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"A Storybook Organization"

When I think of Lakeside Alternatives, I like to describe it as a "Storybook Organization". Our Storybook Organization originated in 1983 when four mental health facilities consolidated under the name Mental Health Services of Orange County. The intended purpose for the consolidation was to form a stronger organization, which could improve the coordination, efficiency and quality of care for those in need of mental health services. The consolidation of these four facilities into one proved to be a very difficult task. The organization struggled with its attempts to find a common vision and was faced with inadequate financial support from governmental and community payers.

The organizationís primary mission was to render mental health services to those of our community who were most in need. More than 97% of the population served by the organization had an annual income of less than $15,000.

Ten years ago, the Board of Directors recognized that in order to achieve its mission, the organizationís strategic mission needed to be revised. The Board of Directors decided the organization was in need of being managed through the application of sound business practices. In retrospect, that decision was the pivotal point for the creation of the Storybook Organization. The Board of Directors and management team focused on the application of proven business practices and, in addition, assumed more risk and became entrepreneurial.

The organization modernized its facilities and upon moving into the new facilities shed its old image by renaming itself "Lakeside Alternatives, Inc."

The organization registered the L.A. logo which was created by one of its clients who also served on the Board of Directors. This logo was selected because of its reflection of warmth and caring values towards those who we serve.

Upon managementís recommendation, the Board authorized several new programs. These programs were non-traditional mental health center activities such as a transportation program, a laboratory, a full service pharmacy, grant writing, and office space rental. These programs and services generated badly needed new revenues which allowed the organization to recruit and retain highly competent employees.

One of Lakeside Alternativesí value statements reflects the belief that an organization can only be as sophisticated as the level of quality and competence of its staff. Lakeside now enjoys the reputation as having attained a highly talented, quality-oriented, experienced staff. "Teamwork" is considered the standard of practice for our daily performance as well as the formation and application of the strategic planning process.

Until now, Lakeside Alternatives had not been able to concentrate on another important aspect of its mission, namely the education of the community as to the day to day realities as experienced in the lives of those who suffer from mental illness. A goal of the newly formed Lakeside Alternatives Foundation is to accomplish this facet of the organizationís mission. Serious mental illness is a biological brain disorder (chemical imbalance) similar to other chemical biological disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. The Board and Staff of Lakeside Alternatives are very excited about the establishment of the Foundation. We anticipate that the Foundation will not only help to educate our community on mental illness, but will also generate financial support which will be applied to treatment of the mental health needs of both children and adults.

Thank you for supporting Lakeside Alternativesí mission of serving those individuals of our community with their behavioral healthcare needs.

Duane Zimmerman
President & CEO
Lakeside Alternatives