Weekend show promotes mental-health awareness

Published 12:43 am Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

Lisa Hicks, joined by Allen Navarro and Joyce Lewis, worked steadily earlier this week putting the finishing touches on bloomers fashioned from dish cloths.
They were creating the novelty items for this week’s inaugural Mental Health Awareness and Craft Fair. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Lifequest Inc., 230 E. Eighth St., Washington, the former site of P.S. Jones Middle School and Washington High School.
Lifequest is a psychosocial rehabilitation center, said program director Adam Congleton.
Lifequest members have the opportunity to participate in several crafting classes, and the fruits of their labor will be offered for sale during the show.
“We had a craft booth during Christmas at Rocky Hock and did very well,” Congleton said.
Lifequest shares facilities with the Rocky Hock Playhouse, a Christian-themed theater now based in Washington.
Along with items created by Lifequest members, the show will feature the work of other area artists and craftsmen, Congleton said. For a small fee, those guests rented a table for this weekend’s show.
“We also offered a free space to anyone in the community receiving special-needs services, not just those from Lifequest,” he added.
Kelly Warren, a support staff person, is coordinating the show and sale. She said show merchandise includes jewelry, woodworking, hand-painted silk scarves, knitted items, birdhouses, home-decor pieces and sewing projects.
A hot-dog luncheon benefiting Lifequest’s Blankets of Hope community project is planned for Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The project provides fleece blankets, sewn by Lifequest members, to Washington police officers for on-the-job use.
“That way, if they go to a wreck or have a domestic call and a child is involved, the police officers have a blanket to give to the child and give them a little comfort,” Congleton said.
In conjunction with Lifequest’s goal of providing needed services, the show also will offer mental-health educational and informational booths. Among those hosting booths will be several businesses and community agencies that provide mental-health services.
“We want to get people in the community here and show them that these folks aren’t sitting home feeling sorry for themselves,” Congleton said of Lifequest’s members. “We want to bring a positive light to people who have some things to overcome.”
Lifequest Inc. presently serves approximately 40 members on a daily basis, Congleton said.
For more information about Lifequest Inc. and this weekend’s show, call 252-975-8080.