A Wonderful Celebration of College Plus

Written on by Mindy Haas

The Voice and Vision, Inc 10-Year Anniversary celebration of College Plus, held on Tuesday, April 24th, was a wonderful success!

Guests mingled with light refreshments in the Gallagher Room at Bucks County Community College’s (BCCC) Newtown Campus.  They included individuals from the provider community, Bucks County Department of Mental Health, BCCC staff, Voice and Vision, and former College Plus students and their families.  Tianna Grosch from Times Publishing spoke with guests and a former College Plus co-leader, Jaqueline Thomas, captured photos of the event.

The speakers articulated the important role peer support plays in long-term recovery.  Peers provide ongoing support and encouragement to help people with their recovery journey.  Education and partnerships are also key components to long-term recovery.  It takes a team of caring people to help people reach goals and fulfill their dreams.

Our speakers included:

    • Robert G. Loughery, Commissioner Chairman
    • Donna D. Duffy-Bell, Administrator: Mental Health Development Programs, Bucks County
    • Anthony Pacifico, Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services, Bucks County
    • Edward Donahue, Chair of the Board, Voice and Vision, Inc.
    • Valerie Melroy, Chief Executive Officer, Voice and Vision, Inc.
    • Caren Noonan, Peer Support Leader, Voice and Vision, Inc.
    • Mindy Haas, College Plus Coordinator, Voice and Vision, Inc.
    • Jennifer Osinski, Director of the Accessibility Office, Bucks County Community College
    • Mariana, College Plus Alumna
    • Lisa, College Plus Alumna
    • Francesco, College Plus Alumnus


We heard moving accounts from three former College Plus students, who shared some of their struggles and how the program impacted their lives.

Francesco shared how the peer support groups were a tremendous help to his college success.  He encouraged others to pray, hope, journal and reach out to qualified people.  He suggested journaling as a means to formulate what you’d like to say to those people.

Lisa wanted to go to college as a young person, but her circumstances caused her to doubt that she would ever be able to go, until she saw a College Plus brochure.  When she was accepted into the program, her life changed dramatically.  She became the first college graduate in her family. She is currently participating in the Bucks County’s Certified Peer Specialist training and has been accepted into a college with the goal to get her bachelor’s degree.

Mariana was deeply depressed when she was trying to take multiple college courses. The load was too much for her to handle, so she stopped attending classes and wouldn’t leave her home. She entered College Plus and still had difficulty, but she shared how Caren came knocking at her door to make sure she was okay.  “Caren saved my life,” Mariana said.  She finished that course at BCCC, obtained her degree and is continuing with college goals and plans.

Commissioner Loughery stopped by to congratulate College Plus and read the proclamation.


We want to say a special thank-you to the Bucks County Community College (BCCC) Office of Accessibilities (TAO) for sponsoring and hosting the event in their lovely facility!

We thank Giant Food Stores for their generous food donations.

We also want to thank Bucks County Department of Mental Health and Developmental Programs for their support of Voice and Vision and its programs over the years.  College Plus would not exist without it.

We thank Commissioner Loughery for taking the time to celebrate with us and reading a Proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners stating the great work and accomplishments of College Plus and proclaiming, “April 24, 2018 as Voice and Vision, Inc. College Plus Program 10th Anniversary Celebration throughout the County of Bucks”.   We appreciate that he promotes and supports recovery and the mission and programs of Voice and Vision.

Lastly, we thank anyone who supported us, in any capacity, over the years.  Your contributions helped make College Plus a success.

Thank-you!  Here’s to another 10 years!

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