East House James Papero Enrichment Program at RIT Opens June 6

Two week-long college preparation programs take place for adult residents

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Forty East House clients will take part in the two-week enrichment program on June 5-8 and June 12-15 at Rochester Institute of Technology. This program is designed to encourage participants, who are recovering from mental health or substance use disorders, to pursue educational goals to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.

This program is named after James Papero, a long-time RIT Human Resources department staff member who served on the East House board for more than 22 years. The enrichment program was originally Jim’s idea and its success is a testament to his life and legacy.

Participants attend a variety of classes including academic, art therapy and physical fitness classes taught by RIT and Monroe Community College staff and faculty, East House staff, and professionals from a variety of community organizations. During the two weeks of the program, participants are also able to utilize RIT’s facilities including classrooms, computer labs, the library, the student life center and the gym.

Each component of the program mimics a college experience from applying for school, an orientation, course selection and registration, attending classes, eating lunch on campus, homework assignments, and graduation.

At the end of the two weeks, students participate in a graduation ceremony and reception. This year’s event takes place at 4 p.m. June 15 in Ingle Auditorium in RIT’s Student Alumni Union. The keynote speaker will be Adrian Hale, manager of strategic initiatives at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Hale is a former United States Marine who made two combat deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan and a former member of the United States Air Force reserves. He is a graduate of Monroe Community College and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Yale University. He currently serves as the community board member on the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board.

Since 1996, more than 675 students have benefited from this educational program series. Many attendees have gone on to earn their TASC—Test Assessing Secondary Completion—a national high school equivalency assessment, or enroll in local colleges.

East House is a private, nonprofit agency serving individuals with mental health and substance use disorders with the goal of helping them to live independent and fulfilling lives. Through a network of services, which includes supported housing and care coordination as well as education and employment programs, East House treats the whole person and helps move individuals from illness to health. More than 1,400 clients benefit annually from East House services, which are provided by more than 175 employees. Since 1966, East House has been offering personalized care that meets each person’s needs while advocating for the better understanding and acceptance of mental health and substance use issues in the community. With multiple locations, East House continues to move lives forward each day. For more information about East House, go to www.easthouse.org.

For more information on the event, contact Michelle Lanphear at 585-475-4329 or mllgrl@rit.edu.