laurel House received a visit from Drew Horn who along with Dr. Gregory
Ervin founded “The Turn A Frown Around Foundation” in 2001. Drew is a motivational, inspira-
tional comic and clown. He is bipolar and had attempted suicide twice, but after promising his
daughter he would never do it again he began to pursue compassion comedy. It gave him a
reason to get up in the morning. Soon he was visiting people with psychiatric and physical dis-
abilities who had lost hope or felt isolated and friendless.
       Drew told us some jokes and a few very inspirational stories . We were all impressed and
enjoyed ourselves tremendously. We wish him well and thank him for his service to a commu-
nity that is often overlooked.
       If you wish to learn more about “The Turn A Frown Around Foundation” you can contact
them at:
                         Or Email:
                             Phone: 973-746-7353

     You can request a visit, become a volunteer, or make a donation.

   “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of
                                — George Bernard Shaw

                                            Speaking Out
                                             By Thomas Schenck

                On September 28th, I had the opportunity to do a speakers bureau at University
Behavioral Health Care-Horizons. It went real well, I was nervous at first but I got through it. I
saw a lot of familiar faces because I used to go to that program. That’s why I jumped at the
chance to speak there.
      I talked about my experiences here at Laurel House. How Laurel House basically saved
my life. Without Laurel House I wouldn't have anywhere to go during the day. Coming here
keeps me occupied and plugged into the other members. Laurel House also gives me a place
to practice my computer skills and to interact with people. I believe we may have attracted
some interest because we have had a new member join since that meeting and hope to get

                                       Ethnic Foods
                                        By Thomas Schenck

      This month we had two ethnic meals prepared by family members of the club. The first
was Ethiopian food brought in by Mimi Eshete, sister of Michael Eshete. The menu was all
vegetarian consisting of Shero Wat ; chick peas with pepper sauce, Yakilt Wot ; a mixed veggie
stew, Aziffa; a lentil dish, and spinach Wot. Everything was tasty and slightly spicy.
      The next week we had Italian food prepared by Peter Gualtieris mom Ann. Ann made
homemade meatballs and sauce served over pasta with garlic bread. It was out of this world !
      We would like to extend a very big Thank You to Mimi and Ann for the time and effort they
put into preparing these wonderful meals for us. If any other members families would like to vol-
unteer their cooking skills please feel free to contact Deb or Allison here at Laurel house.

Above; Members; Michael, Alex, Russell and
Rob enjoy an Ethiopian meal prepared by
Mimi, Michaels sister.

Drew Horn from “The Turn A Frown Around
Foundation”, gives our Director, Deborah Kauf-
man the diaper award for her service. Drew
brought his message of hope to Laurel House
on Wednesday, September 29th.
               ( See story page 3 )

                  ART & POETRY
             Fantasy Flight
                 By Ray Linares

          I sometimes fantasize
             About leaving—
              Until I realize
               I cannot go
               Until I leave
               Behind me
           My excess baggage.

                                                 “Untitled” 8 1/2” X 11” permanent
                                                 marker on paper by Peter Gualtieri.

“Far Right” 18”X 24” acrylic on stretched can-
             vas by Ray Linares
            Elephant Jokes                               Editorial Staff         6
               By L. E. Font                   Editor: Ray Linares
                                               Contributors: Robin Stephenson,
 Q: Why is an elephant big, grey and wrin-
                                               Jordan Rubin, Deborah Kaufman,
 A: Because if it was small, round and         Ray Linares, Thomas Schenck,
smooth it would be an aspirin.                 Photographer: Allison Powers
                                               Graphic Design: Ray Linares
 Q: Why are golf balls small and white?
 A: Because if they were big and grey they
would be elephants.

 Q: What is grey, has four legs and a trunk?
 A: A mouse going on vacation.

                                               Have questions or comments about
                                                Laurel House? Contact us at our
                                                        Or Email us at:

     316 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
     Phone: (732) 246– 0028

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