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Gainesville Opportunity Center introduces new building to serve those suffering with mental illness

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:54 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - When the Gainesville Opportunity Center was formed in 2007, they had no building or place to call home. Now, for the first time in GOC history, they finally have a place to call home.

The rehabilitation program for individuals with mental illness held a ribbon-cutting event for the introduction of their new building. Several organizations and members of the community attended the event to show their support.

“If you can’t see my smile … my reaction is just amazing enthusiasm,” said CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health Care Don Savoie. “GOC needed more space. This doesn’t come easy. There is a lot of things that have to happen to make it happen.”

With the new building, the 75 active GOC members now have the opportunity to learn valuable hands-on social, financial, and educational skills. Director Brett Buell said they have a main focus on job training. Daily tasks are done in the building help prepare members to take on future jobs in the community.

“They work side by side with our staff, participating in meaningful work. They are making a difference ... and they go home at the end of the day feeling like they accomplished something. That’s what’s missing in their lives,” Buell said.

LSF Health Systems provides the funding for the Gainesville program. CEO Dr. Christine Cauffield says the impact of the GOC project is priceless, especially during a time like the pandemic

“Unfortunately, the stats are not good … we have had a 30% increase in suicides, 62% increase in overdose deaths ... that’s the importance of the GOC ... to be there for individuals, to lend that hand up, to give them skills and the reason to live and thrive in the community.”

To learn more about the GOC, click HERE.

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