Hamilton Center, Inc. provides individuals a second chance through “New Citizen Program”

“I am living a life I never wanted”, said a recent graduate of Hamilton Center’s New Citizen Program. “I’m living a life I never knew I could have,” said Mike Hambright. 

On July 2, 2021, Hamilton Center graduated another “new citizen” from a program first established in 2013 to give individuals who have been incarcerated, the tools needed get a second chance at life.  For the first seven years of the program, the organization focused on building the program internally. Participants completed a one-year probationary period where they trained in four different areas of the Corporation to gain skills and experience to secure a permanent job/career at Hamilton Center.  In addition to job skills, participants gained life skills as they worked through challenges of reintegration into their communities with a team of mentors that met with them weekly.

Recently, the program has expanded to other corporations who expressed interest in participating.  Wabash Valley Asphalt, now called Milestone Contractors South, was one of those companies that stepped up to bring the New Citizen Program to their business. For the past year, a new citizen has learned a skilled trade at Wabash Valley Asphalt.  On Friday July 2, a graduation ceremony was held.  The graduated New Citizen, Mike Hambright, was filled with pride and gratitude, not just for the opportunity to have a second chance, but also for the opportunity to grow, better himself and give back.

“For the last year I have been working with the committee from the Hamilton Center to be a better version of myself. They gave me an opportunity by working with a union company to give me a shot at a career. Since being with Milestone, I have been learning and growing in a skilled trade. Here I have a pension, and benefits. If not for the Hamilton Center’s New Citizens program I don’t know what I would be doing right now,” Hambright stated.

“I’ve decided to pursue the Union Career and continue to grow and better myself. Through this program, it’s given Hamilton Center, Milestone and myself an opportunity to give back to the community. I am proud of this accomplishment and look forward to guiding the next candidate and being a leader,” he said.

Since Wabash Valley Asphalt joined the program, Hamilton Center has also been proud to welcome other corporations to the partnership.  Hamilton Center is grateful for the interest to those companies and others who play a significant role in helping reduce recidivism, including other employers who are willing to hire workers notwithstanding a criminal history.

“At some point in life, every one of us needs a second chance to recover from a mistake; and usually, we get that chance.” said Melvin L. Burks, Hamilton Center’s CEO.  “These individuals have paid their debt to society and deserve a second chance,” he said. “Not only will they benefit, but it will strengthen families and our entire community.”

Hamilton Center welcomes additional host sites and participants for the New Citizen Program. To learn more, visit www.hamiltoncenter.org/programs/new-citizen/, or call 812-231-8323.

Hamilton Center holds Annual Employee Kick-off

July 16, 2021, Terre Haute, IN- Hamilton Center, Inc. hosted its annual Employee Kick-off on Friday July 16 from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Tilson Auditorium on the campus of Indiana State University. The event, in its 9th year, celebrated Hamilton Center staff and the start of a new fiscal year, all while showing support to local businesses.

Hamilton Center, Inc. staff were out in force to take over downtown Terre Haute and eight area restaurants by wearing bright orange shirts. Downtown looked like a “sea of orange”, said an observer.

After a hearty breakfast at local downtown restaurants, Hamilton Center staff converged on Tilson Auditorium in a “sea of orange”.  Mr. Melvin L. Burks, Hamilton Center’s CEO was the MC for the event; prizes were handed out to well-deserved staff.  

“The Kick-off is meant to show appreciation to our staff and the board of directors, by acknowledging all their hard work in serving our consumers” said Melvin L. Burks.  “This year, more than any other, our staff put their heart and soul into serving consumers. This event is a way for us to both acknowledge all of their efforts and to begin to focus on recovery from this public health crisis.” he added.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, Ind.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses. For more information about Hamilton Center, visit www.hamiltoncenter.org or call 812-231-8323.

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Hamilton Center Recognizes Juneteenth

Continues to advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Hamilton Center has declared June 19 an official paid holiday in recognition of Juneteenth. Juneteenth was declared as a national holiday by President Joe Biden and Congress, on June 17, 2021, in recognition of the end of slavery in the United States.

“President Biden took a historic step to begin healing wounds associated with the abolishment of slavery by establishing June 19th as a National Holiday,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Hamilton Center is pleased to see unified support in recognizing and celebrating this landmark event in our country’s history.”

The impact of the Juneteenth holiday is deeply personal to many individuals in our country, and its impact can be felt within the Hamilton Center family as well.

“As long as I can remember, my parents educated me on the unfair treatment of black people in this country,” Shannon Jackson, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Both of my parents grew up in Alabama during a time of the Civil Rights movement and told me stories about them not being able to use the same public facilities as white people just because of their skin color.”

 “I first recognized the harsh treatment of persons of color as a sophomore in high school after watching ‘Roots’ in a history class,” said Natasha Newcomb, Executive Director of Addiction/Substance Abuse Services. “Seeing that movie brought my attention to the reality enslaved persons of color faced and the harsh mistreatment of a whole population of people.”

Hamilton Center values differences and the unique contributions those differences make to the organization and the quality of life in our communities. “We could not be more proud to continue Hamilton Center’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by recognizing the value of all humans,” said Burks. “Juneteenth will continue to be a celebration that represents the undying spirit and faith of people; a celebration of the tenacity and perseverance of those who systematically continue to experience oppression and be denied opportunities.”

“We respect and support all employees and want to maximize each individual’s unique contribution to the organization which leads to discovering new and innovative business solutions to improve service delivery and quality of life of those served.”

Hamilton Center’s Diversity Statement

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, Ind.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues, as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

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The Hamilton Awards Dinner: Focusing on Community

October 27, 2020 Virtual Event

Hamilton Center will host the annual Hamilton Awards Dinner Tuesday, October 27 at the Sycamore Banquet Center, on the campus of Indiana State University. This year, due to social distancing guidelines, the event will be a small private dinner, however the community is invited to watch it live on Hamilton Center’s Facebook page-   facbook.com/HamiltonCenterInc/ starting at 6:30 p.m.

The event will highlight fiscal year 2020 accomplishments and recognize those nominated for a Hamilton Award. The theme for the event is Community and will feature Hamilton Center’s role in the community especially during COVID-19. “Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals,” said, Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “This year, in the face of adversity caused by COVID-19, I think our community truly embodied this definition and came together as one.”

Katherine Hamilton, fought for the inclusion, acceptance and support of those struggling with mental illness in the early 1960’s. She emphasized the importance of community in her life’s work. In this spirit, Hamilton Center awards were created to recognize individuals and organizations who have significantly contributed to the cause of mental health and addiction while furthering the mission of Hamilton Center, Inc. in the community. Nominees will be recognized in the categories of volunteer, community, and Hamilton Center staff.  Winners will be announced that evening.

Volunteer Category: Deanna Griffin, The Avenues Recovery (Vigo).

Community Category: The Ruth House (Sullivan); United Way of the Wabash Valley (Vigo); Team of Mercy (Vigo); CODA of Terre Haute (Vigo); Covered with Love, Inc. (Vigo); Casey Brown & Family, Mask Makers of the Wabash Valley (Vigo); Charles Townsend, The Connection Center (Owen); Dr. Megan Kirk, Vigo County School Corporation (Vigo); Keith Rogers, Vigo County Drug Court (Vigo); Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen, Owen County Judge (Owen); and Sherri Koertge, Save-A-Lot (Vigo).

Staff Category: Stacie Amerman, Program Manager (Parke); Jairon Jones, Care Manager, Vigo County Outpatient Program (Vigo); Cynthia Dowers, Executive Director of Nursing Services (Vigo); Matt Duchene, Intensive Community Treatment Program Manager (Vigo); Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer (Vigo); Katherine Kinney, Care Manager, Vigo County Outpatient Program (Vigo), LeeAnn Pruiett, RN, Lange Apartments (Vigo); Margie Grayless, Program Manager, Healthy Families (Vigo); and Nicole LeClercq, Program Assistant, WIN Recovery (Vigo).

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in central and west central Indiana. Services are provided to children, adolescents and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people with drug and alcohol problems. Counseling services are provided for people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

Hamilton Center Announces Reimagined Community Events

Diversity Walk and “We Live” take on new forms this week due to COVID-19

Since 2014, residents of Terre Haute and surrounding communities have come together to celebrate diversity and inclusion during the annual Diversity Walk, held each summer. Due to COVID-19, the Walk was unable to occur, but the Diversity Committee, which is made up of community volunteers, is proud to announce a reimagined event to unify our community in support of respect, acceptance and social justice for all while also keeping everyone safe.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, the 2020 Diversity Walk on Wheels will take place, allowing individuals to show their support for diversity, inclusion and equity while practicing social distancing in a vehicle caravan through Terre Haute. Vehicles can begin lining up at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22, at Fairbanks Park, 100-1099 Dresser Drive. Vehicles will enter via the south entrance of the Park at First and Farrington streets and then line up on Dresser Drive to depart out of the north entrance of the Park at First and Oak streets beginning at 9 a.m. The motorcade will travel north on First Street to Ohio, east on Ohio to Fourth Street, north on Fourth Street to Wabash Avenue, and then east on Wabash Avenue to Brown Avenue/Indiana State Memorial Football Stadium for a brief presentation.

Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center and Chair of the Diversity Committee, said, “the Committee has been working hard to create an event that will allow people of varying ages, races, creeds, colors, orientations, backgrounds and abilities to come together while also maintaining physical social distancing.”

The Diversity Walk was created to bring a diverse group of people together to break down barriers, build relationships and show what is possible when a community is welcoming to all.

“We were obviously disappointed that we could not bring people together for a Walk this year, but we have a creative committee who began working on an alternate plan. This decision was not taken lightly, but the priority of the Committee was always the safety of all participants.” Burks said.

The Diversity Walk on Wheels is a free event, but registration is required for participation. Registration is available online at http://diversitywalkonwheels.eventbrite.com/. To ensure the health and safety of all participants, individuals who plan to ride together during the event must all share the same living unit address. In addition, guests are asked to say in their vehicles during the event. If attendees must exit their vehicles, they will be required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from vehicles and people from different households. Event volunteers will be on hand to ensure that guests adhere by these guidelines.

Each car that registers to participate will receive an orange Diversity flag to display, and each individual in the car will receive a Diversity Walk button. Individuals who have participated in previous Diversity Walks are encouraged to wear their orange shirts from those events.

For those who are unable to participate in the Diversity Walk on Wheels, photos and videos will be shared online at facebook.com/diversitywalk, and those with Diversity Walk shirts from previous events are encouraged to participate virtually by wearing those shirts on Saturday as an additional symbol of support. All in-person and virtual participants who are showing their support for diversity, inclusion and social justice on social media are also encouraged to use the hashtag #DiversityWalkonWheels in their posts so we can celebrate together through our photos, videos, words and actions. 

WHAT: 6th Annual Diversity Walk/1st Ever Diversity Walk on Wheels

WHEN: Saturday, August 22, 2020

8:00 a.m. – Vehicle Line-Up Begins

9:00 a.m. – Diversity Walk on Wheels begins

WHERE: Event will begin at Fairbanks Park and end with closing remarks at Indiana State University Memorial Stadium

REGISTER: Registration is FREE online at http://diversitywalkonwheels.eventbrite.com/

For more information about the Diversity Walk on Wheels, visit facebook.com/diversitywalk or call 812-231-8338.

In addition to the modified plans for the Diversity Walk, volunteers have also been working to reimagine the “We Live” back-to-school event. For the past 5 years Hamilton Center has worked with a number of community partners to host this beloved event in late July, scheduled strategically just before schools starts back-up. This year, due to COVID-19, the organization has been forced to develop a new look to the event that promotes social distancing, safety for all, and still serves children and families. Traditionally the event has taken place at Herz-Rose Park and targeted the underserved population in the surrounding area. This year, Hamilton Center, in partnership with First Farmers Bank and Trust and Children’s Bureau Inc. – Terre Haute Office, will deliver over $6,000 in school supplies to Deming and Benjamin Franklin elementary schools. The schools will then distribute those school supplies to their students. In total over 700 children and their families will be served by the event, and each school will receive nearly $500 in donated supplies as additional support.

“Even though we could not host the ‘We Live’ event in person this year, we wanted to do something to let these kids know that we care about them, we support them, and we want them to have a great start to their school year,” Burks said. “We are thankful for the support of First Farmers Bank and the Children’s Bureau, and we look forward to working with our partners to bring the ‘We Live’ event back to Rose Park next year.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center Receives FQHC Look-alike Designation

Establishes one-stop-shop for all health care needs

Hamilton Center, Inc. has been designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike through the Health Center Program of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The FQHC Look-Alike status allows organizations opportunities to develop and implement services required to meet the full qualifications for designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Together FQHCs and FQHC Look-alikes work to ensure health care for the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations through service provision to all, regardless of ability to pay.

“It is critical that we work to maximize access to care for medically underserved populations,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “This designation will provide us access to tools to do that with less barriers.”

Seeking this designation is a part of Hamilton Center’s strategic plan to address barriers to health care and to provide primary and behavioral health care integration.  In an effort to provide primary care services the organization opened Grace Clinic Health Professional in 2019 in two locations in west central Indiana. One serves Vigo County at 622 Eighth Avenue in Terre Haute, IN, and the other serves Putnam County at 239 Hillsdale Ave, Suite A in Greencastle, IN. The program is now serving adults, children, and families with primary health and behavioral healthcare in a single location.

Health Center’s across the country – totaling 12,000 unique service locations – deliver care to the Nation’s most vulnerable populations. According to HRSA, 1 in 12 individuals nation-wide – more than 28 million people – rely on HRSA-funded health centers for affordable, accessible primary health care. That’s one in nine children, one in five rural residents, and more than 385,000 veterans from across the country.

“Hamilton Center’s mission always included serving populations of our community that lack access to health care of any kind, whether that be due to financial barriers, transportation barriers, or social barriers,” said Dr. DJ Rhodes, Hamilton Center’s Chief of Health Clinic Services.  “This designation is a turning point in our ability to provide safety net services.” FQHC Look-alikes are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), discounted drugs through the 340B Federal Drug Pricing Program, receive automatic Health Professional Shortage Area designation, and may access National Health Service Corps providers.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center, Inc. Designated as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic

Receives $3.75M to enhance services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced that Hamilton Center, Inc. (HCI) has received a two-year, $3.75M grant, through the CCBHC Expansion Grant, to expand and enhance services in Vigo County. Hamilton Center is currently working towards designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC).

“This grant will assist us in addressing specific components of our larger strategic plan to improve access to evidence-based and integrated healthcare for individuals who live and seek services in Vigo County, Indiana.” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Vigo County is the organization’s largest service county with over 5,000 children and adults served each year.”

The populations of focus for this project will include adults and children with severe mental illness, substance use disorder, and co-occurring disorders, as well as individuals with chronic physical health needs.

“Our goals are to expand and enhance existing Hamilton Center services to provide a more comprehensive and integrated service delivery model for our consumers,” said Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer, Hamilton Center, Inc. “This includes improving access to crisis services, increasing coordination of intensive community treatment, and increasing access and coordination of psychiatric services,” he added.

Components of the program include establishing a 24-hr mobile crisis team and the implementation of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model, an intensive team approach to community mental health service delivery that assists people in becoming independent and integrating into the community and provides access to services 24 hours a day. In addition, the grant will enhance Hamilton Center ‘s efforts to integrate primary and behavioral healthcare by providing additional screening for both. 

The CCBHC designation was established by the Excellence in Mental Health Act of 2014. This powerful legislation is the largest investment in mental health and addiction care in generations according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.

The CCBHC Expansion Grant expanded the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program to include an additional 19 states. The goal of this expansion is to expand capacity in the behavioral health system to care for more Americans and alleviate the pressure on our nation’s jails and emergency rooms. The CCBHC Expansion Grant include $200 million in annually appropriated funding and $250 million in emergency COVID-19 funding.

“As a community organization committed to serving the behavioral health needs of our consumers, we are excited to incorporate these enhancements to our service delivery array,” said Melvin L Burks. “These opportunities assist us in our vision to advance excellence in behavioral health services.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center, Inc. Takes Stake in the Lives of At-risk Youth

Brings new Achievement Mentoring Program to Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center

Hamilton Center has been awarded $18,860 by the United Way of the Wabash Valley to create an evidence-based mentoring program at the Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center. The program will target youth grades 4-11 utilizing Achievement Mentoring. The program will focus on a number of areas including decreasing student dropout, improving grades, increasing school attendance, decreasing discipline referrals, decreasing juvenile arrests, reducing drug and alcohol use, and increasing employment. The program is implemented in the school, in the community, and at the detention center and designed to link and coordinate resources for these youth while in treatment preparing them for release and reentry in the community.

“This program is proven to reduce problem behaviors, improve academics, and reduce drug and alcohol,” said, Brock Lough, Executive Director of School Service at Hamilton Center. “If we wish to address some of the county’s significant health and substance abuse concerns, we must focus not only on treatment but also prevention.”

Students meet with mentors weekly who receive weekly “report cards” that offer feedback from teachers on such items as attendance, classroom behavior, & academic achievements. In addition, mentors participate in weekly interviews with students’ teachers, complete a 1-hour consultation/coaching session each month with a Center for Supportive Schools (CSS) consultant and maintain contact with each student’s caregivers & provide ongoing positive feedback & encouragement as earned.

“It is our responsibility to offer these students who are deemed to be at risk for dropping out of high school, whether through school failure, poor attendance, &/or behavior problems need, the opportunity to get back on track.” said, Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “These young people need consistent services from caring and supportive staff.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.