Posted on July 12, 2022
| 9:23 a.m.
The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness awarded its first two recipients with the John Kovacs Scholarship award designed for individuals who identify as having mental health and/or substance use experience, also known at “peers.”
The winners, Darcee Davin and Tina De La Cruz, were announced at a Peer Recognition event July 7 at the Marriott Hotel in Buellton. Each received a scholarship award of $2,500.
The scholarship program is made available through a donation from the John Kovacs Revocable Trust, which was gifted to Behavioral Wellness. To honor the memory of John Kovacs, the department established a Memorial Scholarship that will award up to two $2,500 scholarships annually.
In addition to the launch of the scholarship awards, the event included training on the principles of peer support and acknowledgment that peers working in the behavioral health field are now recognized throughout the state as new behavioral health providers with their services being reimbursable through Medi-Cal.
Award recipients were selected through a committee process as people who embody tenacity, resiliency and overcoming of barriers. Scholarship applicants include those who have self-identified as having lived experience with the process of recovery from mental illness, substance use disorder, or both, either as a consumer of these services or as the parent or family member of the consumer.
Applicants also must show a demonstrated need for which these funds will help bridge an important gap, address an unmet need, or make a significant difference in helping to achieve a life changing goal.