The Starting Place attracted 150 guests and raised $20,000 at its “Dive into Recovery” annual breakfast honoring Pat Kramer, a tireless advocate for those dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.
“Clearly, the community appreciates Pat and her hard work on behalf of Broward’s mental health community,” said Dr. Joel Kaufman, The Starting Place CEO. “She’s one of those dedicated unsung heroes who really make a difference in the lives of those she serves. We were so pleased to pull her into the forefront for this special recognition.”
Kramer is a social worker who has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for more than 40 years. The first 25 years were spent providing direct services at Henderson Mental Health Center where she served in positions ranging from clinician to CEO. Currently, Kramer serves as the Program Director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Office of the Department of Children and Families in Broward County.
Teenager Maria Garcia also offered her heartfelt testimony about her drug issues and how The Starting Place helped her. Each of her family members related how having a user in the family profoundly affected them and how they’ve come through this trial as a stronger family. The family expressed extreme appreciation for the assistance and support of The Starting Place.
In addition to recognizing Kramer, the breakfast featured keynote speaker William L. White, a nationally known expert in addiction recovery. White shared the latest trends in youth drug use and addictions to the audience. He also talked about the need for embracing a recovery management model for alcohol and drug addiction. This would be an approach where alcohol and drug abuse and dependency are treated similarly to cancer and diabetes. White is Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems, past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United and a volunteer consultant to Faces and Voices of Recovery.
“Many thanks to Pat, the Garcia family and Dr. White for being a part of our annual breakfast,” said Kaufman. “Also, I must express appreciation to Jonathan Schwartz of AutoNation, who served as volunteer emcee. And of course, the event would not be possible with out our sponsors. I thank them for their generosity.”
Sponsors for the event were Health Business Solutions, Eli Lilly, Memorial Healthcare System, Broward Health, CVS, Hays, BankAtlantic, Cindy Schutt PR, AutoNation, Florida Substance Abuse Awareness – PAC, Paul Daly and Ashanti Cultural Arts, Inc.