“I just love seeing people and socializing,” said Michael. “I learned that the most important thing to wear every day is a smile.” Yet life wasn’t always ‘all smiles’ for Michael.
Two decades ago, he ended up hospitalized after a dispute with a neighbor. While in the hospital, a friend recommended that he seek long-term recovery treatment at Catholic Charities’ Delaware House Partial Care program.
Michael began by attending educational programs and counseling groups five days a week through the Partial Care program; then he moved on to programs that increased his independence.
“Coming to Catholic Charities was the best decision I ever made. The structure and support helped me give up drinking and establish healthy ways to live,” said Michael.
EMPLOYMENT ROLE MODEL
Michael’s job coach was able to connect him with employment through his local ShopRite. “My role as a Job Coach at Catholic Charities Supported Employment is to help individuals work through anxiety, strengthen their self-esteem, and present themselves confidently when applying for work,” explained Maria Lambarski. “Once employed, I continue to follow the clients to ensure good communications with their managers.”
Today, Michael attends a support group once a week and volunteers to help prepare and serve lunch to other clients. “Helping out in the kitchen at Catholic Charities Delaware House and working at ShopRite gives me the opportunity to meet people and make friends.”
For nearly 30 years, Supported Employment has enabled individuals with a mental illness diagnosis to find and keep jobs. Maria states that “Michael is the example I use when meeting with new clients because he is outgoing, always smiling, and willing to give his best.”