Thrive Gives Thanks


Mike, a Thrive participant, experienced depression symptoms for a few years but was able to “get it together.” He did not want to seek help and believed that others would look down on him if he was truthful about his symptoms. He maintained a profitable business as a tattoo artist for 25 years. Over that time his mental health symptoms worsened. He experienced increased depression and what he describes as “incapacitating anxiety.” He didn’t know where to turn for help and he felt that he was useless to his family. He began self medicating and as a result lost his job. His marriage ended and his ex-wife obtained custody of their two children. Mike was hospitalized and felt so hopeless that he attempted to end his life at the hospital. Upon discharge, he found that he had no where to live and no one to turn to. Mike began living at a shelter and was linked to Thrive Clubhouse services in 2013, where his recovery truly began.


SONY DSCSince that time, Mike has moved into independent housing that is safe and affordable. He has had two successful transitional employment placements, reconnected
with his children, and started taking art classes again. Mike is enjoying reconnecting with his artistic activities and offered to let us display some of his recent watercolor paintings. We believe Mike is an accomplished artist and we were thrilled when he agreed to share his story and his art work with us for this article.

Mike is just one of the individuals that Thrive has supported this year. The change in his life could not happen without the generosity of our supporters! Please consider making a donation to enrich the lives of individuals living with mental illness.

Important Upcoming Changes to Thrive

Thrive Services to Change This Year with a Major Focus on Service to Adults with Mental Illness via the Clubhouse

Local nonprofit will continue to remain an independent nonprofit in Henderson County.

Hendersonville, NC (6/25/2015) – Thrive recently received notification from Smoky Mountain LME/MCO regarding a phasing out of their Assertive Community Treatment Team services. By the end of 2015, Thrive will no longer be able to provide these services, per their contract with Smoky Mountain LME/MCO. Executive Director Kristen Martin, while saddened by this news and the potential impact it will have on their clients, has issued a statement to the community that addresses current and future services offered by Thrive.

“The Clubhouse has been serving mentally ill adults since 1983, bridging an important gap in mental health services in Henderson County. Thrive formally organized in 2006, but for over 20 years has been focused on assisting individuals who are experiencing mental health symptoms get back on their feet, via programs that provide opportunities to learn coping, social, independent living, and vocational skills. We will continue to fill this gap through our Clubhouse, meeting our clients where they are and serving them in the best environment possible. We are grateful for the support our community has shown us over the years and we look forward to remaining an independent, sustainable nonprofit. We will work with our ACTT clients and Smoky Mountain to ensure a smooth transition of our ACTT clients to a new service provider.”

Thrive is going to remain an independent non-profit serving adults living with mental illness in our community. They will continue to provide the majority of their services through the Clubhouse in Hendersonville and encourage the community to join them this fall for their annual Bids & Blues fundraiser to be held September 13 at the Cove at Highland Lake. “Bids & Blues is our signature event completely focused on raising funds to support the Clubhouse. This year, more than ever, we ask the community to rally behind us to keep the Clubhouse open and thriving for the clients who need us most,” said Martin.

Local community leaders have already begun to hear this news and are voicing support for Thrive. “Hendersonville is known as a friendly, welcoming, caring community. That caring attitude extends to those of our citizens who are living with mental illness. Thrive is able to provide needed services, at a reasonable cost, in the community. Their clients can get the services they need at the Clubhouse-close to home and with people who care about them and their families,” said Barbara Volk, Mayor of Hendersonville.

Wear Your Label, Fashion Duo Tackles Mental Health Stigma

“A year ago, we were just two students in university living with mental illness. Stigma kept us from getting better, and reaching out. It wasn’t until we began talking about our experiences that we realized the need to create more conversations.” 

This quote could have been taken from any of the countless students living and dealing with mental health issues while also balancing work, school and, well… life.  This particular quote comes from the Canadian fashion-loving duo, Kyle MacNevin and Kayley Reed, two young entrepreneurs determined to spark – and keep lit – the conversation about mental health.

MacNevin and Reed met while studying at the University of New Brunswick and became friends under perhaps slightly less-than-common circumstances.  They didn’t meet in a statistics study group, or in the same residence hall, or at a football tailgate; these two met through a youth mental health outreach initiative.  Here, they came to the profound conclusion that young people need to be able to open up and shamelessly talk about their mental health needs. Both MacNevin and Reed have personal experiences with mental illness – one struggled with an eating disorder, the other with social anxiety.  They helped each other learn how to comfortably and openly talk about their voyage through the struggle.  Now, they want to share their experiences and their vision with the world.

Using their combined fashion expertise, MacNevin and Reed launched a start-up company called Wear Your Label, a clothing company with clever slogans like “Stressed but Well Dressed” and “Sad but Rad”.  They donate 10% of profits to mental health projects and, to date, have given about $4K!  They have also become advocates in the mental health world, speaking at various locations to share their story.  The goal behind their innovative brand is to stop the stigma that regrettably too often comes along with a diagnosis.

Wear Your Label - Tag pic

One of the coolest things about this brand is perhaps the part of the clothing that you don’t see.  Inside each garment is a tag that, rather than stating standard care instructions (“machine wash cold, lay flat to dry”), it gives some care for yourself instructions (“40% stretch, breathe, meditate; 30% sip tea & eat well; 15% feel your feet, be present; 10% laugh out loud; 5% listen to an awesome song”).  These suggested coping techniques are meant to be self care reminders for when the wearer is experiencing a mental health symptom, such as anxiety or depression.  Because, as the t-shirt states, “Self Care Isn’t Selfish”.

MacNevin and Reed hope their message can help to prevent tragedies like the numerous recent cases of students who have taken their own lives, many of whom never talked openly about their inner struggle.  This original way to say, “It’s okay to not be okay” can be a conversation starter and may help young people to be more open with parents, friends and classmates about their mental health needs.

So what can you do to start the conversation? You can reach out to someone who is having a hard time; you can share your story, a smile, or a cup of tea; you can listen without judgment, and share without fear of being judged.  One in four people will experience a diagnosable mental illness each year.  You are not alone.

For more information on Wear Your Label, go to 


Pro Bono Work, Invaluable to Non Profits and the Under Served

pro bono publico (adverb & adjective):  “for the public good”; denoting work undertaken for the public good without charge, especially legal work for a client with a low income.

Pro bono work can be a mutually beneficial exchange between an attorney and a person in need of legal help who, perhaps, cannot afford it.  It can present opportunities for young lawyers to bolster their experience and add to their resumes; ideally helping them to become better lawyers in the long-run.  Law firms can use pro bono work to offer practice to their less experienced associates.  Or, it can simply be a way for a person in the legal profession to give back to her or his community.

A Chicago lawyer represents ex-offenders as she believes that crime in her city is on the rise, in part, due to the fact that those with a past criminal record are deliberately being kept out of the job market.  She believes that if there are no opportunities available to these people, desperation may find them walking back through the revolving door of a life of crime.  She works to help expunge records and file the sometimes daunting paperwork with the courts.  This lawyer does this work pro bono, for free.

An advocacy program in New York assisted a young girl on the autism spectrum to find an appropriate and accepting school for her needs.  She was initially placed in a school that only allowed her to attend classes for two hours each day and required her mother to remain in the building while the girl was there.  The school refused to allow her to attend school for the entire day and eventually placed her in a class designed for children with more severe autism than what this young lady had.  This program assisted the family in finding a specialized school where the girl is now thriving.  They did this work pro bono.

In 2013, The Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (CBA YLS), in collaboration with the Connecticut Pro Bono Network, participated in the $1 Million Pro Bono Service Campaign, which would amount to about 4,000 hours of free work in a three month period.  The Campaign was a huge success and actually clocked in $2.1 million worth of pro bono work which was closer to 8,800 hours of work performed. Nearly 50 individuals and organizations participated.

We at Thrive are so very fortunate to have clients who have received pro bono assistance from local attorney, Anderson Ellis.  Mr. Ellis has swiftly and skillfully assisted clients with some complicated legal matters.  One such situation found a client needing to obtain his birth certificate in order to obtain a state ID; however, to our dismay, we found that we could not obtain his birth certificate without his state ID.  We were faced with a Catch-22.  When we reached out to Mr. Ellis regarding the matter, he was kind and eager to assist.  Sometimes it just takes that extra push from a professional who knows the system.  Why does he choose to assist Thrive? 

“I volunteer my time with Thrive because it is important to help those that struggle to help themselves. If my knowledge of the legal system can assist someone who otherwise might be lost, it is my privilege to contribute some of my time to help. The work that Thrive does is admirable, and I’m happy to be just a small part of it.” – Anderson Ellis

An American Bar Association study showed that about 40% of low-to-moderate income households will experience a need for legal help each year.  We are writing this message to thank all of the lawyers out there who donate their time and expertise, and, especially, to say thank you to Mr. Anderson Ellis.

Join us for Intelliquest!






Saturday, May 9, 2015.

Presented by Thrive and


Click to Register Here!

Intelliquest is an Adventure Race in downtown Hendersonville. Teams will compete to complete challenges revolving around mind, body and soul wellness. Geared toward racers of all abilities.

  • Mind – puzzles, word searches 
  • Body – physical fitness activities for all abilities
  • Soul – music, art, theatre

Race Day Details:

  • Adventure Race start time is 9AM, Saturday, May 9, 2015.
  • Registration and packet pick-up starts at 8:15 AM or pre-registration online
  • Line up to begin the race at 8:45AM, bring your “wellness bag” with you for treats and prizes along the way!
  • Participants should form teams of 4. (If special circumstances apply to the number of people on your team (i.e. a family of 5 is interested in participating together), please email or call Angela at or 828-489-3892.)

Registration Details:

Teams of 4

  • $20 per person; $80 per team!

100% of proceeds will benefit Thrive. Thrive assists adults with mental health symptoms in Henderson and Transylvania counties to move from surviving crises to thriving in the community. To find out more information, click here; or find us on social media. Or, to schedule a tour, call 828-697-1581. 

Click to Register Here!

Do you have wellness in your private life?

I recently took a brief break from emails and social media and I found that I was able to think more critically when not inundated with all of the spam mail, advertisements, and status updates.  I was struck that we don’t really have a private life anymore, at least not one that we spend time growing and improving.

Our culture demands transparency and social sharing.  This often leads us to compare ourselves to our social network friends.  There used to be a time when we met in person with our friends and family and looked each other in the eye and discussed what we wanted out of life, what we needed to do to achieve that, and received wisdom from those who had gone before us.  Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place and who doesn’t like to get all those Happy Birthday posts from your entire friend list?!

Author Gordon MacDonald wrote “Ordering Your Private World” where he identifies your inward character as your private world.  How can we really increase our wellness if we are so focused on everyone else’s status update?  Our status updates tend to be the highlights of our life… what race we just completed, what fabulous meal we just devoured, what trip we just took, etc.  Is that really wellness?  We may think that those activities show wellness but I would contend that the private times with our family and friends really show how well we are.

If we are dissatisfied, fearful, lonely, argumentative, or just have trouble connecting with anyone on a deep level then we need to change something.  I won’t pretend to know what each reader may be experiencing, but I challenge you to look at your own life and your own character to determine what you need to grow.

coffee dateSocial media can provide encouragement and can help you stay connected to people that live far away from you, but it also provides much distraction. We forget to look each other in the eye, go on a walk with your best friend, play a board game with your children, or simply hold your spouse’s hand while watching the sun set.

What are you willing to give up to reconnect with your friends, family, character, and private life?

Thrive Staff Member Embarks Upon a Foot-Fueled Fundraiser; Seeks $10,000 for Agency

Michael Hike

Clubhouse Unit Leader Michael Koslow to hike Pacific Crest Trail and raise money for Thrive along the way.

 (Hendersonville, NC – January, 2014)  Thrive Executive Director Kristen Martin announced today that one of her staff members plans to hike the Pacific Crest Trail in April and raise money for Thrive Clubhouse with every mile walked. Michael Koslow, a Unit Leader at the Clubhouse, will begin his 2,633 mile thru-hike on April 29 and is seeking donations for each mile hiked. His goal is to raise $10,000 for the Clubhouse program, appealing to philanthropic organizations, hiking groups, and individuals personally touched by mental illness.

Thrive is a local nonprofit dedicated to helping adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses move from merely surviving to thriving. “Our programs enrich members’ lives as they develop the skills critical to becoming socially and vocationally integrated into society,” said Martin. “For an agency like ours hit hard by budget cuts in the past year, Michael’s fundraising effort is greatly appreciated.”

For many of the Thrive community, the Clubhouse plays a vital role in their lives. The Clubhouse demonstrates that people with mental illness can successfully participate in society through education, employment, and other social activities. The Clubhouse offers prevocational work-ordered day programs; social and recreational programming; holiday support; and individualized services to its members.

Tricia, a participant in the Clubhouse program, shares why it’s important to her to keep Thrive alive and thriving. “I began to have panic attacks and symptoms of bipolar disorder about 5 years ago.  With the support of my family, the Thrive staff members were able to help me learn to socialize again and to learn what it takes for me to feel

healthy. I was my own worst enemy before I began here and now I want to be a role model for others that are just beginning their recovery journey.”

Individuals or organizations who are interested in contributing can make direct donations by check to Thrive, with the memo line “Thru-hike for Thrive.” To learn more information about this nonprofit or to make a general donation, please visit or call 697-1581. You can also follow Michael’s journey on the Thrive Facebook page at thrive4health.

I need a vacation.

stressedoutI need a vacation” is often the first statement out of our mouths when we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. How do you deal with stress? Do you grab that extra bite of chocolate? Exercise? Hang out with a friend? Take medications? Have an alcoholic drink?
There are plenty of resources available to find ways to cope and manage stress. Some of them are healthy and some unhealthy. Moderation is key in all forms of managing stress. For example, eating a couple bite sized candy bars would be healthier than having an entire chocolate bar.

Continue reading “I need a vacation.”