MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) – When you’re going through something stressful or having a crisis, it can be helpful to talk to someone who knows what it’s like.
A center, open inside Menomonie Town Hall on the ground floor, does this while bringing the community together.
“The Kaleidoscope Center is a peer-run center where people can go and have a safe place, a quiet place to kind of – see it as a community center,” said David Stanley, Kaleidoscope’s community coordinator for the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance. Center.
It is a mental health drop-in center established in part through a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. The Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance, a nonprofit organization in Menomonie, runs it with the help of peer helpers like Sammie Jasper and Mary Lemke.
“Some people are trained, some people are, I guess, what you would consider entry level where they’re using their lived experience, so it’s like everyone from all different worldviews is using that to help people,” said Mary Lemke, a peer support specialist.
These different experiences help the peer helpers connect with anyone who enters the centre.
“Not everyone needs the same thing, and the support is not the same for everyone, so I mean it can talk or do activities,” said Sammie Jasper, a sponsor . “I’m a yoga teacher and I’m a dancer, so I usually find commonalities in this feel-good movement.”
To provide support, the center offers activities ranging from art and games to spaces to sit and chat. It also has an area for children.
The Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance also runs other support programs from a helpline called Warmline to Monarch House, a peer-run respite program.
Peer helpers said this center fills a gap in care.
“I think it’s a short-term resource for people to come, and it’s not as big of a commitment,” Lemke said. “It’s not as scary. I think that’s great for us to have.
“It just means there’s more access to services and compassionate, empathetic social interaction for this community,” Stanley said.
Stanley hopes community members will come and see what the center is all about.
The Kaleidoscope Center is free for everyone. It officially opens to serve the community on Tuesday. His hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesday it is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Fridays the center is open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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