Board Members & A Message From the Board Chairperson
Our Board Members are dedicated to our mission of creating real and lasting change in the lives of underserved homeless and mentally ill people.
- Mary Grace Ferone, Esq. – Board Chair
- Sharon Moseson – Board Vice-Chair
- Ashley Brody – Secretary
- Martin Krossel – Board Member
- Steve Vernon – Board Member
Greetings from the Chair…
Thank you for visiting CHOICE (Consumers Helping Others In a Caring Environment), a advocacy and care-management agency devoted to assisting and empowering individuals living with mental illness in Westchester County. It is my hope that your “virtual” tour of CHOICE will inspire you to learn more about our agency and increase your understanding of the issues, obstacles and achievements of individuals living with mental illness.
I first encountered CHOICE in 1999 while working as a legal services attorney specializing in representing individuals with serious and persistent mental illness. Many of my clients were sent to me for legal services by the competent and caring staff of CHOICE, who knew that referring clients to me at the beginning of the legal process could avert disastrous outcomes, such as eviction or denial of a disability benefit. Assisting clients with the problems of daily life, which are complicated by living with an illness, often proves to be empowering and demonstrates that individuals can take action, they do not merely have to let life’s problems “happen” to them.
On a personal note, I often think about how my brother’s life may have been different if a peer organization like CHOICE had been available in Westchester County in 1982, my 20-year old brother was diagnosed with major depression. Although I was just a teenager, I remember my brother’s isolation and sadness and my family’s confusion regarding the mental health system and treatments. Hospitalization, day programs, medication and disability benefits were daily topics at the dinner table. My parents were thrown into a system and world they knew nothing about and it seemed there was no place to get help or guidance. My brother had few friends, certainly no one who had suffered as he had with mental illness, to guide him through treatment and aftercare while saying, “I understand what you are going through, I have been there and you will get through this.”
Mental illness won the fight in 1983 when my brother committed suicide. The devastation of this act continues to haunt my family with questions of what might have been and what could have been done better. I really believe that if an agency like CHOICE had been able to assist my brother, he may not have felt so alone and desperate. Maybe that thought is too simplistic and I only have it to provide myself comfort. But maybe not…
Take a look at what CHOICE is all about and perhaps you will be inspired to support CHOICE through volunteering your time, resources or both.
Mary Grace Ferone, Chair
Board of Directors