CooperRiis founder selected as 2011 Asheville YWCA honoree

Published 6:42 pm Friday, September 30, 2011

The YWCA in Asheville, N.C., honored Lisbeth Riis Cooper, founder of CooperRiis Healing Community in Mill Spring, at its annual “Tribute to Women of Influence” (TWIN) ceremonies.
More than 400 people gathered at the Diana Wortham Theater at Pack Place in Asheville on Thursday, Sept. 15 to celebrate the 2011 honorees.

Lisbeth Riis Cooper

Riis-Cooper, one of 25 women nominees this year, was named in the Transformation category, an award given to “Any woman or group of women who has overcome barriers and transformed her life or the lives of others.”
CooperRiis is a Mental Health Recovery Program founded in 2003, centered on a ‘healing farm’ in Mill Spring. Last year, Cooper-Riis added an urban-based campus in Asheville.
Individuals with mental illness arrive at CooperRiis’ doorstep, often dis-empowered, dis-engaged, dis-eased and stuck.  As co-founder of CooperRiis, Riis-Cooper has played a leading role in empowering almost 500 individuals over the last eight years since CooperRiis opened.
“She has led the building of an entire organization that empowers individuals whom most of society would have relegated to a state of hopelessness rather than empowerment,” the YWCA announced. “Renowned author Oliver Sacks wrote about CooperRiis, saying that it has helped to revive the (nearly) lost virtues of community and compassionate care for the field of mental health care.”
The other 2011 Honorees of the Year were Yaira Andrea Arias Soto of the Center for Participatory Change, an organization working to help Hispanic families integrate into the community and achieve their dreams, and Women for Women: A Giving Circle of the Community Foundation of WNC.
The winners were presented with custom ceramic awards, created by artist Catharine Brown and underwritten by John Cram and Matt Chambers of New Morning/Bellagio Art to Wear. Videos by Bourne Media about each Honoree of the Year are posted at the YWCA website:
– article submitted
by Jeff Byrd

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