Erica Upshaw-Givner Day

On December 15th, 2015, the City of Pittsburgh recognized Erica Upshaw-Givner and the Vision Towards Peace organization for services provided, involvement with the City Council's pre and post agenda regarding mental health, and the 1st Annual Passion Meets the Road Awards recognizing other service providers.

Sponsored by Councilwoman:

  • Theresa Kail-Smith

Co-Sponsored by Council Members:

  • Rev Ricky V. Burgess
  • Dan Gilman
  • Deborah Gross
  • Darlene M. Harris
  • Bruce A. Kraus
  • R. Daniel Lavelle
  • Corey O'Connor
  • Natalia Rudiak

2014 Passion Meets the Road Awards

*Click Here to view gallery

In September 2014, we held the 1st Annual Passion Meets the Road Awards event, acknowledging those who typically go unnoticed, yet whose work ethic is unwavering.

This year's event featured the following speakers and honorees:

Keynote Speaker

  • Karris M. Jackson, POISE Foundation

Featured Speakers

  • De'Netta Benjamin, Bethlehem Haven
  • Debbie Ference, Nami Southwestern, PA

Entrepreneur Honorees

  • Shawn McGill, Shawn McGill Consulting
  • Brooke Generett, Generett Counseling Services, LLC

Forerunner Honorees

  • Ed Gainey, State Representative
  • Charles Keenan, Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • Theresa Kail-Smith, Pittsburgh City Council (Dis. 2)
  • Kelly Wolfgang, Community Care Behavioral Health

Master of Ceremonies

  • Chris Moore, WQED Radio

Roadrunner Honorees

  • Vernard Alexander, Re-Employment Transition Center
  • Wanda Beasley, Office of Children, Youth and Families
  • Ronna Davis, Tadiso
  • Valerie Dixon, Center for Victims
  • Ricky Moody, Southwood Psychiatric Hospital
  • Karen Upsher, Power
  • Donna Wasim, FamilyLinks

Partnership Allows Addison to Offer Complete Care

Bernadette Turner, left, with Erica L. Upshaw-Givner. (Photo by Rossano Stewart)

Bernadette Turner, left, with Erica L. Upshaw-Givner. (Photo by Rossano Stewart)

For 30 years Addison Behavioral Care has been serving families and individuals in the community who are dealing with substance abuse through its culturally sensitive services that focus on prevention, intervention and treatment, but now, through a new partnership with Vision Towards Peace Counseling Services, they will offer a more comprehensive care by incorporating mental health services into their programming to ensure a more full and lasting recovery.

“I’m enthusiastic. I recognize the depths of the ills and concerns in the community, especially the Black community. In the drug and alcohol programs we see many people that have mental health issues,” said Bernadette Turner, executive director of Addison Behavioral Care. “We are now a one stop shop.”

Turner explained that far too often when an individual has to be sent to other places to receive additional services, it makes it harder for that person to stay in their recovery, so for Addison to offer everything in one location, can only mean good things. According to the Mental Health America website (, which cited a report from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. And of all the individuals diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs. Individuals who suffer from two or more disorders, for instance mental illness and substance abuse, are diagnosed as having co-occurring disorders.

Owner of Vision Towards Peace, Erica L. Upshaw, LCSW, said she is looking forward to the new partnership and the impact it will have on the community.  She said, “The recent collaboration will only benefit the community.” She explained that there are not a lot of African-American therapists in the city, and often times individuals dealing with issues feel more comfortable talking to individuals like them. “Culturally we (African-Americans) recover different,” she said.

While not all of the details of the partnership have been ironed out, Turner said Upshaw, who is already familiar with Addison and its programs through referrals she has received from them, will continue to see patients at her practice in the Hill District and will be onsite at Addison at least one day a week.

Along with the new mental health services, Addison also offers drug and alcohol programs for adolescents and adults that include individual and family counseling, intensive outpatient treatment and weekly counseling; a summer camp program for youths ages 6-13; in-home counseling programs; and more.

Both Turner and Upshaw said they have received great feedback thus far about what has already been done and look forward to what the future will bring. Upshaw is currently the only therapist independently contracted to work with Addison, but Turner said she hopes it will grow as they continue their work.

(For more information on Addison and its programs, visit

*via The New Pittsburgh Courier