FRN Family Recognition Celebrations

2016 FRN Family Recognition Celebration

On Saturday, April 23, 2016 the Family Resource Network held its Family Recognition Celebration at Community Behavioral Health.

This year’s event,  again provided about 300 family members, their loved ones and staff an opportunity to hear from Joan Erney, Community Behavioral Health’s CEO, Arthur Evans, DBHIDS Commissioner, and Dr. Larry Real, DBHIDS Medical Director, and Wilfredo Rodriquez, CBH Member Services.

An additional feature to this year’s event was the Family Member Panel moderated by Edie Mannion, and panelists Patricia Butcher, Jazmin Banks, Melodie Jackson, Zulma Muldonado. As both family members and professionals in the behavioral health system, they highlighted the values of being families maintaining their own well- being through support and education, and continuing to be involved and having hope in their loved one’s recovery.

The highlight and key focus of this event is to acknowledge families or significant people for their immeasurable support of their loved one. Nominations were provided from the Family Resource Network membership and the Family Inclusion project partners (Community Treatment Teams, Comhar, JEVS Residential). This year there were three categories of awards: Honorees, Family Leadership, and Excellence in Family Leadership.

  1. The Family Honorees were:

Contance Roberson, Eran & Andrea Preis, Wanda Stanford, Gwen Griffin, Mercedes Cruz, Cariluz Franco, Evan Kaplan, Sean Brinda, Veronica Carrington, Wanda Cummings, Grisel Feliciano, Terasa Johnson, Marva Brown, Andrew Emenimadu, LynnCzarnecki, Simon Stratton, Christina Szczepanski, Pat McKee, Cathy George, Joan Vieldhouse, Sharon White, Susan Guggenheim, Beth Perkowski.



  1. The Family Leadership Awards went to:

Ramon Castro “For working to break the barriers to Family Inclusion in Recovery Transformation within the Spanish- speaking community through education, trainings, and cultural sensitivity via the National Alliance on Mental Illness and in working with Comhar’s family members, participants, and staff.”

Anita Johnson-Young: “Working to break through the barriers to Family Inclusion in Recovery Transformation by lived experience, and with Community Treatment Teams’ family members, participants, and staff.”

Mary Selix: “Channeled her family struggles into helping countless families by being the president of Northwest NAMI for over 20 years, working at Norristown State Hospital as an Advocate for families, and serving for many years on the boards of CST and CTT as a family member.”


  1. The Excellence in Family Leadership Award went to:

Kathleen Cantwell: “From the members and families of the Family Resource Network for working tirelessly on behalf of Philadelphia families facing mental health challenges through connecting them to resources, promoting family inclusion in the behavioral health system and creating and organizing the annual Family Recognition Celebration. Kathy’s passion for helping families comes from her personal experience as a loving caregiver for her mother.”



Families could pick up a variety of resource and educational materials and talk to multiple representatives such as: Consumer Satisfaction Team, Mental Health Association of SEPA's Training & Education Center and Parents Involved Network, National Alliance on Mental Illness-Philadelphia Office, Community Behavioral Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, Shalom, Child and Family Connections, Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania, PROACT, and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid.

Attendees participated in asking questions, networking, resource gathering, the fellowship of familiar faces, and enjoyed a plentiful and delicious hot meal.  There was more than enough food so that people could make a meal to take home with them.

Over 50 door prizes were donated by the members of the Family Resource Network. 

2016 Family Recognition Celebration, Family Feedback:  Before & After


Before: acknowledging and understanding my brother’s disability is important for him and our entire family.

After: Feeling hopeful that more families/support persons are publicly acknowledging their loved one’s disabilities. We’ve come a long way as family members/support persons.

Valerie Byrd



Before: I was aware of certain resources.

After: I came away from the celebration with many valuable resources. 

- Judy Long



Before: not understanding the behavioral health system.

After: they had a better understanding of our behavioral health system. 

- William Butler



Before: I was eager to be involved again, to meet new families to help empower families.

After: I am grateful that the Family Resource Network is able to have such an affirming event, so that families can meet & network with other family members and advocates, and simply have an opportunity to unwind & enjoy themselves. 

- Jazmin Banks



Before: I didn’t understand how much families wanted to be involved.

After: With such a great turnout, I realized that Philly has a large force of families who desire to be involved in the system of care.  

- JodyAnn Newell