Who We Are
At Another Way we support people’s right to make their own informed decisions about their care, especially concerning psychiatric drugs. We go to great lengths to inform people about alternatives to conventional psychiatric treatments, and help them access these alternatives when they want to.
You do not need to have a mental illness diagnosis to come to Another Way. We encourage anyone with an interest in what we’re all about to stop by and check us out! We do ask that everyone who comes to our Community Center be respectful, and supportive of our mission. We believe when people join together to share meals, make art, play music, or talk about what captivates them, connections occur. Through these connections it becomes easier to see that every human being is a unique, complex individual.
We believe that the ways people act in the world which so often get labeled “mental illness,” can have so much more to do with what happened to a person, than what is “wrong” with a person. Most of Another Way’s community members have survived trauma of some kind. Because of our diverse population and belief that every individual has the right to decide their own fate, we encourage people to come to us for the help they’d like. Our staff does not have caseloads. There are no clients. We are a peer-run organization. This means that everyone who works at Another Way has had their own lived experiences with the mental health system, and we’re all willing to share our experiences. The ability to genuinely empathize is invaluable. We help each other through the hardest times and celebrate the best ones.
In addition to keeping things running smoothly at our Community Center, Another Way employees are involved in state and federal work groups, advisory committees, and inter-agency collaborations. We are working to create a more enlightened system of care, which all people can afford, in which it won’t be necessary to receive a stigmatizing diagnosis to gain access to resources and care.
Who We Serve
An integral part of our mission is to provide a safe, welcoming, creative space for people who have experienced psychiatric interventions, trauma, addiction, poverty, and homelessness. We have a well deserved reputation for helping people who have “fallen through the cracks” of mainstream agencies and programs.
Another Way welcomes allies in the larger community who support our mission and want to be part of a dynamic and vibrant community, whether or not they’ve had the experiences previously mentioned. There are many ways to be involved so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in helping out.
A Short History of Another Way
The first peer run project for psychiatric survivors in Vermont was Eden Express. Through the efforts of Kate Quinn, Eden Express received funding in 1982 and set up shop behind the Montpelier Police Station. Tom Blanchard and Donald Stoltz ran the center. After one year Eden Express was succeeded by Inside Out.
Inside Out hosted a weekly gathering on Friday evenings featuring an art group followed by a shared meal. The gatherings took place in a large room, at an alternative high school founded by Anthony Pollina.
Meanwhile, Kate Quinn was busy working on a new groundbreaking project. In 1984, dissatisfied with the services offered by the local community mental health centers, Kate founded Another Way. Kate’s hope was to create a space for peer-support and alternative healing. Kate says, “We all started out trying to create a place that was different from the system and serve the people who we knew were rebels.” She obtained a small grant through the Department of Mental Health, and with help from Paul Dorfner, created a peer-run group for consumers and families.
In 1985 the alternative high school, where Inside Out hosted Friday night gatherings, closed down. Suddenly, Inside Out was in need of new space. This was the beginning of a partnership between Another Way and Inside Out. The Friday night gatherings moved to Another Way and after a year of sharing space the two programs merged.
Another Way’s first location was on 25 East State Street, in a small three-room apartment, below a group home for people with developmental disabilities. The center was open to psychiatric survivors, their families, friends, and allies. Volunteers ran it informally; there were no paid staff. Tom Blanchard and Bill Newhall continued the tradition of Friday night dinners.
By 1986 Kate was exhausted and needed a break. Bill Newhall assumed her responsibilities and formed Green Mountain Support Group Inc. to run Another Way. Despite several moves, and various obstacles, Another Way managed to stay open. Eventually, Another Way’s doors were open eight hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Clearly, there was community need for a safe, supportive, alternative environment for psychiatric survivors.
What Another Way offered was consistent from the beginning; peer support, peer advocacy, outreach, and a safe, welcoming space. Another Way’s integral function was to build community. This took a variety of forms including outreach to the State Hospital, maintaining a presence at policy meetings, attending forums where the rights and interests of psychiatric survivors were pertinent, and advocating for housing and low-income rights. In addition, Another Way sent people to state and national conferences such as NARPA and Alternatives.
In 1995, Another Way was forced to leave its location on Elm Street. A rockslide badly damaged the building, knocking down walls and rendering the building uninhabitable. After a period of having no physical space to call home, Another Way moved to its current location at 125 Barre Street. Eventually Green Mountain Support Group Inc. was able to purchase the large home at 125 Barre St., securing a permanent space for Another Way.
For seven years, Roxy Smith was Associate Director of Another Way. She oversaw daily operations and specialized in homeless advocacy. As the center’s capacity grew so did the needs of its community. Community members began to depend more on the center for basic needs including day shelter, food, showers, phone access, Internet access, and housing advocacy. Roxy worked hard to meet the needs of all community members and continues to be an integral part of Another Way.
In 2008 Bill retired and Tim O’Rourke and Michael Sabourin guided Another Way’s operations until Steven Morgan was hired in 2009. Steven worked diligently to educate the larger community about the benefits of peer services and was instrumental in increasing Another Way’s funding. Steven did much to improve the building, programming, and esteem of Another Way in the larger community. He helped create Alyssum, a peer-run respite center in Rochester, Vermont. Thanks to a proposal written by Steven, the State of Vermont will fund Soteria house, an unlocked, medication-optional home for individuals experiencing first break psychosis. The Chittenden County home will offer an alternative to forced treatment and hospitalization. Steven left Another Way in the fall of 2012.
Will Eberle took over as Executive Director in October 2012.
Eli Toohey became the Executive Director in June 2016.
Staff and Board of Directors
Eli Toohey: Executive Director
Meaningful work is important to me and my career has revolved around uplifting others by connecting them to their strengths and being supportive of transforming the way they define themselves in a positive way.
My life work and passion is working with others to find their inspiration and sharing my experiences in connecting with others who have struggled/are currently struggling with mental health challenges, substance dependency, effects of complex trauma, poverty, or any combination of the above.
Amiee Powers: House, Garden & Food Manager
Mattie Dube: Peer Support Specialist & Programming Coordinator
Janell Perry: Employment Specialist
Forrest Gilruth: Maintenance & Wood Shop Manager
Davey Callahan: Shift Worker
Solomon Valle: Shift Worker
Pat Quiles: Shift Worker
Gwen Hoffses: Laundry Attendant
Yoga Instructor – Chris LaBrusciano
Chris teaches gentle yoga for all abilities at Another Way.
Laura Cooley: Wellness Acu-Detox Facilitator
Board of Directors:
President: Rick DeAngelis
Rick DeAngelis has been on the Another Way Board of Directors since October 2010. He has many years of experience developing community based affordable housing and is currently the Associate Housing Director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Rick also serves as chairman of the Washington County Continuum of Care, which coordinates services for the homeless. He has an active interest in mindfulness meditation and convenes the Montpelier Mindfulness Community. Rick lives in Montpelier.
Vice President: Susan Hall
Treasurer: Gloria van den Berg
Secretary: Amos Meacham
Directors: Joshua Sawyer, Michael Sabourin, Matt Wolf, Brooke Jenkins