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Citizens—Community Enhancement Project

The Citizens–Community Enhancement Project is funded by the CT Dept of Mental Health and Addictions Services. The Citizens Project uses the framework of citizenship, an innovative model for community integration and social inclusion developed by PRCH. Click here for our brochure.

The goals of our project are to help our students:

  • Understand their rights as community members and provide them with the necessary skills needed to exercise them.
  • Examine their responsibilities as community members and identify ways in which they can better fulfill them.
  • Examine their current social roles and identify and practice perceptual and behavioral changes that will help them to enhance their roles as valued members of their communities.
  • Enhance their knowledge of community resources and their skills in gaining access to them.
  • Enhance their ability to develop supportive and stable relationships with other community members.
  • Develop a supportive network based on trust and shared interest with their fellow students.

Click here for quotes from students

Click here to watch video of Citizens Community Collaborative

The Citizens Community Enhancement Project provides:

  • Nontraditional classes geared toward the rights, responsibilities, roles, resources and relationships that are a part of community membership. Class Topics include: Relationship Building, WRAP, Anger Management, Assertiveness Training, Legal Issues and Entitlements, Negotiating the Criminal Justice System, Housing Options & Issues, Vocational & Educational Development, Patient Rights & Advocacy, Healthy Alternatives in Recovery, Stress Management, Public Speaking, HIV Prevention, ADA & Negotiating, Goal Development, and others.
  • A peer support group the students coined, “What’s Up” that allows time in each class for the students to share their challenges and accomplishments with each other to give and receive honest and confidential feedback.
  • Individualized Peer Recovery Specialist support services, provided in or out of the classroom.
  • Individualized and group valued role projects developed by the students through which they can share their knowledge and experiences in ways that educate or help other community members.
  • A ten dollar stipend to each student at the end of each class they attend.
  • An annual holiday party and a yearly student graduation.
  • A weekly pizza party, held at the Connecticut Mental Health Center, which gives students and graduates of the project an opportunity to socialize with class members and meet new people.

Classes are held at the Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven twice per week.

Program Qualifications:

  • 18 years or older and currently residing in the greater New Haven area.
  • Currently receiving mental health treatment services.
  • Involvement in the Criminal Justice System, within the past two years, (example...arrested, probation, parole, incarceration).
  • Participation in this project is voluntary; we do not accept participants who are court mandated to attend.

Referral Process:

Provider or self-referrals are made at any time (rolling enrollment), by calling the Project Director, Patricia Benedict at: (203) 843-2476 or Josephine Buchanan at: (203) 974-7159.

For More Information

For more information and/or published materials about Citizens Project contact: Michael Rowe, Ph.D.