Springfield, Ohio — Clark County voters face an important referendum on Election Day 2009, and a group of industrious Wittenberg University students have gotten involved. After learning about the state of the county's mental health services, the students recently organized a fundraising event in support of the renewal of the Mental Health and Recovery Board levy on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The Clark County Mental Health Service supports approximately 8,400 people of mental illness and alcohol or drug problems. Reports indicate that funds for these services have been cut 35 percent so far in 2009, but the need for mental health services has increased by 89 percent and for alcoholism/drug use by 70 percent since 2000. The levy does not raise taxes, but $1 million will be allotted to the Clark County Mental Health Service.
Students in Professor of Sociology Keith Doubt's Sociology 380 class organized a fundraiser to support the levy. Led by Alexandra Bickel, class of 2012 from Columbus, Ind., the students organized a Halloween party to raise money and increase awareness not only for levy's passage, but for support of the people in need in Clark County.
"For Professor Doubt's class, we were required to do 10 hours of community service at the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Center, also known as NAMI, here in Springfield," Bickel said. "I felt an instant click with the patients and wanted to do something special for them."
Originally planning to throw a Christmas party, the students quickly had to shift their focus due to the possibility that the center might not be open at that time if the levy does not pass on Nov. 3. Therefore, students threw a Halloween party to insure that the NAMI patients would get a much-deserved sense of happiness.
"Most patients don't have families nearby and have nowhere else to go," Bickel said. "At NAMI, we have been making signs to put around Springfield and praying that the election on Nov. 3 goes in our favor."
Written by: Trent Brunic '10