Women's Shelter executive director to be honored

Marianne Kennedy, executive director of the Women’s Shelter Program of SLO County, will be presented the Community Counseling Center’s Arlene Chandler Award for outstanding dedication and leadership in the mental health industry.

She will be honored at the center’s second annual Lyceum Mental Health Awards and Education Luncheon at the Madonna Inn on Friday.

The awards luncheon honors local individuals who exemplify commitment to expanding and aiding mental health services in the region.

Kennedy was chosen because of her 28 years of work building and expanding the Women’s Shelter Program, including forming the Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence in 1993 and working with Phyllis Madonna to form the Annual Fashion Show and Musical Revue that benefits the Women’s Shelter Program.

During Kennedy’s time with the program, the Women’s Shelter budget has grown from $130,000 with three paid staff members to $1.6 million with 34 paid employees and more than 120 volunteers, according to the news release.

Award namesake Arlene Chandler — one of the Community Counseling Center founders and a pioneer in developing counseling programs for local families and students — will attend the awards luncheon.

The luncheon will feature keynote speaker Michael Furlong, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara Givertz School of Education, on fostering co-vitality and complete mental health screening in schools.

Registration for the luncheon is $50. To register, visit or email Two continuing education units are available for licensed psychologists, marriage family therapists, clinical social workers and registered nurses who chose to attend.