Reintegration & Recovery >> Independent Living
Portals Celebrates 50 Years
PORTALS, one of the nation’s leading mental health rehabilitation agencies, celebrated its 50th anniversary on May 18, 2006. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa served as Honorary Chair for the gala celebration, and literary and entertainment icon Sidney Sheldon served as Event Chair. The event honored five recipients of the Golden Bell Awards.
“I am honored to pay tribute to our worthy honorees who have helped to make a difference in the lives of men, women and young people, many of whom are homeless, suffering with severe mental illness,” said Sidney Sheldon.
A video saluting PORTALS, 50 years opened the program segueing to an inspiring speech by Member Doris Andrews, who had also been featured in the video. Jim Balla, PORTALS President & CEO paid respect to Sidney Sheldon, remarking, “In his book, ‘The other side of Me,’ Sidney shares his struggles with manic depression. A masterful storyteller, Sidney speaks of his own profound personal losses and his search for happiness, which is mirrored at times in his life when his mental illness was not treated effectively. Sidney is an example that, regardless of one’s intelligence, race, culture, gender or age, mental illnesses are common and are treatable.”
ü Antonio L. Manning, First Vice President and Regional Manager of Washington Mutual, received PORTALS’ Julian D. Weiss Golden Bell Award in recognition of Washington Mutual’s and his commitment to providing affordable housing, a vital component in PORTALS’ recovery and wellness programs.
ü Bunny and Jerry Steinbaum, philanthropists and mental health advocates, (pictured in photo with Awards emcee, Monty Hall) received the Legacy Award in recognition of their contributions to PORTALS and the community.
ü David Weiss, Senior Vice President, Howard Capital Management, received the Julian and Shirley Weiss Founder’s Award in honor of his parents’ contributions to PORTALS and in tribute to his mother, PORTALS Founder Shirley Weiss.
ü Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist, received the PORTALS’ Insight Award in recognition of his ground-breaking series of articles promoting awareness of the plight of the homeless and mentally ill on the streets of Los Angeles.
ü John S. Brekke, Ph.D., Frances Larson Professor of Social Work Research, University of Southern California, received the PORTALS’ Insight Award in recognition of his 20-year partnership with PORTALS in providing mental illness research results to PORTALS’ recovery and wellness programs. Dr. Brekke and PORTALS were recently awarded a $3 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for schizophrenia research.
Proceeds from the event will allow PORTALS to continue to fulfill its mission in providing recovery and wellness programs that include mental health services, job training, employment and, most importantly, affordable housing to individuals and families. With the advent of the Mental Health Services Act, PORTALS is well positioned to expand its outreach to many of the homeless and mentally ill who populate skid row and other areas of metropolitan Los Angeles.
Since its foundation in 1955, PORTALS has grown from a single transitional housing facility on Bronson Avenue in Los Angeles to a comprehensive recovery and wellness center for people suffering from mental illness. More than 25,000 people have successfully rehabilitated at PORTALS. Currently, more than 1,500 members participate each month in one or more PORTALS recovery and wellness programs. PORTALS welcomes individuals as “members” rather than “patients,” fostering a sense of community.