Far too often, we focus only on the barriers for people with disabilities and at-risk or homeless Veterans. While the challenges are real, many clients are already making a difference in their communities. Read their stories here and be inspired to get involved with Community Catalysts California.
Watch VCS Veteran, Cristina Alvarado’s Success Story video here
Meet Michelle. Michelle is a proud Army Veteran with twelve years of service. Earlier this year, Michelle, along with her son, sought out Veteran Community Services (VCS), a division of Community Catalysts of California as she was homeless and living in her vehicle. Michelle was quickly enrolled in VCS’ Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program with the goal of quickly getting her into housing, developing a case plan with action steps and connecting her to necessary community resources. During her time in the program Michelle has been an incredibly active and positive participant. She met regularly with her assigned Housing Coordinator to discuss her housing wants, needs, and potential options. Michelle worked simultaneously with her Housing Coordinator to identify and view potential apartments. Due to a genuine team effort between VCS and Michelle, she was able to move into a two-bedroom apartment in her desired neighborhood within 30 days of enrollment. Michelle worked closely with her Case Coordinator (CC) to create her Housing Stability Plan while identifying more necessary community resources.
While in the program Michelle unfortunately lost possession of her vehicle. Her CC immediately supported her by supplying a bus pass. Veterans Community Services prides itself on being a program that physically “meets each Veteran were he or she is located.” VCS staff demonstrated this dedication by meeting Michelle at her home and at various Starbucks locations for regularly scheduled meetings. Michelle expressed that meeting with her CC out in the community was a stress reliever that enabled her to concentrate more on her housing stability goals. After moving into permanent housing, Michelle enrolled at CCSD where she is currently studying psychology.
Michelle is enthusiastic about her classes and hopes to obtain employment in the human services field after she graduates. Along with a full school schedule Michelle is also working part-time at a grocery store. She enjoys her job immensely and is hopeful for possible growth within the company, potentially increasing her income. Michelle is proud to say that her life is steadily moving upward. Michelle was also able to save enough money to purchase a used vehicle enabling easier transportation for her and her son. Veterans Community Services staff could not be prouder of Michelle for all the positive achievements that she has made and continues to make in her life!
Meet Ron. Ron joined Community Catalysts of CA Independent Living Program in August of 1999. Over the years Ron has gained valuable living skills which allow him to live and work in our community. Ron enjoys spending time with his long-term peer roommate who is also a client of CCC. Together they make a great team by providing natural support to each other and encouraging each other to become the best person they can be. One of Ron’s greatest successes is his career. Ron worked at Tri City hospital for 30 years in the Environmental Services Department. He was responsible for ensuring the patients rooms were cleaned and that all areas of the hospital were cleared of debris. After working at Tri-City Hospital for 30+ years he retired a few years back. After only a few weeks of “retirement”, Ron realized how much he enjoyed the work he did and the people he worked with, so he went back to Tri-City and asked to volunteer. Ron continues to volunteer at the hospital in the lab. He is responsible for receiving lab samples from all areas of the hospital. He walks from department to department picking up samples and taking them to the lab where he ensures they are received by a lab employee for processing. On these walks to the different department, Ron can be seen greeting all those around him. Outside of his volunteer work, Ron enjoys bowling, collecting clocks, taking walks and going to garage sales. He also participates in many of Community Catalysts Client Advisory activities throughout the year.
Please meet David. After 24 years of living in a group home setting, in 2012 he moved to his own place with Supported Living Services. When David first arrived he would not do any task, make a choice or a decision without asking for permission first. He didn’t take his medications on his own and he asked for permission to come and go from his own home.
Today David is a more independent and confident person. He is a member on the Redwood Coast Regional Center board and he is an officer for the local chapter of People First. He attends the Community Catalysts Advisory meetings and gives very good suggestions. David comes and goes as he pleases. He now informs his support staff he is leaving rather than asking for permission. He goes out to eat, goes to church, and participates in Special Olympic activities. He loves to travel and has visited places such as Disneyland, Nashville, New York, Las Vegas and he is now planning a trip to Washington D.C.
—He rides the bus to the coast to visit his family on holidays.
—David loves going to concerts and his favorite musician is Reba McIntyre.
—David now keeps track of his own medications by signing a daily reminder sheet. In the two years since moving to his own place, David has only missed signing one time.
—David works 5 days a week doing grounds maintenance.
“Community Catalysts California rocks and is great!” – Rahnemoon
“You guys have done a real good job working with me.” – Copeland
“Community Catalysts helps me maintain my individuality.” – Bausemer