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Meet Our New VM Advisory Council Members
I was a stay-home mother of five for 20+ years. Upon my divorce, I had to work to support my three children, who were still at home. I started college in the evening to obtain a career in Social Work. This took 12 years. I graduated from St. Louis University, with a concentration in Family. I worked for St. Louis’ Department of Human Services in foster care for three years as a practicum for my Master’s Degree. Then I was a drug counselor at Gateway Foundation in Belleville, Illinois. I started working at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in the Behavioral Health Unit, where I stayed until it closed. I also represented the hospital at the Shrine’s annual “Erase the Stigma of Mental Illness” Conferences. While at the hospital, I educated the supervisors at the Belleville Shoe Factory and the truck drivers and their supervisors at the Illinois Department of Transportation. I worked with people who have mental health and addiction issues. From there, I went to Touchette Regional Hospital in the inpatient and Outpatient Unit for Behavioral Health. I am now 75 and retired. I do not “have” to work, but I do private counseling for people with mental health issues 1˝ days a week. I do this because I love my career and helping people. I also started volunteering at the Good Samaritan House in Granite City because I feel the women need help, and hope that God has some wisdom to impart to them through me. I never was much for sitting around doing nothing. I do water aerobics a time or two a week, and babysit for my daughter’s three girls five days a week when she has them.
Marlene Pennekamp (with son, Travis)
I am a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years of diverse experience in both public agency and private practice throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. I hold an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Notre Dame College and a Master of Social Work degree from St Louis University. During my career, I provided child advocacy services to abused and neglected children, worked as a therapist helping young people succeed with education, taught interviewing and interpersonal helping skills at the university level, provided direct services to mentally ill substance abuse consumers and founded a private practice offering mediation services in the bi-state metropolitan area. I currently serve as Vice President of the Tri Cities Area Association for the Handicapped, where I established the Beads with Benefits social entrepreneurship project. I live in Granite City, Illinois, with my husband, Jim, and eldest son, Travis, who has special needs. Travis just celebrated his 40th birthday, which is a blessing. Travis participates in the Special Friends VM Chapter at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Granite City.
Granite City, Illinois
At this time, our VM Chapter does not have tentative meeting date, but are still hoping to get together this fall. Wish we could be more positive, but just feel it wouldn't be safe for our group yet.
When Mental Illness Hits Home Conference
Friday, August 27, 2021
The title of the 2021 IN_PERSON conference is
Our keynote presenter is Bart Andrews, PhD. His first talk will help us understand suicide from a social-cultural lens. He wil discuss wat is wrong with the world around us and why so many people don't feel like thy have lives worth living. His second presentation will review the research on soial media use and suicide, especially in light of today's youth.
Registration Cost: $40
Registration: Online at snows.org/illness
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