From the CT Department of Mental Health & Addiction (DMHAS) Website:
I decided to go to school because I wanted a chance to do work that would challenge my mind and give something back to the community. I received my first certificate in Early Childhood Education but could not find any work that I liked to do. I wanted better opportunities for myself. While I was volunteering at a nursing home, I met a young woman who worked in Therapeutic Recreation and she told me about the program at Gateway Community College. I really enjoyed working with the elderly. They are more understanding and less critical. They have been through it and know the deal. I decided to go back to school for an Associate’s Degree in Human Services and certificates in both Gerontology and Therapeutic Recreation. The journey to getting my degree was not easy. I had to deal with old fears of the past as well as pressures from classmates and teachers. I’ve had classes that were interesting and some that weren’t that great. But I don’t give up. You can’t. If you want something you have to fight for it. School showed me my ability and that I could do it. I could reach a major goal. I’m not stupid because I have a mental illness. I can be a supervisor. I can do it. I graduated in May 2015! It was a major accomplishment. Many people don’t do it. I not only graduated but I did it with honors. There were many others who did it as well. We worked hard and earned it. I felt very proud of myself. Now that I am finished with school, I hope to start an entry level job in my field and advance in the ranks a bit. I am torn about what specific job I would like. I want to work in an assisted living program or as a job coach. I want to help people find work and have fun. Whatever I may choose, I look forward to having a job! Post script: Yolanda is in the process of being admitted to Fellowship Place’s Supported Employment Program to find a job that matches her interest and where she can utilize her newly earned skills learned through her education program.