Golf For A Great Cause!

Catalyst Life Services is excited to announce a golf outing, hosted by the Mid-Ohio Area Labor Council on June 14th at Oak Tree Golf Club!

All proceeds from this event will benefit the New Beginnings Detox/Withdrawal Management facility currently being built. Catalyst Life Services is always developing and growing to meet the needs of our community. Richland County is in the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic. The impact of this is far reaching: the child that grows up parentless, the employer who has lost time and money to a struggling workforce, the community that has had to redirect resources in response to a climbing death toll. This does not account for the losses of the individuals themselves: friends, siblings, neighbors, all of whom will never share their unique gifts due to the inherent challenges of addiction. Catalyst Life Services sees this as an opportunity to provide a comprehensive plan addressing the crisis of addiction holding back our community’s ability to grow and prosper.

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Healing From Trauma and Substance Use: A Tandem Ride

Picture in your mind a five year old girl falling off her bike, crashing to the ground, and catching herself on the pavement with what are now bleeding hands and skinned knees. If her mother comes quickly to her side, provides reassurance with a caring and concerned tone, and cleans and bandages her injury, she is more easily able to calm down, trust that she is okay, and know that when she needs help her mother will be there.

However, if her mother was nowhere to be seen when this happened and then blamed and criticized her for being clumsy, now the greater feeling of pain comes not from her scrapes and bruises, but from feeling alone and uncared for. This is also often the case with trauma; the pain of the initial injury is compounded by feeling alone, and not understood. Connie Lawrence, certified psychodrama practitioner, trainer, and founder of the Cleveland Psychodrama Institute has stated, “When we suffer a trauma, we really have two wounds. The first is the trauma itself-the second is the feeling that no one understands. For many of us the second is much more painful.” Continue Reading

41st Annual All-Star Classic

Catalyst Life Services’ partnership with the Mansfield News Journal for the 41st year of the All-Star Classic Basketball game did not disappoint!

The South narrowly beat the North 143-140 in overtime; the third time the game has ever ran into overtime in its long history.

In retrospect, perhaps, it was South Coach, Taylor Iceman’s, fortuitous win of the draft coin toss that gave him the  leading edge. He snagged Mansfield Senoir’s Quan Hillory and Ashland’s Garrett Denbow both of whom put up a jaw-dropping number of points– Hillory 43 and Denbow with 36. Hillory walked away as the evening’s MVP and between them they broke the record of most points by two players on the same team.

It was a fast paced, back-and-forth night; with only 13:32 left in the game, the South trailed the North 81-59. The deciding moment came when Klejhan Randleman made a 3-pointer to eek out a 141-140 South lead. After Hillory sank a few more free throws, the deal was sealed and Iceman’s team walked away with the win.

Win or lose, there was no denying that both teams were stacked with talent. These were the best of the best from all around North Central Ohio and it showed! It was a wonderful display of sportsmanship and philanthropy on the part of the players.

Each year, a few kids who receive services from Catalyst are selected as the recipients of gifts from the represented schools. Each one beamed as  the players personally presented them with a gift; their goodie bags swelling with generosity.

This much-loved event always drives the point home that when we support a good cause: everybody wins!

 

 

Greater than the sum of its parts: The evolution of a telethon and community organization

What does it take to pull off an all day Telethon full of live entertainment, rows of vendors, prizes,boisterous hosts and public guests? How do you encourage scores of people to donate their energy, talent, food and sponsorship to the tune of two million dollars over the course of 28 years? First, you have a remarkable community full of passionate individuals willing to put others’ needs ahead of their own. Then, you build a non-profit agency capable of affecting thousands of people’s lives through an array of mental health and well-being programs too broad to even list.

In short, you’re an organization like Catalyst.

In the beginning, the Telethon was known as “The Rehab Telethon.” First started by WMFD in 1992, its proceeds funded the operation of The Rehab Center which specialized in the rehabilitation of people with physical disabilities. Catalyst itself, is the 2010 merger of two previously well-known entities that served the community for over 65 years: The Center for Individual and Family Services and the aforementioned Rehab Center. It’s comprised of four major departments: Audiology and Deaf Services, Vocational Services, Mental Health and Crisis Services, and Addiction Services.

The Rehab Center is now the hub for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Crisis Services, Audiology and the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Vocational wing—which includes Progress Industries and Precise Services. Just up the street, is “The Center,” an expansive building housing Adult Mental Health and Crisis Services, The District V Forensic Diagnostic Center, residential programming, a stabilization unit, and outpatient drug and alcohol resources. It’s a complex of buildings wrapping their way along Sterkel Ave. that also includes New Beginnings Residential Treatment Center and will soon include the only Drug Withdrawal Management facility in all of Richland County.

But, what, exactly, is Catalyst?

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Deaf and addicted: How one woman reclaimed her life with Catalyst Life Services

She’s seated across from me in the ambient light of the Director of Deaf Service’s office. Her interpreter is by my side so she can have a clear view of her hands, and so I don’t mistakenly direct my attention and questions to the interpreter instead of the woman herself.

She’s been a client of Catalyst Life Services for over two decades. In May, she will be sober for one year. I ask her what first brought her to Catalyst and she begins rapidly moving her hands to tell her story.

“I think I was 25.  I was addicted to drugs and had attempted suicide.” There’s a pause before she continues, “It was from my childhood. I had a really bad experience. I was sexually molested and that was why I was depressed. So, when I added drugs and alcohol…” She makes a gesture like a bomb going off.

25 was a difficult age for this woman, who wished to remain anonymous. She unexpectedly ended up pregnant, left her family, and married the father of her child–a marriage that eventually ended, leaving her to raise her children on her own. It was only when she came to the Richland County Health Department for assistance during her pregnancy that she learned she could use the services of an interpreter. The interpreters she found came from the nearby Rehab Center–now part of Catalyst Life Services; it was through contact with them that she was able to find the help she needed when her life took a turn for the worse. Through Catalyst, she’s taken part in addiction therapy groups, private counseling sessions, visited the Audiologist, and utilized the many services offered at the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. When I asked her how Catalyst helps her she indicates a never-ending list. There’s the mental wellness part, of course, but then there is the more day to day assistance. Director of Deaf Services Tanya Haga explains that for many deaf clients, English is not their first language, so paperwork that they get from the doctor’s office or letters they receive from schools concerning their children are difficult to read. The uninitiated, myself included, may be forgiven for not understanding that American Sign Language isn’t based off of American English. “The grammar is completely different,” says Haga. Continue Reading

Let’s Make This Holiday Season Inclusive

The holiday season is a wonderful time of family gatherings, parties, and programs. However, this time can be frustrating and even lonely for individuals with a hearing loss. Here are a few tips to help make the loveliest time of year inclusive for all.

 

  • Get someone’s attention before trying to talk to them
  • Make sure to be clear about the topic of the conversation before talking about the topic
  • Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation
  • Make sure to face the individual the entire conversation, don’t turn your face away when talking
  • Be sure to not cover your mouth with your hands, coffee mug, etc.
  • Avoid over exaggerating your mouth when you speak – this will make it more challenging to understand what you are saying
  • Speak naturally – there is no need to yell because that just changes your mouth movements and therefore makes it harder to understand
  • If the individual doesn’t understand what you said: don’t become frustrated or angry, don’t just brush it off by saying something like “never mind”, and don’t isolate the individual from future conversations. Instead, rephrase what you said to allow for another chance for understanding.
  • Be sure to converse away from background noise
  • Be sure to converse in an area with good lighting so your face can be seen

 

Tanya Haga is the Director of Deaf Services and has worked at Catalyst Life Services since 2014 in this role. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in American Sign Language Interpreting, a Master’s of Education and Master’s in Business Administration. She is also nationally certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. Tanya’s responsibilities include management and oversight of interpreting, captioning, case management for clients with a hearing loss, sign language classes, summer youth program, and contract and grant projects.

“Have yourself a Merry little Christmas, let your heart be light….”

A beloved holiday classic, this song can conjure up all kinds of positive memories of Christmases past.  Indeed, the holiday season is often full of warm memories, family gatherings, work parties, and general positive cheer.

However, the holidays are not festive and cheery for all.  For some, they represent painful memories or reminders of loved ones no longer here.  For still others, the holidays represent added stress of more to do, more money to spend when there is no “extra” money, and more activities added to an already stressful schedule.

So how can one maintain good mental health during this “most wonderful time of the year”?  Here are some tips for managing stress and dealing with depressive/anxiety symptoms during this time:

  1. Remember the word “No.” Only you know when it is too much for you.  Taking care of yourself means setting limits and sticking to them.  When you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to step back and take a break.
  2. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Memories can be painful, and simple things can trigger memories when you least expect it.  A song, a smell, a phrase, or a sound can all be significant reminders.  When this happens, be gentle with yourself, embrace the significance of the moment, and allow yourself to feel whatever emotions it brings.
  3. Maintain a routine. One of the things the holidays can bring is chaos and craziness.  Maintaining as much of the normal routine as possible can help minimize the impact of the disruptions.  Routine stabilizes mind, body, and spirit as it grounds a person in what is known in the midst of the unknown.
  4. Limit alcohol use. When stressed, it is tempting to use alcohol as a coping mechanism.  However, alcohol use can lead to alcohol abuse and subsequent poor decision-making.  In addition, alcohol is a depressant and often leads to increased feelings of depression and sadness after significant use.  Limiting use to one or two drinks helps a person to maintain control and avoid complications normally associated with heavy use.
  5. Seek comfort from those who support you. There are those within our daily lives who provide emotional support and assistance.  Reach out to those you know you can count on, and let them know when you feel overwhelmed.  Asking for help allows others to know specifically what they can do to support you.
  6. Develop a budget. Knowing how much you have to spend for gifts for family, friends, and coworkers allows you to manage expenses.  This can also keep you from getting overwhelmed with surprise bills come January. If money is tight, get creative; make your own gifts or agree to spend time together instead of buying gifts. You make your own rules.
  7. Find time for rest and relaxation. Even in the midst of hustle and bustle, it is important to take time to catch your breath.  When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a break by doing things you enjoy, such as watching a movie, exercising, hanging out with friends, or reading.  Taking some downtime helps you recharge and rejuvenate yourself before the next set of activities.

If you find yourself having serious difficulties during or continuing to struggle beyond the holidays, there is help available.  Catalyst Life Services has a wide array of services available to address mental health, drug & alcohol, vocational, and many other issues.

Call Helpline at 419-522-HELP (419-522-4357) for information.  Contact us; we can help!

Erin Schaefer, IMFT-S, LPCC-S is the Director of Operations at Catalyst Life Services.  She received a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University in 1997 and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling in 2002 from the University of Akron.  Erin has worked in community mental health for over 20 years.  She was also director of Ashland Parenting Plus, a small nonprofit agency focused on teen pregnancy prevention, juvenile diversion, and parent education.  She served on the board and as president of the Ohio Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and also on the board of directors of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy from 2011-2013.  She has been a member of AAMFT since 1997 and is a Clinical Fellow

vocation progress industriesIt’s that time of year again!

The weather turns colder, the leaves begin changing colors, and “Help Wanted” signs are posted in every retailer’s window.

In many cases, seasonal positions are a great option for individuals seeking part-time employment. What might you want to review before coming to the decision to apply for such a position? How might you improve your chances of successfully obtaining such a position? Remember these simple tips in order to make your job search more successful.

To determine whether an open position might be a good fit for you, start by thinking about what skills someone might utilize in such a position. Consider how the business or employer might frame those into a position posting online. Then begin asking yourself questions relating back to the requirements of the position, for example:

  1. Am I someone who enjoys working with other people and interacting with customers?
  2. Do I have a flexible schedule and am willing to work evenings and weekends?
  3. Am I someone who thrives in a fast-paced environment?

By understanding yourself and your intent in your job search, you can ensure higher levels of success as you progress through the job seeking process. It is important that you first assess the position or industry as a fit for you as a prospective job seeker. There are number of online assessments that can guide you through this process as well. Assess your preferences and attitudes to find a position that fits your needs.

Equally important to understanding yourself, it is critical to ensure that you envision the hiring manager’s perspective when applying for these positions. By doing this, you can oftentimes predict possible interview questions in advance. If a “Help Wanted” advertisement requests someone who works well independently, the interviewer might say something like:

                “Tell me about a time when you were able to succeed with little guidance or direction.”

This is what is known as a “situational” or “behavioral” interview question. The interviewer is expecting an example demonstrating your ability to process through a difficult task. Here is one tip to prepare yourself to answer such a question; just remember the STAR method:

  1. Situation – What took place that led to the problem at hand?
  2. TaskWhat were you assigned to do or what was your role in the problem?
  3. ActionWhat did you do to fix the problem?
  4. ResultHow was this situation resolved?

In preparing for your next interview, try to come up with a few specific examples for situational interview questions that exemplify a few of your “transferable skills” which are skills you take with you from one position to another (sometimes in an entirely different industry). Some of these skills might include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Computer Literacy
  • Critical Thinking
  • And many others

Finally, as you review these tips before you start the job seeking process, remember that we have only touched on the surface of some of these topics. You can take your job search to the next level by expanding on the advice given above.

For more information about job seeking skills or how best to prepare for what comes after the interview, stay posted to this blog and follow us on social media, where there will be more helpful hints to come.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Blog Written by: Mitch Jacobsen is the Director of Vocational Services at Catalyst Life Services, and he has worked with individuals with barriers to their employment and educational goals. He oversees a number of vocational programs and services designed to improve employment outcomes. Mitch is passionate about the vocational department at Catalyst Life Services, which helped put over 500 people to work in calendar year 2017.

Congratulations to Catalyst Life Services’ Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) team for their work toward earning high marks on their 4th Quarter Report on program performance measures.

This dynamic program serves nearly 200 Richland County youth, ages 14-24, with barriers to their employment and educational goals, with an emphasis on out-of-school youth with multiple barriers, some of those barriers might include youth who are:

  • Basic skills deficient
  • An English language learner
  • Offenders or subject to the juvenile or adult justice system
  • Homeless or a runaway
  • In foster care or who have aged out of foster care
  • Are pregnant or parenting
  • Have a diagnosed disability
  • Youth who require additional assistance to complete an education program or obtain and maintain long-term employment

In serving these youth participants, staff members on this program emphasize a number of program elements individualized to the participant and designed to remove or minimize these barriers to the youth participant’s goals and increase employment and educational placement outcomes.

In the WIOA program, measuring success comes in the form of five specific outcome measures, of which the Catalyst team “exceeded” or “significantly exceeded” four of these items.

One such measure of which the Catalyst team was particularly proud was that 79.4% (77/97) of eligible participants achieved a measurable skills gain, which is accomplished when an individual achieves one of the following:

  • Improvement of at least one educational functioning level
  • Passing 5 credit hours or more on the most recent progress report
  • Graduating from a secondary or post-secondary education program
  • Passage of an exam to attain a credential such as CDL/STNA

For this particular measure, the statewide rate was 28.8%.

These performance measures are reported at the state level quarterly and dispensed to the areas locally where the program receives governance and oversight from a local Workforce Development Board comprised of representatives from government entities, non-profit organizations, and private for profit businesses.

If you know anyone interested in this program contact Stephanie Jakubick at 419-774-2250 or at jakubick@catalystlifeservices.org