Compeer receives award from NAMI Greater Cleveland

Jody Bell, Compeer Program Peer Support Specialist, and Denise Ayres, Compeer Program Coordinator, accept the Eugene Brudno Memorial Award from NAMI Greater Cleveland on April 13.

Compeer staff members Jody Bell, Program Peer Support Specialist, and Denise Ayres, Compeer Coordinator, were honored to be the recipients of the Eugene Brudno Memorial Award of NAMI Greater Cleveland on April 13. The honor was one of seven awards presented by Michael Baskin, Executive Director of NAMI Greater Cleveland, in recognition of outstanding achievements by individuals and organizations for their work with or on behalf of mental health consumers. 

The Eugene Brudno Memorial Award is given to recognize “the provider or organization that has demonstrated innovative work with peers and/ or families.” Eugene Brudno was one of the founders of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Cleveland. Eugene Brudno and his wife, Irene, dedicated themselves, for many years, to make sure there were quality services for individuals in recovery from mental illness. Their daughter had been diagnosed with mental illness and they worked to help a countless number of individuals and families. NAMI Greater Cleveland established this award to honor Eugene Brudno.

The Compeer Program, located at Far West Center in Westlake, was voted to receive the Eugene Brudno Memorial Award because it offers outstanding peer support and has added new groups and community activities that strive to decrease isolation and empower individuals on their path to recovery. 

Among those added activities are Garden Club in the Bay Village Community Garden, Computer Lab at Porter Public Library, Club West, NAMI “Hearts and Minds” holistic health program, Spa Days, dancing and exercise with retired college instructor Louis B. Naylor, and an upcoming Job Club. 

As Jody Bell, Program Peer Support Specialist, has stated, “Compeer has made incredible improvements in what it offers to consumers in recovery in the face of decreasing non-Medicaid dollars.” In Compeer groups, the focus is on ability, and not disability. 

The NAMI Greater Cleveland Awards Ceremony was attended by Cuyahoga County peer support specialists, NAMI members and volunteers, Chief William Denihan and staff members of the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County, and directors and representatives of community mental health agencies. 

Others that were recognized for their outstanding services for mental health included: George Staursky, advocate and writer; Dr. Patrick Runnels, MD, Cleveland police officer; Melissa Dawson, Beachwood Police Chief; and Mark S. Sechrist, Esther Rodriguez and Alina Martinet of WVIZ/PBS. 

Compeer at Far West Center plans to continue to offer support, empowerment, and community involvement to adult consumers of mental health services with skill-building groups and matches with volunteers. Compeer needs additional adult volunteers to offer friendly encouragement to individuals in recovery. Please contact Compeer at 440-835-6212, ext. 242, or email: compeer@farwestcenter. For more information, visit: and

Denise Ayres

Denise Ayres is the Compeer Program Coordinator.

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Volume 3, Issue 9, Posted 4:41 PM, 05.03.2011