Vera French Community-Based Mental Health Services Now Available at The Center – Love In Action

Vera French Hires Barbara Robinson-Lagarde as a New Community-Based Therapist To Help Meet People Where They Are.

Davenport, Iowa (July 7, 2023) – The Vera French Community Mental Health Center (VF CMHC) and The Center – Love in Action are proud to announce that Vera French’s community-based mental health services are now available at the Center’s Brady Street location in Davenport.

Located at 1411 Brady Street in Davenport, Iowa, The Center – Love in Action is affiliated with the community outreach efforts of St. John’s United Methodist Church and shares a building with the Skate Church on Brady Street. “We are thrilled to have Vera French as a tenant & collaborator here at The Center.” said Penny Kellenberger, Executive Director of The Center – Love In Action. “Through our outreach efforts, we see people each day who could improve their own lives if only they could be connected with mental health services – having compassionate and caring members of the Vera French team right on our second floor has already made amazing connections for the people we serve.”

Vera French has served as an independent community mental health center (CMHC) for a five county region including the Quad Cities over the last 74 years. While Vera French has not affiliated with any religious group or domination, they welcome the partnership with the Center. Vera French CEO – Dr. Richard Whitaker, Jr. PhD. said, “The Center – Love in Action does a great job helping members of our community each day. For those seeking to improve their mental health, Vera French being available onsite seemed like a natural partnership in order to increase access to our lifesaving services.”

Vera French specializes in achieving positive mental health outcomes, especially for individuals living with the day-to-day realities of serious mental illness, which often include loss of employment and income, deteriorating health, homelessness, and strained family relationships.

Following a grant from the Vera French Foundation to renovate two private office spaces, Vera French became a tenant of The Center – Love in Action in early 2023. “At Vera French, we recognize that every person’s experience with mental illness is unique, and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to recovery,” said Vera French Chief Operating Officer (COO), Denise Beenk, MBA, LISW, SHRM-CP. “Often times, taking the first step to recovery can be the hardest, so we innovate and adapt to engage people in places they already gather each day. For this reason, the caring and supportive environment of the Center – Love in Action was a perfect place to co-locate Vera French services.”

Earlier this year, Vera French hired Barbara Robinson-Lagarde, MSW as a community-based therapist who maintains office hours at The Center – Love in Action each weekday morning. “Just like every person is different, so is every person’s recovery story. The most important thing is to be available and open to listening when a new client is ready to talk about their personal situation.” said Barbara Robinson-Lagarde, MSW.

The Center – Love in Action is currently engaged in fundraising and grant writing efforts to upgrade its IT infrastructure and internet capacity to improve the connectivity of Vera French and other service providers located there.

More information about The Center – Love in Action is available on their Facebook page ( or their website (

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About Vera French

Vera French is a family of non-profit Iowa corporations encompassing the Vera French Community Mental Health Center (VF CMHC), Vera French Housing (Housing) and the Vera French Foundation (the Foundation).

About the Vera French Community Mental Health Center (VF CMHC)
Founded in 1949 as the Scott County Mental Health Center, our agency strives to be a center of excellence which collaborates with our community partners to advance mental health for all and deliver high-quality, accessible healthy living solutions. In 1982, the agency was renamed in honor of longtime director Dr. Vera French, MD. Vera French Community Mental Health Center serves as an independent provider of community-based mental health services to all who need them. Vera French is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors which oversees a team of over 230+ talented medical, clinical, and behavioral health management professionals.

About The Vera French Foundation
In 1985, the Vera French Foundation was created as a subsidiary of the VF CMHC to help spread compassionate awareness of mental illness in our community and to inspire generous giving.

About Vera French Housing
The Vera French Housing Corporation was formed in October 1994 to assist individuals with persistent mental illness to obtain permanent, affordable housing linked to the Center’s support services and other resources within the community. Today, Vera French Housing proudly owns and operates 141 apartment rental units scattered throughout Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. Vera French Housing believes stable housing is vital to allowing individuals to focus on their mental and physical well-being.


For more information on Vera French, our 2022 Annual Report is available by clicking HERE

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