MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -When you’re going through something stressful, or if you’re experiencing a crisis, it can help to talk to someone who knows what it’s like.
One center, opening inside Menomonie’s City Hall on the ground floor, is doing that while also bringing the community together.
“The Kaleidoscope Center is a peer-run center where people can drop in and have a safe place, a quiet place to kind of– see it as a community hub,” said David Stanley, the community coordinator with the Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance’s Kaleidoscope Center.
It’s a mental health drop-in center created 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 support staff 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 everybody from every different world view kind of just using that to help people,” said Mary Lemke, a peer support specialist.
Those different experiences help peer supporters to connect with anyone who walks into the center.
“Not everyone needs the same thing, and support does not look the same for everybody, so I mean it can be talking or it can be doing activities,” said Sammie Jasper, a peer supporter. “I’m a yoga teacher, and I’m a dancer, so I just usually find commonality in that wellness movement.”
To provide support, the center offers activities from art and games to spaces to sit down and chat. It also has an area for kids.
The Wisconsin Milkweed Alliance runs other support programs too from a help line called the warmline to the Monarch House, a peer run respite overnight program.
Peer supporters said this center fills a gap in care.
“I think a shorter term resource for people to come, and it’s not quite as big of a commitment,” Lemke said. “It’s not quite as scary. I think that’s awesome for us to have.”
“It means that there’s just more access to services and to compassionate and 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. It’s hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesday it’s open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays the center is open from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Copyright 2022 WEAU. All rights reserved.