Gainesville Peer Respite Launches Warmline Feb 1

Gainesville Peer Respite Launches Warmline Feb 1

Gainesville Peer Respite will be launching a peer support “Warmline” Feb 1 at 6pm for peers in need of emotional support. Initial Warmline hours will be Wednesday through Sunday from 6pm-6am, and will expand in March. Warmlines are a supplement to crisis hotlines, and are run by those who have had their own experiences of trauma and mental illness. If you are in need of support, or just curious about our new Warmline, call us at (352) 559-4559. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and please read on to learn more about the important work of Gainesville Peer Respite!

Gainesville Peer Respite presentation to UCG Members – January 29, 2017

Jane Emmerée, PhD – Executive Director

Support. Hope and Transformation.  At the Gainesville Peer Respite, we believe that support plus hope leads to healing and transformation.  We are a voluntary, short-term residential and wellness center for adults that provides wellness and recovery activities, support groups and psychiatric hospitalization alternatives in a home-like environment.  We follow a community model of peer support rather than a medical, treatment model, and we intend to complement the existing mental health agencies in Gainesville.  We are the first respite of its kind in Florida!

We are currently renovating a beautiful, 4-bedroom, Victorian home just a block east of the Kirby Smith Center on East University Avenue, and we expect to open in four to six weeks.  We named the house, “Serenoa” which is Latin for the saw palmetto plant known for its resilience and healing properties.

Like our UCG adult seminars and small groups, the respite will offer many wellness activities and support groups facilitated by the peer staff who will share their experiences of recovery and message of hope with others.  Much like our Family Promise Program, we will offer short-term, overnight stays for up to 5 nights at a time, but on a weekly basis.

One service unlike UCG will be our phone support warmline which differs from the Alachua Crisis Center hotline because we do not have to phone answer calls immediately.  It will be staffed entirely by peers, and like the many other warmlines in the nation, will be a lifeline for building relationships with those who are isolated or uncomfortable in social situations.  The great news is that our warmline will begin February 1 and is available Wednesdays through Sundays from 6 pm to 6 am.

UCG has a legacy of supporting those who are vulnerable, stigmatized and isolated.  I never cease to be amazed at UCG’s generosity and commitment to so many health and social justice causes, like the Acorn Clinic over forty years ago and now, the Gainesville Peer Respite.  Jackie Davis’ vision and unwavering dedication, Shelly’s commitment of support from UCG, and the contributions and advocacy of many other UCG members have made this dream a reality.  So far, UCG members have given over 2,000 collective hours of service, and UCG has provided office and program space at no charge and valued at approximately $15,000.

UCG Members/Friends & the Gainesville Peer Respite

Jackie Davis Shelly Wilson Jane Emmerée
Mary-Ellen Cross Karen Johnson Rose Ann Walker
Lesley LeBaron Tanja Philhower Bill Gallagher
Sam Harris Rachel Osborne Gretchen Casey
Gayle Bluebird Joan and Bruce Stevens Judy Broward


UCGs foundational support to launch the respite beautifully coincides with its current 3-year strategic plan.  Two of plan’s goals include building health and wholeness through integrated and intentional care of body, mind and spirit, and also, encouraging members to dedicate appropriate UCG funds and personal resources for congregational and community health promotion.

We plan to use the funds from the Endowment Committee for technology which most likely will include a computer, a printer, and some security equipment.   The Compassion in Action Committee also awarded us a $1,000 grant in December which we so appreciate.  We intend to earmark these funds for a new refrigerator.

In addition to UCG members, many others have contributed our success.  I’d like to especially thank Commissioner Robert Hutchinson for securing start-up funding from the Community Foundation of North Central Florida’s Mental Wellness Fund, the Alachua County Commission, and private donors.  Many thanks also to Rory Causseaux, an engineer and long-time board member who adeptly worked on a very challenging, building permitting process.

So, how can you learn more about the respite and provide support?

  1. Talk to one of the UCG members already involved;
  2. volunteer for a work day at Serenoa;
  3. look for our wish list in the February newsletter;
  4. inform us about funding ideas and opportunities, and most importantly;
  5. please spread the word to peers who may benefit from being part of the respite community!

On behalf of the Gainesville Peer Respite staff, the Board of Directors, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you again for your overwhelming commitment, compassion and generosity!

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