The Day Program is designed to teach clients essential skills for learning to live as independently as possible after sustaining a brain injury. Classes promote and build brain strength, often connecting increased cognition to motor skills. Classes vary from Art to Language Skills to Physical Activity to Guitar. Other examples include cooking, drama, and activities that build confidence, teamwork and even skills that may lead to future employment or volunteer work in the community. The week ends with Friday Game Night for fun and socialization as well as cognitive skill-building. The class schedule varies throughout the year with new and past classes placed in rotation to accommodate both client needs and availability of peer and professional teachers.
MHC participants volunteer weekly at one of the sites listed below on a rotating basis. In addition to providing job experience, the Volunteer Program allows participants to become involved in the community. Community involvement builds self-esteem, sharpens life skills and enhances positive attitudes that are so important to the recovery process.
Food for the People serves as Humboldt County’s emergency food distribution center. This non-profit provides the basic human right of having food to eat to families all over the county. The central warehouse is located in Eureka, where MHC volunteers assist in sorting food and cleaning around the warehouse. This central hub then transports mass amounts of food to other satellite shelters all over Humboldt County. Food for the People serves as the county’s emergency food source in the event of a disaster. In addition to assisting in the warehouse, MHC volunteers also assist with produce markets, where individuals can obtain free produce on a monthly basis.
The Humboldt Wildlife Care Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, treatment, and rehabilitation of injured wildlife in the Humboldt County area. Specifically, Humboldt County has seen a large influx of pelicans enter the area in recent years needing assistance. Fishing boats in Humboldt Bay have been illegally dumping waste into the bay. Consequently, young pelicans have been found covered in oil after attempting to eat the remains of fish dumped by the boats. MHW Volunteers directly assist in rehabilitating these birds. In recent weeks, our volunteers have assisted in creating a swimming pool for the pelicans, and have even fed the pelicans themselves.
Because one of the rising statistics of people sustaining a brain injury is attributed to those returning from war, it is appropriate for MHW to support the local veterans’ resource center. The NCVRC is a brand new facility serving as home to more than 36 retired veterans. MHW volunteers have been assisting in the kitchen at this facility, to help feed these veterans. This volunteer site is considered to be more one-on-one than the others. It is specifically designed for consumers interested in obtaining culinary skills. This weekly, one-on-one version of volunteering may be a model for the way MHW approaches future, specialized volunteer sites.
Miranda’s Rescue is a no-kill rescue, adoption and sanctuary non-profit facility that brings relief to hundreds of distressed, neglected, abused and discarded animals every year. This site has become a favorite of MHW’s Volunteers, whom have indicated that they enjoy working with animals. MHW Volunteers assist in farm maintenance. This includes grooming horses, cleaning stables, feeding recovered birds, and other physically-demanding tasks. MHW Volunteers have expressed that they find saving animals very rewarding, and some have even indicated that they would eventually like to pursue a career as a veterinarian.
United Indian Health Services has created the Potawot Community Garden to serve the American Indian population in the greater Arcata area. The two-acre Potawot Community Food Garden provides the UIHS community with a wide range of fresh, organically grown produce, such as carrots, broccoli, pumpkins, greens, corn, strawberries, flowers, tomatoes, and peppers. The organic produce is distributed to the UIHS community via a bi-weekly produce stand. MHW Volunteers assist in maintaining the garden, to ensure that indigenous peoples in the area are receiving enough food to eat on a daily basis. Here, MHW Volunteers learn vital gardening skills, such as how to plant and maintain crops.