On May 9, Gándara Center held a celebration in honor of our executive director, Henry East-Trou, who is retiring this year after almost 40 years of raising mental health awareness, fighting addiction in the community, and combating stigmas.

“Throughout his career Henry has been a tireless advocate for access to culturally sensitive mental health and substance use services for minority populations,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno (pictured above, left), one of several politicians—which included State Representatives Carlos Gonzalez and Jose Tosado—who hailed Henry for leaving a legacy that will never be forgotten.

Friends, family, employees, and community leaders joined us at the Barney Carriage House in Springfield’s Forest Park to celebrate Henry’s achievements, enjoy tasty food and drink, and listen to great music.

Ticket sales for this event raised $3,528 for the Aventura! Summer Camp Scholarship, a partnership between our agency and the city of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management. The program gives Springfield youth aged 5-18 the opportunity to attend one summer camp session for free. Individual donations through ongoing Aventura! fundraising initiatives—and through prior donations made to this event—totaled $7,780, for a grand total of $10,808.

Henry has been with the Gándara Center for 37 years and has served as our executive director for the last 30. A native of Peru, he began his career in behavioral health as a psychiatric aide and a bilingual psychiatric consultant in both residential and outpatient settings before joining the Gándara Center as the director of the agency’s day treatment program for people suffering from both acute and chronic mental illness.

Henry’s passion for working towards health equity and recognizing disparities in underserved populations has helped Gándara continue its mission to provide culturally sensitive, innovative behavioral health and substance use services to diverse populations for more than 40 years.

He has shepherded Gándara Center through an era of unprecedented growth—from serving 2,000 clients in the Springfield area when he became Executive Director to now serving more than 12,000 adults, children across the state.

Henry noted that although Gándara in his time here expanded from one Outpatient Clinic in Springfield to more than 45 locations across the state, our mission remains the same: championing the underserved. “I want to thank everyone who has been part of this journey with me,” he said.