Gerard gets $50K Otto Bremer grant; Money to fund start of outpatient program

Published 9:31 am Friday, December 4, 2015

Gerard Academy recently received a $51,160 Otto Bremer Foundation grant help with the start-up costs for its outpatient program.

The grant was awarded to Gerard to support the development of outpatient mental health services for youth in Mower County and surrounding rural communities. The money will help support the outpatient program during its initial start-up, which is expected to serve 175 families during the first year, according to Gerard Executive Director Brent Henry.

“The Otto Bremer Foundation is playing a key role in helping Gerard Academy launch an outpatient program to support the mental health of the Austin and surrounding areas,” Henry wrote in an email. “We are thrilled that they have chosen to invest in Gerard Academy and the Austin community through this grant. We are grateful for this investment from the community which, in turn, helps us serve the community.”

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Gerard and local community partners identified a need for quality outpatient mental health services for youth and families in Austin and other area communities, so organizers established an outpatient mental health clinic to capitalize expertise and the infrastructure of the Austin campus.

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities.

The Otto Bremer Foundation recently expanded its granting to the southeastern Minnesota area, and Gerard’s grant application, in part, helped inform the foundation of some of the needs of the community and how Gerard hopes to help address those needs, according to Henry.

Henry said Gerard is still looking toward the future, and as “a member of the Nexus family of youth and family solutions, is continuing to look ahead to further develop community-based services that seek to strengthen and support youth and families at or near their home.”

“Residential treatment programs will always play an important role in the continuum of care that can support the mental health of children and adults,” he wrote. “However, we are now identifying additional opportunities to improve the mental health of southeastern Minnesota.”

Gerard Academy’s outpatient program includes working with pre-K children exposed to abuse and trauma. Play therapy is key to this work and involves the use of dolls, games, and other toys. Gerard Academy welcomes financial contributions to help purchase these tools. Contact Damien Londino-Green at 507-434-4408 to find out how to help this holiday season.