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January 03, 1992 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-01-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Kadima Expands
With Peer Counseling

KIMBERLY LIFTON

Staff Writer

B

onnie Kowal has
beaten the odds.
Although afflicted
with cerebral palsy and a
psychiatric disability, Ms.
Kowal, 41, in April earned
her bachelor's degree in
sociology and hopes to begin
studies toward a master's
degree.
"You can't stereotype peo-
ple by case histories and
bunches of paper work," said
Ms. Kowal, first diagnosed
with mental illness in 1980.
Throughout her life, she
said, people told her she'd
never be able to finish
school.
For the past year, Ms.
Kowal has been an outreach
consumer of Kadima, Jewish
support services for adults
with mental illness. Beginn-
ing this month, she will start
her first paying job, taking
charge of a new Kadima
program called Peer
Counseling.
The program will place
those suffering from mental
illness in counseling ses-
sions with others afflicted
with a similar disability.
This is the first program of
its kind for Kadima.
"It is great to have con-
sumers counseling con-
sumers," said Kadima Ex-
ecutive Director Miriam
Iwrey. "We are talking
about empowering our con-
sumers to get them back into
society. If we treat people
like they are sick, they won't
progress."
Kadima, which was laun-

ched in 1984 to provide
residential care for Jewish
adults with mental illness,
has nearly tripled its
numbers of consumers in the
past two years. It has grown
from six people living in a
group home in Southfield to
40 consumers — .six in the
group home and the re-
mainder living in Kadima
apartments or taking part in
an outreach support or
counseling program.
Ms. Kowal came to
Kadima after it launched an
outreach counseling pro-
gram. She had been taking
college courses since 1968,
and she was determined to
finish her degree.
She had lived with her
parents and in her own
apartment. She had done
much volunteer work, in-
cluding working for the Jew-
ish Information Service and
serving on the board of the
Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
Until Kadima, she "fell
through the cracks of the
system. I got lost there."
"Kadima has given her a
place in the world," Ms.
Iwrey said. "She really has
beaten the odds."
Ms. Iwrey estimates that
the number of Jewish adults
with mental illness numbers
600 in Oakland County. She
wishes the community
would better understand the
illness — a chemical im-
balance and thought dis-
order.
Despite the poor economy,
Kadima is moving ahead
with expansion plans. And
by 1993, Kadima officials
say they hope to open two
new group homes. ❑

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Messianic Jews Move
Next To B'nai B'rith

NOAM M.M. NEUSNER

Staff Writer

A

Messianic Jewish
congregation holds
services in what used
to be the B'nai B'rith office
building. B'nai B'rith still
has offices in the building,
which is now called the Lin-
coln Office Center.
Two weeks ago, Congrega-
tion Beth Messiah moved
into its new quarters, which
are owned by the law firm
Garmo and Garmo. The
building was sold to the law
firm in November by the
Michigan B'nai B'rith Hillel
Fund, a non-profit corpora-
tion that helps fund Hillel

Foundations in the state.
Spiritual leader Harold
Brickner said the three-year-
old Beth Messiah holds ser-
vices twice a week at the
building, which is located at
25835 Southfield Rd. in
Southfield. Previously, the
congregation held services
at Birney Middle School.
"I do not feel that
anything we're doing should
be offensive to the commun-
ity," he said.
Mr. Brickner added that
B'nai B'rith did request that
the congregation refrain
from proselytizing in their
office.
But, he said, B'nai B'rith
has been cordial to the con-
gregation. ❑

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

15

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