Five years ago Katie was in a different place. She was just out of the hospital, living by herself, unable to hold a job. “I wasn’t functioning very well,” she acknowledged. Searching for structure and social connections for her daughter, Katie’s mother suggested a Vinfen Clubhouse. Though reluctant at first: “I thought it was just a place where people hung out all day doing nothing,” said Katie. She soon embraced her new Clubhouse family.
Today Katie is both a member and part-time staff. She started by helping out with administrative tasks and building her skills. Vinfen Program Director Kerry Caraccio saw her potential and hired Katie two years ago. “I’m only 30 years old, but I’ve never held a job for longer than three months before this,” she said, “So it’s a big, big deal.” She plans outings and activities for the Clubhouse. Work on the newsletter is one of her other roles, and she talks fondly of another member who has contributed. “I love watching people grow and come out of their comfort zones. The Clubhouse brought that out in me, and now I’m trying to help others.”
But Katie has even bigger plans and she’s determined to make things happen. She is working to become a peer specialist, to work with people who have mental illness. She’s twice applied for peer specialist jobs, but won’t give up. “I’m very tenacious. I’m not one of those people who says, ‘oh, they didn’t take me, I’ll just give up.’ I’m not that way.”
With the support of Vinfen, Katie continues to develop the skills she needs to achieve her professional goals. “The Clubhouse has brought me to a spot where I’m growing, moving forward instead of backwards.” It’s been a place of emotional support as well, a community.
She is particularly thoughtful about people at the holidays. “Vinfen is open on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” she says. “To me, that is a big deal.”
This holiday season, you can show your support for people like Katie.
Your gift of $25, $50, $100, or more will place a gift directly in the hands of those here at Vinfen who do not have the family or personal means to make the holidays special.
This year marks Vinfen’s 25th year of making the holidays hopeful with our Holiday Giving Program. In honor of our anniversary, we have set a fundraising goal of $25,000. We hope you will help us meet it.
Happy Holidays, and thank you for transforming lives together with Vinfen.