The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) creates conditions that support healing and growth for individuals and the community as a whole through learning opportunities, advocacy, peer-to-peer support and the development of regional and national networks.
Our community is made up of many individuals including those who:
We approach our mission by:
What we offer:
The Western Mass RLC offers a number of different supports to individuals, providers and the general community. These include:
The vision of the RLC was built upon the work of years upon years of advocacy by individuals both locally and nationally who have experienced psychiatric diagnoses, extreme states, trauma, oppression and a variety of other challenges. Together, they argued that peer supports should be valued monetarily and funded throughout the state. In 2005, the Transformation Center supported people in the local area to form the Guiding Council of Western Mass (GCOW). GCOW was made up entirely of individuals who had 'been there,' who worked and/or lived in Western Mass and who were interestered in shaping the vision of the RLC's (then just a possible project the state was considering funding). GCOW members worked together for over a year to develop a mission statement, core values and a structure for the RLC in their region. When the Department of Mental Health released the RLC call for grant proposals in December of 2006, GCOW took leadership in developing a grant proposal and voted to join with the Western Mass Training Consortium as their partner agency.
GCOW and The Consortium were awarded the RLC grant in May of 2007. They opened the doors of their first Resource Center in Holyoke in July of that same year, followed by Pittsfield (October, 2007), Greenfield (January, 2008), and Springfield (May, 2009). Development of physical spaces has continued with a move by the Pittsfield Center from donated space in a church to independent space in September of 2009, the addition of a Community Wellness Center in Springfield in November 2010, the move of the Greenfield Center from shared space with the Recover Project to independent space in 2011, and the development and opening of the peer-run respite, Afiya, in 2012. However, focus on community supports and development has also continued to grow outside of the spaces, with groups, workshops and events regularly held in a variety of settings and individuals from the RLC community being supported to build connections throughout the region.
The Western Mass RLC is now one of six Reecovery Learning Communities funded throughout the state of Massachusetts. Visit the Transformation Center's website to learn more about other RLCs.
The RLC is largely funded through grants from the Department of Mental Health. However, the RLC continues to seek additional funding opportunities and has also received funds through arts councils, community development block grants, individual donations and local foundations. All funders and donors play a crucial role in supporting the RLC to reach as many people as possible, to offer stipends to individuals in recovery who take on valued roles within the RLC, and to offer a wide variety of free offerings to individuals who would otherwise not have acccess to wellness activities like acupuncture, reiki, yoga, computer classes and more.
Visit our donations page to make a contribution!
Our Umbrella Organization:
The RLC has found its home with the Western Mass Training Consortium. The Consortium creates conditions in which people with lived experience pursue their dreams and strengthen our communities through full participation. They have over 20 years of experience in supporting community development, peer work and peer participatory processes.
Other peer-to-peer communities supported by The Consortium include:
Visit The Consortium's website to learn more about their offerings!