May Flowers..and more! May 2023

May – a time of renewal and awareness 

You may have heard multiple times and ways during the month of May that this is “Mental Health Awareness” month. The words “mental health” can bring up a lot of different emotions – happiness, sadness, confusion, depression, isolation, and more. This month, we hosted a line of different events in an effort to open honest and meaningful conversations about our struggles and victories with our own mental health concerns. After our series in March on the 8 Dimensions of Wellness, we’ve found it to be vitally important to continue the conversations, as we’ve been taking advantage of the outdoors: working on our gardens, walking through orchards, simply thankful to spend time together in this beautiful weather. Sunshine always helps! For us, this was not just a month of “awareness”, but also a month of healing and renewal. We are expectant of what God will continue to unfold in our midst.

We hope to see you in joyful June!

Mental Health Awareness Month 

Early in the month, Matt Goodsell from the Oswego County Department of Health hosted a fun and needed conversation around teens and mental health. He approached the topic with grace and we had over 40 folks in attendance – leaders, parents, and teens alike – gleaning knowledge, guidance, tips, and resources to support our teens in mental health struggle and crisis. Thank you, Matt, for your heart of gold and compassion for others!

About mid-month, we had the privilege of sitting down as a crew with Scott Budreau from Integrative Counseling Services. Scott’s experience as a mental health provider, his kind spirit, and compassionate heart were welcomed by our tribe, as we sat down together and processed our relationships, hurts, experiences, and ways we cope with our mental health struggles. We took great strides towards healing, resiliency, and understanding how we can better support one another. This workshop was a great ice breaker to discussing our own personal struggles and successes. Thank you, Scott, for being so vulnerable and kind to our crew!

At the end of the month, we hosted Shannon McKenzie from Integrative Counseling Services. She has a passion for working with children through Play Therapy and was excited to share her experience, insights, and ideas with us. She shared about the importance of play (at any age!), the benefits of silent parenting and gentle reflection, and shared tips and tricks for successfully hanging out with a kiddo. Thank you, Shannon, for sharing your heart on the importance of a child’s mental health and wellbeing!

So thankful for all the people who showed up and participated this month! We LOVE partnering with community organizations and businesses to help us learn, grow, and heal!

Run for Recovery with Helio Health

We had a great turn out for the Run for Recovery supporting Helio Health! It’s always so incredible to see folks coming together to walk/run for those in recovery, laughing, jumping, and connecting over a fun event and beautiful weather. 

This month, we ran and walked around Green Lakes, supporting those with Substance Use Disorder and in recovery!

Cinco De Mayo

This month, we had the JOY of hosting a fun and vibrant evening at Elim Grace Church on Cinco De Mayo! This included a stigma busting community conversation around addiction. We had about 30 folks in attendance, in recovery and not, and lots of valuable and eye-opening conversations about the myths around addiction. This was followed up by a yummy nacho spread and then a Recovery Concert led by artist, John Dillon. John Dillon hosted a writer’s workshop the following morning and is now creating a song based on the creative minds of those in attendance!

We are so thankful for a loving and vibrant community! We look forward to hosting more conversations to help our friends in recovery!

If you are interested in participating or scheduling a conversation or workshop, please reach out to Alicia Vann: or 315.326.1168

House Update

Stories of Hope

This month, we had the incredible opportunity of partnering with local ministry, Bridge to Hope. We launched a new series of events called “Stories of Hope”, where men in our community can share their stories of how God has transformed their lives from mess to treasure.

 Ryan Lorensen shared his story of trials, struggles, resiliency and hope at New Covenant Community Church, reminding us that God is still in the business of transforming lives. We were so blessed by his testimony! If you’re interested in sharing your story or processing through what this could look like, please fill out our Speaker Interest Form

Thank you, Ryan, for sharing your story of hope and healing with us!

Living Free Campaign!

Looking for a different way to financially support our recovery community? Please consider donating to our Living Free Program! Through The Desens House’s Living Free Program, we aim to support women in our tribe by financially funding different mental health supports that fall within the 8 dimensions of wellness.
These short-term, launch pad supports will be approved by our Executive Director and will fall within the mission of The Desens House: faith-based, community driven model of recovery dedicated to transforming and restoring broken lives.

We aim to walk side-by-side with our crew to set them up for success while receiving care from our community! Potential examples of these supports include providing 3 months of funding for sessions and co-pays with a mental health counselor at Integrative Counseling Services while simultaneously assisting to connect with health insurance to continue care, providing a summer of Holy Yoga class fees to assist a friend through a long summer of change, or purchasing 1 set of Celebrate Recovery Step Study books to support someone through their journey with the program. We are excited to see how God works through this gift of financial provision.

We thank you for supporting the hopes and dreams of the women in our tribe!


Life Skills

Come Cook with Us!
We are continually looking for community members to come cook with us and teach us how to make simple dinner meals. We would love your help in making these nights happen!
Provide your best contact information so we can reach out to you promptly. We will partner with you to help make the night fun & seamless! We always laugh, eat, & connect over these yummy meals.

Facts & Snacks

Facts, Snacks, Talks, & Tea: A Call to Speakers & Storytellers!
We love to bring you topics and discussions around recovery to help break the stigma that surrounds addiction. Some previous events have included personal testimonies, chronic pain, mental illness/health, anxiety, exercise, and trauma-informed care.

Stronger Together

We love the opportunity to grow stronger together week after week. We have walked together, talked together, and stretched together; growing our muscles and our relationships. Join Amy Champlin and Erin Hicks for yoga, aerobics, and other fitness classes at the Connection Point!

Reach out to Amy at:

Writers Nook

The Writers Nook is a place where we collect stories, essays, poetry etc. around recovery, hope and transformation. Writing can be a powerful tool to process trauma, rebuild self-esteem, and support sustained recovery. Every story is unique, special and significant.

Interested in submitting work? Do so here!

Alive with Alpha

Week after week, we have gathered together in the quiet Connection Point basement to pray together, study God’s word together, and grow closer in fellowship. We have switched gears to dive into the free, fun, and authentic Alpha Course!
“In a world of isolation, anonymity, and keyboard-warriors, Alpha offers content and guidance for churches, ministries, and individuals to create a space for honest and open conversations about life’s biggest questions. Everyone is welcome and no questions are off limits.”


Weekly on Wednesday, we serve breakfast at Elim Grace Church. We enjoy the homemade goodies, hot coffee, and delightful conversation. Life can be tough, but we are in this together! And you never know who you’ll bump into here!

We had a blast watching our community grow and connect this month!

Join us Wednesdays at Elim Grace from 9-11 for breakfast!