Recent News


UCEPP staff member Adelene Bertha was recently recognized by the LA County Department of Public Health for her leadership, support, and commitment to the planning and successful execution of the 2018 Cannabis Summit and Emerging Leaders’ Summit. We salute her as she demonstrates her potential as a strong advocate for prevention!

The Graduation of Natalie S.

River Community Wellness Center is proud to announce the graduation of Natalie S.! As a participant, Natalie went above and beyond what she was required by the program and was always looking for new things to learn and participate in. She was pleasant to be around and presented with a cheerful and optimistic outlook. Natalie’s determination to be successful was consistent and allowed her family to be a part of her treatment. She became a good role model for her peers and was always ready to lend a helping hand. Natalie made no excuses for her actions and accepted her consequences as a learning opportunity and life lesson. Natalie’s plan is to continue with higher education, work full time, and apply for State Peer Counselor Certification with the Department of Mental Health. We look forward to seeing her join the Alumni Association and come back to speak and share her experience, strength and hope as she continues to grow in her recovery.

Mid Valley Outpatient’s Drug Court Graduation

Last week, Mid Valley Outpatient staff and participants celebrated the Drug Court graduation. Staff provided lunch at El Sombrero in El Monte, and then they proceeded to the El Monte Superior Court to participate in the graduation ceremony. Commissioner Rodriguez awarded successful completion with case dismissals and certificates from the court and from the city of El Monte. On behalf of the staff at Mid Valley Outpatient, we would like to congratulate all the graduates for their hard work and dedication to their recovery for 12 months.

Celebrating Outstanding Coalition Leadership

During a recent CCERP monthly coalition meeting, one of our members stepped forward and asked to facilitate. This was a momentous event considering she had been a quiet, behind-the-scenes leader. In stepping forward, she displayed her passion for improving our parks and demanded that the community work together not just for our children, but to also support the health needs of all. She made a call to action, suggesting that we take our demands to the Recreation and Parks Department. Her passionate words were moving and inspired other members of our coalition to bring forth additional demands. We are proud to share this moment and are confident that the work to organize and mobilize the community will continue with or without CCERP. Nydia G., we salute your leadership!

Mid Valley Outpatient Breakthrough Parenting...

Participants in the Breakthrough Parenting class completed the 17-week course successfully. They learned better methods to raise their children and hone their communication skills. Mid Valley Outpatient continues to support mothers and fathers trying to make a difference in their children's lives. Way to go, Mothers!!

Happy Anniversary, River Community!

What a difference a day makes! On this day (January 30) back in 1987, River Community had its first admission to the Agency’s first program. This was a huge milestone for the treatment of individuals who had co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as River Community was the first residential program in the country to address these problems. For the folks who needed help (prior to River Community), the system would play ping pong, bouncing them back and forth from mental health clinics to substance abuse treatment services. They were told when they got one issue under control they would go and try to address the other one. Unfortunately, the two conditions magnified each other, and little help was realized. But as the result of a supportive staff and outside support, thousands of individuals have since been helped over the past 31 years.

We would like to thank the partnerships between multiple Los Angeles County departments, Bud Hayes, our first CEO, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and a Board of Directors who believed in our mission.



Justin Womer began his journey as a Chemical Dependency Intern about eight years ago at River Community. He was hired as a Relief Counselor and worked briefly as a Night Counselor before being hired on as a Primary Counselor. While there, he became intensely interested in working with co-occurring individuals and went to USC to pursue his Master's in Social Work, focusing in Mental Health and a sub-concentration in working with Active Duty Service Members and Veterans. In 2015, he was promoted to Program Director of River Community. After five years and the boundless support of mentors, supervisors and peers, Justin finally passed his State Clinical Examination, and after review by the Board of Behavioral Sciences, he was accorded his licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Congratulations, Justin! Well done!