Friday, October 20, 2017

Vincent House Welcomes our New CEO

What a remarkable woman of empathy and experience! Our newest addition here at Van Gogh's Palette -Raine Johns hired and our CEO- is indeed inspirational and carries herself well. I believe she will represent us with great expertise. First and foremost she brings fortitude to the table. She has, “been there and done that” one might say, in the mental illness field. Not only does she have a personal side to her journey, in that her daughter has been with PTSD from the mere age of 6. She currently holding down a job and attending college in San Diego. Raine learned throughout the experience how to be a friend to her daughter and to the people living with mental illness.

Ms. Johns comes to us from the Pinellas/Pasco Public Defender’s office with a 13 year career in an advocacy role for people living with mental illness.  Additionally, she has witnessed countless Baker Acts implemented, many unjustly. She worked diligently to see the release of such individuals without a voice, or means of defense in an, often times, debilitating system of unfairness. She knows the ropes, she is well connected, and is extremely committed to maintaining the fidelity of Vincent House and the foundation laid by Dianne and Elliott Steele. I, for one, say a great big thank you not only to her, but to the Board of Directors for their selection.   

I know Ms. Johns has her work cut out for her with our three current locations. However, being from Pasco County I stand very excited that she also has a vision for a Vincent House model in Pasco County, as well. We know she is the perfect woman to help us transform more lives of those who have mental illness.

Friday, October 6, 2017

New Crops in our Garden for Fall/Winter Season

Vincent House members were recently asked to fill out a survey to determine what what we should plant in our garden. The survey asked which leafy greens and legumes do members prefer to see planted. Well, the results are in and these are the seeds that we will be growing in our garden for the upcoming season:

Leafy Greens
  • spinach
  • kale
  • romaine lettuce
  • cabbage 
  • snow peas
  • pole beans

We hope to plant a lot of these seeds before November. Members and staff are also hard at work transitioning the garden to prepare for the Fall/Winter season. We will be pulling out some out-of-season plants, putting in compost soil, and planting more basils. We can’t wait to see how beautifully these crops grow and flourish here at Vincent House!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Vincent House Members Attend NAMI Picnic

On Saturday, September 30th, Vincent House members attended a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) picnic at Lake Seminole Park. This occasion kicks off Mental Illness Awareness Week which is October 1st to October 7th. According to the NAMI Pinellas’ Facebook page:

We believe that mental health conditions are important to discuss year-round, but highlighting them during Mental Illness Awareness Week provides a dedicated time for mental health advocates across the country to come together as one unified voice. Since 1990, when Congress officially established the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.

The Vincent House members who went participated in games and delighted in picnic foods such as chicken, pork, macaroni & cheese, various salads, cookies and lemonade. Moreover, The IRIS awards were given out to recipients with an outstanding contribution to mental health awareness.  Vincent House’s own Ligia Gomez and the Culinary Arts Team received the award last year. 

Before long, it was time to head back to Vincent House after a great outing. Thank you, NAMI for the wonderful time, and we’ll see you next year!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vincent House Participates in Pinellas Park Art Walk

On September 23rd, members of Vincent House participated in the Pinellas Park Art Walk at the 5600 Block Studios and Park Station. Vincent House had a booth at Park Station where we offered vinaigrette salad dressing for a suggested donation to raise awareness of our organization’s profile and motto of Recovery through Work. There were other amazing vendors there selling many other items including arts and crafts and jewelry. It was nice to see culture and creativity in our own community! Vincent House is looking forward to being part of the Art Walk again in the future.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Vincent House wins Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest

The Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest was an exciting way for Vincent House to participate in the greater community and display the talents of our Culinary Arts Team. Events such as these are a great way for the community to learn about Vincent House and its mission of Recovery through Work. Our Culinary Arts Team submitted a healthy, gluten-free Black Bean S’mores Cupcake, and it won first place in the specialty category. Congratulations Vincent House!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

NOVA Students Visit Vincent House

Last week NOVA Southeastern University Students, who are studying occupational therapy, visited Vincent House and were treated to a Discovery Tour of our Pinellas Park facility. By visiting Vincent House, the students learned how our program helps transform lives and overcome the stigma of mental illness through work. Discovery Tours have the benefit of making those who attend “ambassadors” of Vincent House who can help spread the word about our program. To learn more about Vincent House, visit our website to see upcoming Discovery Tour dates. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Great St. Pete Cupcake Competition

The Morean Arts Center is hosting the Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest. This year marks the 100th anniversary of this cupcake competition. To celebrate that, a hundred bakers are going to take part in the competition this year. Vincent House will be entering the contest for the second year in a row. We are entering cupcakes in both the regular and gluten-free categories. We will be taste testing flavors like gluten free black bean s’mores and banana curry to see what we would like to submit. It only costs $5 for all the cupcakes you can eat on the day of the event. You can even nominate your favorite cupcake for the People’s Choice Award. Hope to see you there on August 19 from 12-3pm. Wish us luck!
Cupcake creation from the competition in 2016.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce Mixer

Vincent House Hosts the Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce Mixer

We hosted the Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce Mixer on Monday, July 24th. The event was very well received and allowed the community to learn more about our Recovery through Work Program.  There were many tours given and many hors d`oeuvres consumed. Our Board Members, Noreen Hodges, Bill Mischler, and Denise McCabe welcomed the guests at the beginning of the program. Alex Favara, our member speaker, followed the Board members and her speech captured the audience. At our Tuesday afternoon Mission Meeting, Ligia, our Program Director, proclaimed the Mixer as a very significant event that made a big impression on many of the guests, some of whom were here for the first time.

            From my perspective, as a member and tour guide, I was favorably impressed by many of the Chamber of Commerce members. I gave a tour to the Chamber of Commerce President, Michael Whitaker, who is the Regional Sales Manager for Wellcare Health Plans. He was quite genial. Overall, the night was enjoyable and a great success. We look forward to the relationships we will build with local businesses and are thankful the Pinellas Park Chamber provided us with this opportunity.

Hors d'ouevres created by our Culinary Arts Team.

From left to right, Steve Hodges, Lucky Durmaz and Paul Ziegler.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New Truck for our Wellness Initiative

Vincent House was the recipient of a Humana Foundation grant to implement their wellness empowerment initiative. The funds received allowed us to purchase a new Dodge Silverado which will help expand our garden.  The fresh vegetables from our garden are being used in our own prepared meals. Additionally the grant will allow us to purchase more tools so we can produce more to share with the community.

The goal of this Wellness Initiative is to address health needs within the context of our vocational services.  This project will ensure that members have the opportunity to improve their health, quality of life, and longevity.  In addition to the items as described above, funds will help educate in nutrition, mind and body connection, and with wellness consultations.

 Overall, this new initiative has allowed members to work outdoors, learn new skills,   and take control of their own wellness.  We are grateful for this grant and words cannot express the enthusiasm we feel to make this Wellness Initiative an integral part of our recovery.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Celebrating New Employments

Congratulations to our members whom are starting their new employment opportunities. Ben Darnell is working on a temporary employment opportunity as a mail clerk at the Public Defender’s Office and Chris Valenot√© has a custodial position at Digigone. Also, congratulations to Genesis Gardner and James Matacchiero for starting their permanent jobs after successfully finishing their temporary assignments at Sirata Beach Resort as a Pool Hut Attendant and Busser at Rum Runners. These outstanding accomplishments that we celebrate at Vincent House help to show everyone in the community that just because you have a mental illness does not mean that you can’t be just as successful in this world! The temporary employment opportunities sometimes help lead to permanent employment and is something Vincent House prides itself in. We thank all of our employment partnerships for allowing us to not only transform individual’s lives, but to curb the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Starting to Recycle at Vincent House

Starting to Recycle at Vincent House

We are starting a new process at Vincent House that has never been done before: Recycling. Vincent House is part of a larger community. Recycling shows we care about that community. When we recycle, it prepares us for other settings, where recycling is already an integrated practice. This will help us in our work environments and transitional employment assignments which already recycle. Here are some things we will recycle in our bins:


}  Paper

}  Cardboard

}  Steel and tin cans

}  Aluminum cans

}  Plastic containers

}  Milk and juice cartons

}  Glass bottles and jars


}  Plastic bags

}  Styrofoam

}  Lids – mainly plastic bottles’ 

}  Pizza boxes

}  Phones, fax machines, computers

Recycling will add jobs for our teams. We will have to empty the bins into the dumpster daily and also clean the bins with sanitizer and a rag. Recycling is an important way to show we take care of our environment. Let’s get ready to recycle here at Vincent House!