Portland, OR. Over 200 women joined forces for the 17th annual Circle of Strength Women’s Fundraising Brunch. Guests, like excited raffle winner, Maryliz Herron, gathered at Riverside Golf and Country Club on September 29th for an afternoon of coffee, brunch, and conversation. The women had a common purpose—to raise money for women and children who cannot afford mental health care. The benefit for Northwest Catholic Counseling raised $75,000. (Photo credit, Megan Ziegenfus)

Table hostess, Diane Millemann (third from left), and her enthusiastic guests.

The event speaker, Jennifer Pepin, inspired the theme for this year, “The Art of Healing.” Diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in her 20’s, Jennifer shared about her own mental health journey. Jennifer is the owner of the J. Pepin Art Gallery, located in the Pearl District. In an effort to break down stigma, the gallery only features artists living with mental illness. Jennifer believes that by working together, the landscape of mental health can be one of hope, dreams, and believing in a more accepting world.

A room full of women dedicated to empowering other women in their community.

Event speaker and former NCC client, Marchelle Carl

Marchelle Carl was the client speaker of the event. She first came to NCC for counseling as a young child and has continued off and on through adulthood. The Center and its staff have walked with Marchelle, offering support through the struggles, losses, and pains of life. Marchelle would not have been able to access counseling if not for the sliding scale fee offered at The Northwest Catholic Counseling Center. Through their generosity, the women gathered at Circle of Strength expressed their belief that no woman or child should ever be denied access to counseling. 
Here’s a video about the program:

From Northwest Catholic Counseling Center:

For three decades The Northwest Catholic Counseling Center has worked for social justice – the idea that we all share a common humanity, have a right to equal treatment, are due a fair allocation of community resources, and are valued in our diversity. Recent events, including hateful and degrading rhetoric and violent attacks against minorities, call to the Staff and Board of NCC to redouble our commitment and stand firm in our values. As we move forward, NCC will speak out more on injustice on our website and Facebook pages. We will educate more on mental health issues and those needing help. We will look for public opportunities to show our solidarity with others.