First Graduate of Healing to Wellness Court Honored

August 17, 2011 –

MAYETTA:  Tribal member Lisa Morris made history today as the first graduate of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Healing to Wellness Court, a court that addresses alcohol and drug-related issues but focuses on rehabilitation and making lifestyle changes that use traditional and cultural values.

Morris stood before the members of the Healing to Wellness Court to receive her graduate certificate and each member of the team also congratulated Morris on her success.  In addition, she received some gifts and was feted with a luncheon afterward that was held in the Judicial Center court chambers.

Witnesses at the graduation ceremony included members of Morris’ family, friends, and several other social services representatives and employees of the PBPN.   When the News asked Morris if she had any advice for others who might want to consider going through the program she said, “Tell them that no matter how many times you may fall, you can always get back up.”

The Healing to Wellness Court is a comprehensive adult treatment program designed for non-violent substance abusers.  Individuals work through a series of four steps that help them positively reintegrate into everyday life while managing activities like school, work, and family.

In 2008 the PBPN was given a grant by the U.S. Department of Justice and the PBPN, under the direction of Judicial Center Administrator Royetta Rodewald and her staff, established the Healing to Wellness Court.  The court consists of Judge Theresa Barr, Mike Boswell, law enforcement officer, Laverne Haag, alcohol/drug counselor, Mary LeClere, tribal elder, Nathan Hale, adult youth representative, Norma Shipshee, community advisor and Benny Potts, traditional advisor.  Raphael Wahwassuck is the Healing to Wellness Coordinator.

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Lisa Morris stands before members of the Healing to Wellness Court in the judges chambers at the Judicial Center.

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Left to right, front, Norma Shipshee, Mary LeClere, Judge Theresa Barr, Lisa Morris, Laverne Haag and Royetta Rodewald.  Back, left to right, Juanita Jessepe, Mike Boswell, Nathan Hale and Raphael Wahwassuck.

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Lisa with members of her family after she graduated.

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The new Judicial Center building was completed  in 2009 and includes a court room, a large jury waiting room, judges’chambers, administrative offices, and three conference rooms. It sits next to the Health Center and is located at 11444 158th Road.