Marie Koerper named Caminar's Volunteer of the Year during grant ceremony.
SAN MATEO, CA- FEBRUARY 2, 2016: Caminar is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the Peninsula Health Care District’s (PHCD) Community Grants Program. This grant will support Caminar’s Bridges to Wellness, a program that integrates primary and behavioral health care services while reducing preventable medical conditions and improving health outcomes.
“The PHCD is one of the initial funders and collaborators of Bridges to Wellness,” said Caminar CEO Charles “Chip” Huggins. “They (PHCD) were there when Bridges to Wellness was born so this grant means so much.”
“The Peninsula Health Care District is proud to support local organizations that have made an impact on our community,” said District Board Chair Lawrence W. Cappel, Ph.D. “Our Community Grants Program supports health-focused organizations that bring much needed services to District residents. We are honored to support their important work, which helps us carry out our mission.”
Bridges to Wellness (BTW) offers a unique, integrated approach to primary and behavioral health care services for adults suffering from severe mental illness and chronic health conditions. BTW helps this vulnerable population prevent, reduce and manage their chronic health conditions through the adoption of healthier lifestyle choices related to diet, physical activity, and substance abuse. Being diagnosed with both mental illness and chronic medical conditions, these clients face exceptionally challenging obstacles in managing their mental and physical health. BTW is able to provide the specialized attention necessary to improve clients’ overall health and prevent health issues. The program empowers participants to make positive, life-long changes to improve their overall mental and physical health, and to prevent the onset or worsening of chronic conditions.
“The grant from PHCD is important because individuals with mental illness do not usually receive this type of integrated, preventative maintenance and care,” Huggins said. “So this program has a lot of importance in their lives.”
At the eighth annual Community Partners Awards Ceremony on January 28, PHCD awarded the 2016 grants to local organizations. In addition, each organization had an opportunity to recognize a key volunteer who helps support their mission and makes a significant contribution to the community. At the ceremony, Caminar recognized Board of Directors member Marie Koerper, who played an integral role in seeing Caminar realize its first ever mental health symposium in May of 2015.
Koerper is an engaged community mental health advocate and a past President of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) San Mateo County where she served seven years on the board. Marie has served in advisory roles for San Mateo County Community College District and San Francisco State University and is currently a NAMI CA Advisor. She also worked as an Administrator for San Jose Unified School District, Nutrition and Food Services Division. Marie received her MPA, concentration Public Affairs, from Notre Dame de Namur University and B.S. Nutritional Science from San Jose State University. She is a member the Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley and the World Affairs Council Northern CA.
“I believe volunteers are crucial to our mission,” Huggins said. “They’re critical in advocating for us and our clients. Marie is definitely one of our most dedicated mental health advocates. She was invaluable in helping us organize the mental health symposium where we talk about breakthrough research that can help individuals with mentally illness in our communities.”
Every year, PHCD awards grants to local organizations that address local health priorities and help carry out the vision of the District: that all residents enjoy optimal health through education, prevention, and access to needed health care services. Community Grant recipients are chosen based on a review of local health care needs and the evolving priorities of District communities. In 2016, Caminar is one of 29 local organizations to receive a grant from PHCD, a community investment of $1.9 million. Since 1996, PHCD has invested more than $30 million to local organizations through the Community Grants Program.