THIS MONTH: Storytelling series begins, $1,972 grant & much more!
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'OneHeart One Story' with Shawn Bitz

There is hope. Believe me.

That was one of many encouraging messages shared with OneHeart guests during the inaugural “OneHeart One Story” event on campus last month.

Featured storyteller Shawn Bitz spoke to nearly 20 people at the HomeBrew Coffee Shop on the evening of March 17. His audience included OneHeart guests, staff, board members, and provider partners.

Bitz is an author and former professional musician who recorded five studio albums with his band, Abby SomeOne, before retiring from music in 2009. His published books include the titles “Butterfly Pit Crew” and “The Slim Chance Tour.”

Bitz has worked in the mental health field for more than 25 years. He has many years of sobriety to his name and shared stories about his recovery from mental illness and addiction.

“These are winnable wars,” he said, adding that he has been to in-patient treatment for mental illness and/or addiction four times in his life, the first time as a 19-year-old college student. Bitz refers to that first stint as a mental “breakdown” but the other three as “breakthroughs” because of what he learned from them. He said he started getting better when he started listening to the people who were trying to help him.

OneHeart staff intentionally planned the private event for March 17 to offer guests a sober alternative to typical St. Patrick’s Day activities. Bitz topped the list of people considered to kick off the “OneHeart One Story” series due, in part, to a social media post in 2021 in which he told people suffering from mental illness and addiction that they are not alone. In it, he wrote:

You are not a mistake. You are not weak. It takes tremendous courage to face ourselves down in the mental illness ring. Be gentle with you. Patient. CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES … no matter how small they seem. It’s all about momentum. Baby steps lead to wonderful adventures and journeys. I know this to be true. Believe me. If you are continuing to try, you are winning.


Below: Shawn Bitz speaking at 'OneHeart One Story' on March 17.

OneHeart Highlights: Another graduate!

OneHeart is celebrating our first program graduate of 2022! This individual left the campus community with a steady income, permanent housing, and having met 70 percent of the goals she set. Congratulations and good luck!

OneHeart awarded $1,972 grant

Lloyd Companies, a full-service real estate and development company based in Sioux Falls with a growing presence in Rapid City, chose OneHeart to receive one of two $1,972 grants in March.

Lloyd is celebrating their 50th anniversary by selecting two nonprofits each month to receive grants of $1,972 - the year of their founding.
Luke Neely, Regional Development Director at Lloyd Companies, visited OneHeart with the big check on March 30. OneHeart will allocate the grant funds to its Transportation Program, which helps guests obtain and maintain employment, get to and from school, and keep off-campus appointments.

Thank you, Lloyd Companies, and happy anniversary!
Wall of Fame
The new “Wall of Fame” in the lobby of OneHeart’s residential towers will honor program graduates and current guests as they celebrate successes, large and small.

OneHeart’s Building and Grounds staff painted the chalkboard wall several weeks ago. Lead Care Coordinator Ashleigh Young and Marketing Manager Karabeth Borresen completed the design in late March.

We are excited to see guests and their accomplishments on display on the Wall of Fame!
CHS students tour campus

OneHeart welcomed approximately 60 Central High School students and teacher Wendy Conrad to campus in March.

The teens are all enrolled in Central’s Introduction to Human Services & Education course where they learn about careers in counseling, mental health, law, security, and teaching, among other subjects. Four tours of roughly 15 students each made their way around the 4-acre campus over the course of two days. Perhaps some of them will return someday as OneHeart employees!


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