CarePlus Coffeehouse Breeds Compassion and Friendship

On Thursday, October 8th the CarePlus Peer Mentorship and Advocacy group held a World Changing Compassion Coffeehouse (“Coffeehouse”) to celebrate the clients of CarePlus during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Coffeehouse was adapted from the Turn-a-Frown-Around (TAFA) events that were held at Montclair State University as a means to End Loneliness on campus. The idea has recently been utilized at CarePlus to help spread awareness around the efforts of both TAFA and the Stigma-Free Initiative.

“We are proud and very grateful to say that CarePlus has been one of the strongest supporters of TAFA for over a decade,” shared Caitlyn Yerves, Director of Marketing for TAFA. “It was really special to see everything come full circle, to be celebrating our success at one of the main places where it all started.”

The event was held at the CarePlus Headquarters in Paramus and started in the Wellness Café, where guests were invited to meet, greet and eat. The TAFA excitement was spread through the use of the “Smile Catcher” and the “Good Detector”: “compassion tools” that have been used throughout the history of TAFA and the mission to End Loneliness. During this time there was also an open forum for discussion.

“There was an outpour of gratitude from the clients, which was an unexpected surprise,” continued Yerves. “It’s an honor to work alongside of people who really care about themselves and others, people who want to share their story and make a difference.”

After lunch Michael Weitzman, a Paramus Stigma-Free Task Force member, performed his motivational entertainment which aspires to inspire change in the way mental illness is viewed. Two of the Peer Mentorship and Advocacy group members also shared musical numbers with guests toward the end of the event.

This Coffeehouse, the second one held at CarePlus, had the vision of expanding the reach of the TAFA Mental Health Initiative in Bergen County. Guests, including local Stigma-Free Zone members and public officials, expressed interested and provided ideas as well as feedback on how TAFA can continue to grow.

The Peer Mentorship and Advocacy group members who helped to organize the event have been training to become “Forever Friends”, and recently began their volunteer work.

Stay tuned to hear more as this project progresses.

For more information, contact Caitlyn Yerves.