Ozark Center receives gift from Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation

Thursday, March 25, 2010 - Ozark Center receives gift from Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation

JOPLIN, Mo.—At a special presentation held Wednesday, March 24, 2010, Commerce Bank Joplin President Fred Osborn presented Ozark Center with a $16,000 check from Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation. This gift is in support of young adults with mental illnesses on the PATH (Pre-adult Transitional Housing) to independence.

Once individuals exit the foster care system or mental health residential system, they often have nowhere to go and no knowledge of how to make it in adult society.

The Ozark Center PATH to Independence Program will provide a housing option to youth ages 17 through 21 who have a mental illness. PATH seeks to change patterns for the young adults in this program by offering this transitional housing opportunity, as well as services to help them adjust to adult life and teach them how to effectively cope with mental illness. 

The program requires each tenant to contribute a minimum of 30 percent of their income toward rent; participate in program activities, education, employment, or community service for 40 hours per week; and save money to support independent living goals. 

Services at PATH include basic life-skill building; personal finances assistance; housekeeping; interpersonal-skill building; decision making and stress management; GED preparation, postsecondary training, or vocational education; assistance with job preparation, career counseling, and job placement; attainment of a driver’s license; Social Security card and birth certificate assistance; education, information, and counseling to prevent, treat, and reduce substance abuse; mental healthcare, including individual and group counseling and in-home community support services; and assistance with Medicaid
health benefits and physical healthcare.

The funds from Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation will be used to purchase furniture and furnishings for the housing units.

“We are so grateful to Commerce Bank Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation for their support of this important project,” Ozark Center CEO Paula Baker explained. “There is a great need for housing and services for young adults with mental illnesses. PATH will give them safe, affordable housing in a setting designed to maximize their efforts at independent living. This gift will help make PATH a home.”

Funding for facility construction made possible through a $350,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

PATH will be located at 34th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue. Jay McConnell, Kansas City, serves as general contractor. PATH completion expected April 15, 2010.

About Ozark Center
An integral component of Freeman Health System based in Joplin, Missouri, Ozark Center provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults, and families in an area that includes more than 450,000 residents from Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Ozark Center continually looks for innovative ways to address the mental health needs of the community and promote awareness of mental illness in an effort to eliminate the discrimination associated with it. For more information, call 417.347.7600.

For media inquiries, please contact Freeman Media Coordinator.