When you arrive at the Oak Wellness Center, it is not uncommon to be greeted by the regulars that work hard to build a welcoming environment. The pool cues line the walls, and the billiards table has its fair share of spectators. In the next room, the computer stations patiently await anyone looking to access them. This is a place that prides itself on being a safe haven for those working on bettering themselves and fortifying their mental wellbeing.
Visitors are required to provide a referral from a doctor or therapist in order to become members of the center. This better ensures that members are motivated, interested, and genuinely want to get help. All visitors of the center must be 18 or older.
The Team Behind the Greatness
The efforts of the Oak Wellness Center are shared by willing and loyal volunteers and the wonderful staff put in place by Kings View to ensure that everyone has a positive experience. Gracie Clarke, Case Manager, has been a key ingredient in the center's recipe for success.
“It’s been 15 years since I started working here at the Oak Wellness Center," says Clarke, "I have family that suffer from mental health issues so this has always been a part of my life. I didn’t realize I would eventually fall into working with mental health, but working with everyone here gives me happiness in my heart. I’ve always been a server, I know that, and that’s what I’m still doing now. People can function with mental illness; they can still get a job, meet their dreams, and find support. That might be us, their friends, or their family, but I want everyone to know that someone is there for them.”
Activities and Environment
Much happens at the center: there are groups run by peers that meet 3 to 4 times daily to encourage one another, and build themselves up through collaboration and activity. Many agencies also find the time to come in and speak to the visitors of the center to make them aware of their services or promote ways to be healthier both physically and mentally. The Center also features a small store in house that is completely peer run; and when not in the center, the members can be found at community events providing information to others about the services offered. A safe haven of this type requires careful planning, hard work, patience, and understanding what it's like to cope with mental health problems.
On this matter, Gracie mentions: "We wanted to build a safe, understanding environment. Sometimes their own families don’t understand, but here they can talk to other people, get help, find resources. We want them to enjoy themselves better outside of the Oak Wellness Center, and we’re like a family here. This is a place to be needed, to make a friend that you can call during crisis."
If you would like to support the Oak Wellness Center, they will gladly accept monetary donations, clothing, food, gardening items, and craft supplies. The goal is to benefit the clients and stimulate their mental wellbeing. Inquiries on how to give and where can be directed to 559-582-4481 Extension 2025.