Celebrating the opening of a new facility in Le Mars

Friday, July 13, 2018
(Sentinel Photo by Breeanna Pierce) Community and chamber members gathered in the new Plains Area Mental Health Center Meeting Place for coffee, cookies and other refreshments during a Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce coffee, Wednesday, July 11. Plains Area President and CEO Kim Keleher, LBSW, and LSTC Director Rose Nicoson used the two and half foot long scissors to cut the blue ribbon held by two chamber members during a ceremony.

LE MARS — Plains Area Mental Health Center hosted a ribbon cutting and Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce coffee at their newly renovated Meeting Place, Wednesday, July 11, located in the old Family Pharmacy building behind Fareway.

Community and chamber members gathered in the new space for coffee, cookies and other refreshments while taking in the wood floors, taupe walls and white cabinetry. Sliding panels were moved out of the way to let visitors pass from the area designated for Meeting Place programs to the area where the Life Skills Training Center holds its day habilitation program.

Visitors as well as Meeting Place volunteers and LSTC staff and clients watched as Plains Area President and CEO Kim Keleher, LBSW, and LSTC Director Rose Nicoson readied the two and half foot long scissors around the blue ribbon held by two chamber members.

“Can we cut yet?” Keleher asked in anticipation.

The new location, 44 First Ave. N.E., is a joint venture between the two non-profits to provide spaces for people in the community in need of assistance. In addition, The PALS Center, Sioux Rivers Regional Mental Health Disabilities Services, United Way of Le Mars, and the Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County contributed to making the Meeting Place a reality.

“I do want to give thanks to certain people who donated money or gave us money for this to all happen,” Keleher said after the ribbon cutting. “United Way is a huge supporter of our program and we just want to thank them and thank everyone who contributes to United Way. Also Sioux Rivers Regional who gave us a huge chunk of money to purchase this building and do some remodelling.”

Donations from local businesses and organizations also helped bring the Meeting Place to life.

“A big thanks to Wells Blue Bunny, too, because they also gave $5,000 to help put in the automatic doors,” Keleher said.

“Also the American Legion and United Way for a lot of the furnishings and other things needed in the space,” Nicoson added. “We’ve always been so lucky here in Plymouth County for the community’s support.”

The renovations were done by Joe Neiman, who also received praise during the ribbon cutting.

“We are so proud of this space,” Nicoson said. “This far surpassed what I could dream up.”

“It’s beautiful,” Keleher agreed. “We love it.”

Plains Area announced in January they had purchased the building, two years after opening their original Meeting Place on Tenth Street Southeast.

“We will be doing some remodeling to accommodate the needs of the members and staff,” said Keleher.

The Meeting Place was created to provide a supportive environment for people struggling with chronic mental illness to connect with others and pursue recovery.

“The purpose is to provide support, socialization and education to the members,” Plains Area explained in the January press release. “It provides members the opportunity to increase their social skills, develop friendships and reduce isolation through various activities.”

The new space is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

“It is a drop-in center for people with serious mental illness and it is peer run,” Keleher explained before introducing the Meeting Place’s coordinator, Vera Ludwig, and recognizing the peers in attendance. “We will be starting some skills groups and some peer support services, so that’s exciting.”

The Meeting Place can be reached at 712-546-4624.

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