ARTcetera is no joke! Proceeds from the Miller-Dwan Foundation’s annual gala has created lifechanging health impacts for thousands of people from throughout our region. Through gala support we’ve created the Caring Ways Cancer Center, the Abilities First Fund, Solvay Hospice House and Amberwing – Center for Youth & Family Well-Being. We’ve supported the Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Unit renovation, the Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center relocation and a new Amberwing Substance Use Disorder program and Fellowship. This year, ARTcetera was a little different, but the funds raised were still lifechanging.
This year due to COVID restrictions, instead of ARTcetera, the Miller-Dwan Foundation held NOcetera. No party, no party dresses, no auction, no face-to-face interaction. Just good old fundraising from a fabulous community that cares about the health of our region that believes in what we do. And once again, with this amazing support, we can do great things. Thanks to our Board of Directors and our staunch and steadfast underwriters, we were able to offer a matching gift opportunity that allowed us to raise a net of $129,923.
NOcetera – who would have guessed that for two years in a row, we’d have to juggle and reshape the gala that for 22 years has gone on as planned. But our community, as usual, pulled out their very best. With these proceeds, the Miller-Dwan Foundation will add a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT – or more simply put – high-test, easy-to-learn coping skills), Coordinator/Trainer to our team. This person will provide mental health skills to our entire region. So, what’s so great about DBT skills?
DBT skills are the same coping skills that are taught at Amberwing. And the most amazing thing about them is that when they’re consistently practiced, they can actually change your brain. Picture your brain as a network of railway tracks. If you’re depressed, your tracks may routinely lead you to a dark tunnel filled with anxiety-provoking unknowns. Every time you learn and use a DBT coping skill, however, your brain puts down some new track – a track that can lead you to the sunny side of the hill or to a blue sky. Eventually, your brain more readily stays on the sunny, blue sky positive track disregarding the dark tunnel depression and anxiety track. Sometimes, the dark tunnel track disappears entirely. The more positive tracks you create, the better you feel and the more able you are to cope with whatever life can throw at you.
DBT skills can be taught and learned by anyone. The skills can help those who are truly struggling with a difficult mental health diagnosis, and they can help when you lock your keys in the car. They helped us when, once again, ARTcetera was cancelled due to COVID. They can help anybody any time.
Not only does the Miller-Dwan Foundation team use DBT coping skills, they’re now used throughout the hospital in all mental health realms. From inpatient psychiatric care and short-term intensive day programs, to families and friends of Amberwing kids and even in some local schools. And in every sector, the skills are making a difference. So, we said, why not teach these amazing skills to everyone? That’s our goal.
With that goal in mind, the Miller-Dwan Foundation looks forward to teaching DBT to any group, school, church, etc. who may be interested. Even our smallest citizen can learn DBT. We will offer everything from informational sessions to intensive train-the-trainer education provided by a highly certified mental health clinician. We’re excited to add programming to our list of mental health efforts. So say YES to mental health and get ready to schedule your DBT training.