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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Puff Ladies Spread Good Will and Cheer –Voted Volunteers of the Year by the Mental Wellness Center

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – The Puff Ladies are weekly visitors at the Psychiatric Health
Facility (PHF - or Puff for short) in Santa Barbara who have received the 2014 Volunteer of the Year
Award by the Mental Wellness Center for their selfless and compassionate hours of service. Annmarie
Cameron, Chief Executive Officer, and Joe Cooper, Board Chair, for the Mental Wellness Center
presented the women with the award at the Board of Directors Annual Meeting on November 19,
2014. “The Puff Ladies have provided good cheer and good treats with a special emphasis on holiday
traditions for over twenty years,” noted Annmarie Cameron.The group doesn’t discriminate against men and would accept a male volunteer. For now, however, they are all Puff Ladies. Current volunteers include Eva Taborsky (with over twenty years of service); Jan Luc (eighteen years); Jill McKay (six years); and Annette Winters (three years). Recently retired volunteers include Jill Farrence (with ten years of service), Shirle Casier (fifteen years), and Jan Winter (more than three years). The PHF in Santa Barbara is a sixteen-bed facility that provides short-term treatment for people with acute mental health emergencies. People who land in the PHF are typically in psychiatric crisis and may feel isolated and disconnected even from their friends and relatives. In their visits, the Puff Ladies emphasize a positive and caring demeanor to the men and women. The Puff Ladies try to convey that their visits are not a duty but that they come as friends who care about the present and have hope for the future. The treats they bring and their smiles and conversation add a little sweetness to Friday afternoons.“For approximately twenty years, Eva, the two Jans, the two Jills, Annette, and Shirle have been coming to the PHF every Friday at 2:30 p.m. They bring cheese and crackers, fruit, and baked goods. They also bring magazines and ask the staff if there is anything else they can donate for the clients’ well-being.” Dr. Lundt and her staff at the PHF commented. Dr. Lundt and her staff further stated, “We often have patients admitted to the PHF who ask if the ‘cookie ladies’ still come on Fridays. The ‘cookie ladies’ have seen and watched a lot of changes and a lot of different personalities but they are never put off nor do they ever judge differences in people. Nothing seems to faze them. For some patients, this is their only community interaction while
at the PHF as there are no other people to visit them.”The Mental Wellness Center is proud to recognize the special work of its wonderful volunteers. The center offers programs in recovery, education, and family services to Santa Barbara County residents.

Contact

Contact: Barbara Schreibke, Grant Writer
December 3, 2014 Telephone Number: (805) 884-8440
Email: BSchreibke@mentalwellnesscenter.org

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