MENASHA, Wis. - Mental health issues don't discriminate. They affect every slice of society including women living in poverty who can't afford to get help, but a non-profit organization in Menasha is making sure no one is denied counseling.
"I have always felt a call to do the work that we do here at Samaritan, to be the bearers of hope," said Executive Director Rosangela Berbert.
She and her staff provided nearly 1,300 counseling sessions last year to women who didn't have the means to pay.
"It's wonderful to know that people have a place to turn when they need support, when they need guidance through difficult things like grief, like substance abuse, like domestic violence, that they can come here regardless of what their financial circumstances are," explained Lisa Strandberg, Development and Communications Director.
Berbert adds, "We rely on funds from the community to bridge the gap between what we collect from insurances, and what the client can pay and the cost of services."
So right now, the Center is raising funds during its Silent Samaritan Campaign. Donors are then invited to the Thank You Luncheon on May 10th at the Grand Meridian in Appleton. Women, such as Sandra Began who lost her husband to suicide, share their powerful stories and how the Center put them on a path to healing.
"Counseling has helped me find the strength to make tough decisions and guide the boys from misery to beauty," Began told the crowd last year.
"Women sometimes say that they look in the mirror, and they don't even recognize the person who's looking back at them after they've been through a really excellent course of therapy here," said Strandberg.
Berbert added, "They become stronger, and as a stronger woman, they're going to parent different. They're going to be more productive in the workforce and that trickle effect begins to be felt that way then."
The theme of the campaign is Women of Strength Helping Women in Need. Last year, the donation drive raised $37,000.
"I want to say a huge thank you. We would not be able to do what we do here if it wasn't for the generosity, the kindness of the community that we are in," said Berbert.
She's confident that the community will step-up once again to support the non-profit that helps so many with offices in Menasha, Oshkosh, Kaukauna and New London.