Mental health facility Rose Hill Center in Holly wins Detroit News Cheer for Charity

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Long-term mental health facility Rose Hill Center in Holly won the $20,000 prize in The Detroit News Holiday Cheer for Charity competition after raising almost $43,000 in donations.

The nonprofit, which says it is a national leader in psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation services for adults, will use the money to cover costs associated with protecting against COVID-19 and developing programs that encourage socializing, a key part of the residents' recovery.

"We feel absolutely wonderful about it and tickled that our donors and supporters stepped forward in such a big way to help us out," said Dennis Howie, Rose Hill's development director. "This has been a rough year for all nonprofits in light of COVID."

Dennis Howie is the development director for the Rose Hill Center in Holly.

Rose Hill was the early leader of five local charities in the two-week competition in which dollars counted as votes. Rose Hill raised $42,990, plus the $20,000 prize. Howell Nature Center was runner-up with $19,635. In total, the campaign raised $78,240, including for Detroit-based Kids-TALK Children's Advocacy Center, Detroit Goodfellows and Northville's Maybury Farm.

Located on 400 acres, Rose Hill offers residential mental health services, including group therapy. In addition, it has work programs on its farm, in its greenhouse or butterfly house for residents.

"It's a tremendous honor for us at The News to support such a cause, especially considering just how difficult this year has been for so many," said Detroit News Managing Editor Kevin Hardy. "All of those in consideration were worthy and deserve a spotlight on their necessary work."

The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for organizations like Rose Hill to hold key events and fundraisers. State orders earlier this year restricted its ability to accept new patients, as well. Rose Hill currently has about 50 residents compared to a typical 80.

It often raises about $1 million a year, but in 2020, that total has been closer to $800,000, Howie said. The December donations are a huge help and attracted first-time supporters, he said.

At the same time, the pandemic has made it more challenging for residents to have opportunities to be with their families and others. Past trips to volunteer in Holly and Grand Blanc have dried up.

The center has taken action to help remedy this: It installed transparent barriers in the cafeteria to serve patients there instead of only in their rooms. The money will help cover additional costs such as personal protective equipment and hand-sanitizing stations.

The center also is working on new socially distanced programs from karaoke nights to a Christmas tea.

"I don't know anybody who isn't feeling an added level of stress with everything we've been going through," Howie said. "The residents at the Rose Hill Center are just as vulnerable and already are struggling with some issues. The donations make a difference."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble