SOURCE: Conard House

November 02, 2009 11:30 ET

Kevin Hines, Survivor of a Jump From Golden Gate Bridge, Featured at Conard House Founders' Day Event

Assembly Members and Other Dignitaries Join to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of the Non-Profit Group Helping People Self-Manage Chronic Mental Illness

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 2, 2009) - Conard House, a pioneering nonprofit organization developing resources to help people self-manage mental illness since 1960, today announced the program for Founders' Day, which kicks off the Conard House year-long 50th anniversary celebration. The event will take place on November 5, 2009 at the First Unitarian Universalist Center in San Francisco, California.

As part of the program, Kevin Hines, who lives with bipolar disorder and survived a jump from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in 2000, will be a featured speaker. Mr. Hines immediately regretted his decision and miraculously survived the jump; following this incident, he came to Conard House, where he received help in learning to self-manage his illness. In his presentation Mr. Hines will offer personal insight into the benefits of residential treatment and the tools he uses to manage his illness.

Conard House was founded by Elaine Mikels, a visionary social worker committed to social justice for all people, especially those outside of traditional society. In 1959, Ms. Mikels saw the need for a "normalizing transitional community" for people with mental illness returning to San Francisco from Napa State Hospital. In 1960, she created Conard House, the first halfway house in San Francisco, named after her social work mentor, Conard Rheiner. Following her pioneering efforts for people living with mental illness, she became active in anti-poverty work, the anti-war movement, the civil rights campaign for gays and lesbians and women's health.

At Founders Day, Lisa Law -- niece of Ms. Mikels and photographer, author, filmmaker, counter-culture documentarian and board of director member of the Museum of the Sixties -- will honor her aunt by recounting personal recollections of Ms. Mikel's life and work as an activist.

Additionally, former Conard House Chairman Craig Adelman and current Chairman James McGhee will announce the establishment of the Elaine Mikels Award. This annual award will recognize an emerging community service visionary or organization, whose groundbreaking good work nurtures hope, inspires self confidence and empowers people to take charge of their own lives. Recipients will exemplify creativity, commitment and leadership potential. The first recipient of the Elaine Mikels Award will be named and honored at a gala event next fall.

Key dignitaries and special participants attending Founders Day include:

--  Craig Adelman, Deputy Director, San Francisco Mayor's Office of
--  Tom Ammiano, Assemblymember, District 13, California State Assembly.
--  Chris Daly, Supervisor, District 6, San Francisco Board of
--  Jim Illig, President, San Francisco Health Commission.
--  Fiona Ma, Assemblymember, District 12, California State Assembly.
--  James McGhee, President, California Board of Psychology; President,
    San Francisco Mental Health Board.

"We are thrilled to have such a high level of support for Founders Day, which recognizes and honors Conard House founder Elaine Mikels and her ideals of equality and respect," said Richard Heasley, executive director of Conard House. "Over the years and through a number of programs including supportive employment and supportive housing, Conard House has been able to help thousands of people in San Francisco to self-manage their chronic mental illnesses."

For more information on Founders Day or to request an invitation, please visit:

About Conard House

Conard House, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization providing mental health services to residents of San Francisco. Founded upon core principles of self-empowerment, self-determination and the least restrictive, community-based living, Conard House opened its doors in 1960 as the City's first "halfway house" for adults following hospitalization. Today it serves more than 2,000 people in two dozen locations. Support for its programs and services come from various city agencies, service fees from organizations, rents from residents, grants from foundations and gifts from donors. For more information about Conard House and its programs, please visit

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Maria Krinsky
    Kickstart Consulting
    (415) 509 0498
    Email Contact