May 2019: Cara's Scholarship Becomes a Valuable Asset in Her Recovery
Cara’s story of recovery began in 2014 when she dealt with identity fraud. After 21 years of resiliency and recovery, she lost her job, car, license, and access to education, and ended up in the hospital. Through counseling, she began working with the Department of Mental Health where she states her “life changed 180 degrees.” Through DMH, she applied for a volunteer opportunity which ultimately led to a job as an activity assistant, a position she held for three years.
Her next goal was to finish her college degree, and through the help of DMH, she met with a disability counselor at her college who said that she could return, but would have to pay for the first class. Through DMH’s partnership with the Central Mass Employment Collaborative, Cara was able to apply for a scholarship through our Sponsorship Training Program to cover this first, necessary semester.
Cara was awarded the scholarship, which she said “was one of the most valuable assets to recovery” and that “it reinforced how much progress she made in resiliency.” Cara obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, graduating Cum Laude with a 3.2 GPA.
She realized that being a voice of mental health recovery was important and started her new journey, pursuing peer specialist work. She began volunteering at Every Day Miracles where she was welcomed and had the opportunity to learn about working with different populations. Cara remarks, “I have a passion and realized how hard it is to obtain sobriety. Now, I have some new amazing people in my life. I have gained a new respect about the changes that people make in sober living. I am lucky that I have my family, friends, medical staff, and other support systems in the community. I am grateful which fuels my recovery and keeps my resilience ongoing.”
February 2019: Interview Training and Preparation Provide Heidi with the Confidence to Enter the Workforce
Heidi is a spirited, polite woman with a great smile, and is always ready to express her gratefulness. She actively participated in CMEC’s Ace the Interview sessions. Through the sessions, Heidi gained confidence in the job interview process, became prepared to answer interview questions, improved her verbal skills, and learned how to face different types of interviewers. In addition, she participated in CMEC’s Soft Skills Training Workshop, which helped her learn social skills for participating in the workforce.
As a result of these trainings, Heidi became more confident in her ability to enter the workforce. Through collaboration between CMEC and our partner, HMEA, Heidi was successfully placed as a Janitorial Crew member at Family Behavioral Health in Oxford. She works there once a week and takes immense pride in her job. Heidi is very excited about her role in disinfecting services.
Heidi's employer gives her accolades for going above and beyond, and for her thoroughness at her job. Heidi’s job coach describes her as reliable, capable, consistent, and that she cannot be more proud of herself at doing her best at her job.