MARCH 7, 2006 | Not long after the
“It was an uphill battle,” Peters said recently of the effort to build the
Peters and others knew there was a great need for pediatric mental health services in the state, but in the general public, mental health was seen as an adult problem. “Everyone was resistant to me, but they liked to have me come and talk,” he laughed. Eventually, a collaborative effort led to a $1million federal grant for the facility.
“It was a wonderful place, better than I had envisioned,” Peters remembered of the bustling center filled with children, teachers, medical students, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists. He said there was nothing else like it anywhere and it soon became a model for the nation.
“There were days when Sam and I were working together – it was just wonderful,” he said, remembering the innovative services and cutting-edge research developed at the center. Peters stayed in contact with many of his patients through the years and said many did well in life, at least in part to the services they received in their youth.
Pat Youngdahl, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department, remembers, “They had a very good partnership. Pete and Sam had many great ideas and their personalities and skills complemented each other.”
Children would come on buses from public schools and file into classrooms in the bottom floor of the building. A playground, tennis courts and a basketball court surrounded the center. Part of the hospital’s seventh floor was designated for children who spent the day at the
“There was a lot of education going on at the center, even in the summer,” Peters said, remembering how teachers from the school districts would come in to learn how to work with children with learning disabilities. A summer program for the children included arts and crafts and music, and culminated with a program at the end of the session for their parents.
Peters also talked about the many contributions volunteers made. Several people from the community worked to raise money for the center and the playgrounds. The Scottish Rite Freemasons gave $5,000 a year for 10 years to the center. The Working Women’s Home and Day Nursery Center (WOHDAN) also supported the center and created a chair for the division of child psychiatry.
“It was a study center as well as a service,” Peters said of how the school setting allowed the researchers to collect information, while providing clinical services.
The center was a launching pad for many projects, and Peters and Clements traveled the globe, from
In 1988 the