April 2024

All Center News

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center of St. Clair County Inc.

505 South Eighth Street  •  East St. Louis, IL  62201


This newsletter’s purpose is to share information about The Center’s people and activities in each department and by each employee, in order to highlight the contributions made by all in helping The Center reach its goals. 

 The Center’s Internet address is:
You can also check us out on Facebook.

Front Desk
(618) 482-7330

 Hours of Operation
8:00am – 5:00pm [/expander_maker]

April’s Employee of the Month

 Let’s all congratulate Joseph Cobetto on his well-deserved nomination for April’s Employee of the Month.

Mr. Cobetto was nominated because he is incredibly generous and kind to his fellow employees. He selflessly goes out of his way on a daily basis to improve the lives of everyone around him.

Beyond his selflessness, kindness and generosity, he is a consummate team player, not to mention, Joseph is always focused on the big picture and doing what must be done to put The Center first. 

He deserves the nomination and continually has an attitude of putting the organization first.

 Another Reason: Joseph Cobetto provides the organization with critically needed analytical data, as well as developing some of the interesting crossword puzzles for the newsletter that I have ever seen. He is an asset to the organization.

 I think those reasons are truly honorable. Joseph is  highly intelligent and you can ask him any questions regarding history of whatever, and he will have an answer for you.

Mr. Harper Will Receive The Humanitarian Award!

Mr. Harper will be honored by the Metro Area Professional Organization and will be receiving the Serving Humanity award. He will receive his honor on Saturday, May 18.

MAPO is for humanity, a non-profit organization a (501c), whose mission is to share and care for the homeless and hungry, networking with shelters who are in need of supplies and offering scholarships to our youth.

It is wonderful to see his dedication and devotion to bettering our community recognized yet again!

Give STL Day!!!

Give STL Day will return on May 9, 2024.

The St. Louis Community Foundation’s Give STL Day celebrates and supports the nonprofits that make our region a wonderful place to call home.

Over the past decade, Give STL Day has raised more than $30 million for over one thousand local nonprofits.

Now, we’re getting ready for the next Give STL Day on May 9, 2024. Early giving begins April 24!

This year’s donations will help with some of our most in need friends and neighbors at the Drop-In Center.

With thousands of visitors coming through the door in the year, donations to the Drop-In Center have a tremendous ability to make positive waves in our community. This ripple effect means just a few donations can literally impact dozens, if not hundreds of lives.

Donating will be as simple as scanning a QR code or clicking a link.

In less than 3 minutes, you can touch dozens of lives!

Give STL Day will return on May 9, 2024.

The St. Louis Community Foundation’s Give STL Day celebrates and supports the nonprofits that make our region a wonderful place to call home.

Over the past decade, Give STL Day has raised more than $30 million for over one thousand local nonprofits.

April’s Birthdays

Wishing a BIG happy birthday to all of those in the CBHC family!


Melissa Keller
Girtha Amerson
Julie Simshauser
Keona Pittman
Joseph Cobetto
Sheryl Hardy

Who’s New

We are thrilled to welcome our newest members of the CBHC family!

Kushanne Dotson SMARTS/ARTS House Brionna Goodwin
Keturah Perkins, LPN
 Steven Owens
Building Operations and Maintenance
Michelle Wilson
Kathy Morris
Keith Kuhn
Mackenzie Clubb

Can You “Run” 328 Ft To Support Our Local Veterans?

The Center is proud to sponsor O’Fallon’s Original .1K. Yes, you read that right, a .1K. This 320 ft race on April 20, in O’Fallon Illinois supports VFW Post 805.

This short run goes a long way toward helping veterans and military families through VFW Post 805.   

At the length of just one city block with a water break in the middle, it’s truly a “run” everyone can finish. Race at your own pace!

The race is just the beginning. There will be plenty of costumes, fun, festivities, and vendors, to enjoy as a reward for almost breaking a sweat as you trot across the finish line.

The deadline to register is April 15th.
For more info or to sign up, click here.

Annual Health on May 17

On May 17th, our organization’s East campus will transform into a vibrant hub of health and wellness as we host our annual Health Fair!

Whether you’re looking to connect with other community organizations that may benefit our consumers, or simply gather valuable health information, our Health Fair is the perfect opportunity for you.

Recovery Conference 2024

SAVE THE DATE!  The second annual Recovery Conference will be held Thursday, May 23. at the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center.  We are very fortunate to have as our keynote speaker Nanette V. Larson, CRSS, CPRS and Deputy Director of Wellness & Recovery Services at the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health. 

Ms. Larson provides leadership and consultation to further the development of recovery-oriented services and advances the division’s recovery initiatives, including Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP®) and Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) training and development. Ms. Larson serves as the President Emeritus of the Division of Recovery Support Services for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and is a nationally recognized leader in the mental health recovery movement, providing countless presentations to diverse audiences on recovery, spirituality, and related topics.

Her passion for this work comes from her personal experience of recovery from mental illness, and her message of hope is for everyone affected by these conditions. In her memoir, From Shattered to Restored (2019), Nanette shares her journey from a life of constant hopelessness and despair, deep depression, crippling anxiety, and suicidality to one full of victorious hope and purpose 

Ms. Larson has represented IDHS/DMH in multiple capacities, including serving as chair of the Patient Needs Workgroup for the Healthy Illinois 2021/State Innovation Model. In 2014 Ms. Larson was the recipient of the Professional of the Year Award from the Illinois Certification Board. In 2015, she received the IDHS Platinum Customer Service “Going the Extra Mile” (PCS GEM) Award. Beginning in May 2016, Ms. Larson served as the DMH Ambassador for Wellness & Recovery and now serves at the executive level as Deputy Director. 

Nanette is a nationally recognized leader & subject matter expert in holistic wellness, mental health recovery and recovery-oriented practices. She has co-authored several professional journal articles, including “Peer Support, Self-Determination and Treatment Engagement: A Qualitative Investigation,” published in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal (July, 2013); “Initial Outcomes of a Mental Illness Self-Management Program Based on Wellness Recovery Action Planning,” published in Psychiatric Services (February 2009); and “The Recovery Vision & Evidence Based Practices: More than Just a Song & Dance,” in the Psychiatrist Administrator (2002). Ms. Larson recently published her first book, From Shattered to Restored: Recovering Hope. Discovering Purpose. (Redemption Press, 2019).

A Blast from the Past-The Center’s 15th Anniversary

The 15th anniversary of our building’s grand opening was April 24, 2009. Before our current building came to be, individual departments were spread out in various buildings throughout the community.

The grand opening was quite a celebration. To read the full  Grand Opening article.

Groundhog Enclosure

If you’ve been around the back of the building lately, you’ve probably noticed some fence posts being installed.  What could this possibly be?

Are we expanding the Drop-In Center’s outdoor area? 

While that might seem like a good guess, the fact of the matter is that we are installing something FAR MORE EXCITING. 

It is in fact, a new groundhog enclosure.  The AI generated groundhogs of the last few newsletters have been so popular that CBHC is officially adopting the groundhog as its mascot.

As soon as we can figure out how to prevent them from tunneling out of their enclosures, we will be welcoming Arnold and Irma, the CBHC AI Groundhogs, and hope that they will be starting a family once they’re settled in.


You might be wondering why a Community Behavioral Health Center needs a mascot.  It’s true that it’s an unusual step for an organization like ours, but we will soon be starting sports teams in order to validate our need for mascots.  Be on the lookout for the CBHC Coed Softball Groundhogs, Coed Senior Lacross Groundhogs, Men’s Uno Groundhogs, and Ladies’ Horseshoe Groundhogs.  

If you’re interested in one of these sports, watch your email for more information on tryouts.  The uniforms are covered head to toe in faux groundhog fur, so be sure to drink plenty of water if it’s hot on tryout day. 

From Arnold and Irma as well all of us here at The Center Newsletter team, we hope you enjoyed your April Fools Day. 

Training Update!

Hello everyoneWe’ve got some exciting updates coming when it comes to training at CBHCDon’t forget, if you are support staff or do not require CEUs, we will be moving you out of ReliasIf you’re still in Relias and don’t need to be, or if you’ve been removed and should be in Relias, reach out to Jordan:   

It’s time for the annual OIG Rule 50 training.  Please take the pre-test, read through the PowerPoint presentation, and then take the post-test below the presentation.  If you are a new hire who has joined CBHC in the last 90 days, you have already met your training requirement for this year and do not need to repeat the training.  

That training (and all our trainings for non-Relias staff are on the training page:   

Be sure to bookmark the page and check back regularly for new trainings.  If you supervise client medication in any way be sure to watch the new Medication Training covering the new medication policy and how to use the new Medication Monitoring Record. 

I know many of you are wondering about CPR training.  We are currently outfitting a room to be a dedicated training room, and when it is ready we will offer a combined Adult and Pediatric CPR/First Aid/AED training.  During this training, we will also get everyone current on OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens and Narcan training.  When you sign up PLEASE NOTE, there is an online course that must be done before you attend the class.  The in-person class will last 6 hours, and you must be present for the entire class in order to earn your certification. 

We will be releasing a SignUp Genius like we have been using for CPI.  Be on the lookout for info on CPR and more CPI trainings. 

The Drop-In Center’s Anniversary

Believe it or not, it’s been one year since the Drop-In Center opened. This safe, warm, and welcoming space has done a great deal for the St. Clair County community and The Center.

The Drop-In Center is having a 1-year opening celebration on Friday, 4/12/24 for staff and Drop-In Center guests from 11:00am-1:00pm. Hotdogs, chips, and dessert will be served. 

Almost universally, visitors to the drop-in center have nothing but wonderful things to say about the facility, staff, and their experience. Most visitors are so thankful for the Drop-In Center, we noticed them taking pride in ownership. Many clean up after themselves. We’ve also noticed many visitors policing themselves and letting visitors who don’t follow the rules know their behavior needs to change.

Here are just a few steps from our first 12 months.

  • There’s an average of at least 10 guests a day requesting shower and/or laundry services.
  • Multiple guests signed up for mental health services, and substance abuse services, and some signed up for both.
  • To date, there have been a total of 4,718 guests. 898 of Those guests are unduplicated


Show Some Love, Donate Ready-To-Eat Food at the Drop-In Center

The Drop-In Center is collecting ready-to-eat shelf-stable food items and water bottles!  Granola/protein bars, individual bags of snacks, tuna salad kits: any food that doesn’t require refrigeration, heating, or a can opener. 

As you know, since opening less than a year ago, the Drop-In Center has been providing amazing services and helping to connect potential clients to our other services.  It’s been a great way for us to provide earlier interventions and has served hundreds of clients thousands of times! 

BUT, the Drop-In Center relies on donated supplies to serve clients.  Each month this year we will feature a monthly donation need. 

This is your chance to help out, invite your friends and family to help out or motivate your community organization or church to serve the unhoused population of St. Clair County and surrounding communities. 

For April, the Drop-In Center is collecting ready-to-eat shelf-stable food items and water bottles!  Granola/protein bars, individual bags of snacks, tuna salad kits: any food that doesn’t require refrigeration, heating, or a can opener.
The Drop-In Center is taking donations of these food items that clients will be able to take with them so they can have something to eat over the weekend.
We would also love water bottles so that clients will be able to refill them with water or juice at the Drop-In Center and take a beverage with them.  If you or someone you know would like to contribute, please leave your items in the large box outside of the Drop-In Center doors.
Love is on our minds in February. What better way to show love for your neighbors than to do what you can to make sure no one goes hungry.

Pet Connection

April’s Pet Connection spotlights Carl Swope from the Living Room and his dog Blu. Here’s what Carl would like us all to know about Blu. 

Blu is an 11-year-old Australian Cattle Dog that I adopted from the Humane Society in 2013.

She is still very playful and energetic and the one true constant in my life. Blu’s loyalty and friendship is undeniable.

We Want Your Pets!!!


Thanks to all the chatter we hear as we move through the building, we know The Pet Connection is incredibly popular.

It’s a fact, probably since the beginning of time, we’ve loved hearing about one another’s pets.
But we can’t do without you.

We need pets to feature!

So, if you have a furry, slimy, slithery, or even feathery family member you’d like to tell us about.

Simply, send an email to Jordan Dollar ( We’d love to hear about little Fluffy, Fido, or Skittles

Crossword Puzzle

The first person who submits the most correct answers to the front desk will receive a ticket for a free lunch. Hard copies are available at the front desk.


Crossword Puzzle Winner

April’s Crossword Puzzle Champion is Deanna Kelsay. Deanna is an Engagement Specialist in the Drop-In Center.

March’s Crossword Puzzle Answer Key



The Solar Eclipse

The eclipse on April 8th was truly out of this world. While we didn’t see a 100% eclipse, what we did enjoy was nearly a complete solar eclipse.

According to the folks at NASA, the next eclipse visible in Illinois will not happen until 2099. So, will have to reflect on and enjoy the spectacular sites we enjoyed earlier this week.

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