Help Us Care About Changing Seasons
I wasn’t sure what to expect after I talked to the woman on the phone. She had an accent I couldn’t quite place. I had no idea what the agency was like that I was about to visit.
I reached Changing Seasons, and the first thing I saw was a group of people gathered around a table playing Scrabble. They were sort of huddling over the game; they seemed really into it. I did a scan of the large room and saw people from end to end, engaged in various activities.
A woman stood up, leaving the Scrabble game, when she saw me enter the room. This was Maha, the woman I’d spoken with on the phone. I learned that she is Egyptian, which explains the unusual accent. She greeted me warmly and invited me to sit down.
Changing Seasons is a part of Coleman Behavioral Health, which provides behavioral health to adults. Coleman is funded by the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin counties. Changing Seasons is basically a safe haven where adults can come and socialize with other adults, a place that isn’t the streets where people sell drugs, a place that isn’t the bar, where people get drunk, a place that isn’t the outside world in general, where people are tempted to commit crimes.
I sat down with a few people when I was there, to get their feedback. Karen Sue said she likes Changing Seasons because it’s a place to come socialize and do a lot of activities. “I enjoy doing the artwork and playing games. I love to sing and do karaoke. I also love to write,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of new friends, and they’ve supported me in a lot of things.” She continued, “We’re also having an open house soon, and I’m looking forward to that. Not a lot of people in the community know about us,” she said.
I then sat down with George, who also said he likes Changing Seasons because it’s a place to socialize. “I like the people,” he said. “We’re just a bunch of friends. It helps my anxiety and gives me a positive attitude, raises my self-esteem,” he said.” He continued, “It’s a secure place to come. No harm is gonna come to anybody here.”
When I sat down with Lawrence, he said, “Changing Seasons is somewhere to go. If this place weren’t here, I’d be doing nothing. Here I can play pool, play ping pong, just keep busy.” He went on, “If this place weren’t here, I’d be in jail. This place keeps me out of trouble; I’m not out fighting or stealing now.” He said, “It’s a fun place to be and meet people. I try to come every day.”
Once I sat down with a few of Changing Seasons’ regulars, I talked to Maha about her thoughts. “People need something like this. It lessens crimes. People can come here and eat. That way if they’re hungry and have no money, they won’t be stealing from a store.” She also mentioned the open house that is coming up. “We are doing an open house for donations. Lots of people don’t know what Changing Seasons is,” she said. “This place is very much needed. If we had more money, we would update the bathrooms, paint the walls, get better furniture, and update the kitchen.”
Before I left, I told Maha that I’d love to volunteer and help with anything they needed. I was very moved by what I saw at Changing Seasons. Everyone was so nice and welcoming, and it just made me so happy to see a place like this. A place where the lost, the lonely, the misplaced, the addicted in recovery, can go. These are all great people who’ve finally found a place where they belong. And I want to support it in any way I can. As Maha stated, more funds are needed to improve Changing Seasons and keep it going. Keeping it going means that many people are safely inside playing Scrabble, not out on the streets committing crimes.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is trying to pass a levy which would provide more money, which in turn would help agencies like Changing Seasons. We care so much about all of the agencies and organizations that the MHRSB funds. Agencies like Changing Seasons. If you’re skeptical, I urge you to visit some of of these places and see how much they’re helping the community.
Please, help us care.