Mental Health America

spring12-1MHAPC kicked-off Mental Health Month with its Annual Meeting on May 6th and the presentation of the Person of the Year and Educator of the Year Awards. Each year MHAPC presents an award to the individual who has shown outstanding dedication to improving mental health and wellness for individuals and families and who tirelessly promotes the mission of Mental Health America of Putnam County.

Patti Harmless certainly fits this criteria. Patti currently serves as the Putnam County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Director. She has served this community for many years on boards, committees and councils: Domestic Violence Task Force, Child Protection Team, the Department of Child Services Region 9 Council, Safe Schools Committee, Child Abuse Prevention Committee, Putnam County Resource Council, just to name a few. She is an outstanding advocate for both children and adults and has received the Cummins Behavioral Health Systems Advocate of the Year Award and the Bessie Rector Award. Patti has worked for Mental Health America and she served as the P.I.E. Coalition Director for Putnam County. Patti is also very active in her church.

The Educator of the Year Award recognizes an educator in Putnam county who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the mental health and wellness of children, families and fellow education professionals.  This year 2 individuals were chosen  to share this award — Mary Jane Scamahorn and Karen Hamm. “I think of them in tandem, as a kind of dynamic duo because they have worked so closely with each other and I seldom have worked with one of them without the other,” said Charity Pankratz, the presenter of the award.spring12-2

Mary Jane attended Purdue University and began her career as a speech/language pathologist in Delphi prior to coming to Greencastle where she worked as a speech therapist at both Greencastle and Fillmore.

Karen attended Indiana University and taught in Plainfield before coming to Fillmore, where she taught children who had moderate cognitive delays. Both of them ended up at PCCS before moving to First Baptist Church to work with pre-school children. After many years they both moved to New Pathways, which was a new facility built by the Scamahorns. They have spent the last 11 years at New Pathways and continue to serve children with and without delays.

“It has been my privilege and delight to observe and learn from and work with these two talented women, whose combined knowledge and expertise is very much appreciated by many regular and special educators in Putnam County who have had the opportunity to work with them,” stated Pankratz. Equally important are the parents and hundreds of preschool children with and without special needs who have benefitted from the wisdom, expertise and warm hearts of these two educators.