Life Exchange Center (LEC) is an ODMHAS certified consumer-operated peer support drop-in center. It is a beacon of hope and recovery from individuals with mental health/substance use issues. The Center is designed to assist with the recovery process by providing social support, educational programs, and life skills training for individuals in recovery. It is the center of its kind on the east side of Cuyahoga County. In 2011 the LEC became incorporated as a not-for-profit business. LEC is governed by a Board of Directors of whom more than one-half have a personal relationship with mental health/substance use issues either as a consumer of services or as a family member of someone who is a consumer. The day-to-day operations are managed and carried out by certified peer support staff all of whom are in recovery from mental health/substance use issues. Consumers are called members by this agency to signify that they have a formal role in developing and managing the agency’s programs.
Over the seven years of its independent operation, LEC has grown significantly. Membership increased from 20-30 per day to 75 on some days at the Kinsman campus. A new off-site program, Transitional Housing for young adults, has been in operation March 2016. The Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board remains the LEC’s primary funder and supporter. The St. Luke’s Foundation has generously provided funding for specific programs and items including a 15 passenger van. In addition, various other organizations have provided funding and in-kind gifts. The agency’s main emphasis is on art in all its forms. Members’ art work is on display all around the building.
When members are surveyed about why they like the LEC, the primary answer is always that it provides a sense of family and belonging. They enjoy the various field trips as well as the variety of daily activities.