Unity House to honor local author Meyers

A committee of Unity House employees has selected author Elaine Meyers of Aurora as this year’s Open Arms Award winner. The author and former librarian will receive the 13th-annual award at Unity House’s annual board and award dinner on Monday, April 29.

Elaine Meyers

The committee selected Elaine for her openness to helping people with mental illness through Unity House’s PROSperity program. A lifelong lover of literature, Elaine has been teaching writing classes at PROS.

“The reason you become a writer is to have a conversation,” Elaine said. “The depth of conversations that I’ve had at PROS has been inspiring, for the content and for the brilliance of expression. There is a confidence I see …. that is only found in accomplished writers.”

Last year, Elaine taught weekly creative writing and journaling class. She now facilitates a book club at PROS.

Elaine coordinated youth services at libraries in Arizona for many years before retiring and moving to Cayuga County. She had also served as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Arizona and UCLA graduate library schools.

Elaine’s younger brother, Carl, suffered from PTSD and paranoid schizophrenia after fighting in Vietnam in the 1960s. He lived in mental health homes in Maryland and Pennsylvania until he passed away about 12 years ago. Elaine found in Unity House, and the PROS program in particular, a place where people who were struggling could got the help they need to thrive, just as her brother had.

“All I had to do was visit and get to meet the clients to know that this is where we could learn to listen, to understand, and to love,” Elaine said.

Unity House’s Open Arms Award recognizes a community member or organization that welcomes the people with disabilities, in public and/or at their place of business. The award winner demonstrates empathy and genuine delight when interacting with these individuals, helping them to gain a sense of place and inclusion within the community. The Open Arms Award exemplifies caring, compassion, and a commitment to recognizing ability.

Unity House’s annual dinner takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn, 74 State St., beginning at 5:30 p.m. April 29. The cost is $80 per person. The guest speaker will be Charlie Mills of Mr. Mills Enterprises, Inc. Charlie’s story of addiction recovery will inspire you to make the most of your life, whatever its challenges, and to ask for help along the way.

Dinner tickets are available through April 24, 2024 by visiting unityhouse.org/annual-dinner.

For more information, contact Director of Marketing and Development Kelly Buck at kelly.buck@unityhouse.org.