This week, we celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of our Shelby office! Offering psychiatric, Triple P Parenting, case management, counseling and drug & alcohol services. For more information on our services offered at this location, please contact 419-342-2327.
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?
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
Social Engineering, in the context of Information Security, is the use of deception to manipulate individual for fraudulent purposes. With the rise of social media over the past several years, scammers and hackers are using psychological manipulation to receive personal or valuable information from vulnerable victims. Projections show that at least 2 billion people will use some form of social media in 2019 alone. Social engineering attacks can come in many forms and anyone could be a target, whether it be myself, an IT genius;), or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Here are a few examples of Social Engineering and how you can stay alert and ward off attacks now and in the future.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
It’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:
- Am I someone who enjoys working with other people and interacting with customers?
- Do I have a flexible schedule and am willing to work evenings and weekends?
- 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:
- Situation – What took place that led to the problem at hand?
- Task – What were you assigned to do or what was your role in the problem?
- Action – What did you do to fix the problem?
- Result – How 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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This year’s Leadership Unlimited class visited Catalyst Life Services with the topic of Wellness! It was an impactful experience and Catalyst was able to share the variety of ways they offer support on an individual’s journey to Wellness.
Harry Donahue, CEO & President welcomed these leaders to Catalyst Life Services.
Mitch Jacobsen, Director of Vocational Services, provided the class with a tour of Progress Industries’ industrial workshop which employs individuals with disabilities and serves the manufacturing community of Richland County with cost-effective production solutions. Mitch discussed the importance of assisting individuals with barriers to employment and how our vocational department put over 500 people to work last year.
Laura Montgomery, VP of Human Resources and Housing Services, was able to speak about the Housing First Philosophy. Housing First is an approach that offers permanent, affordable housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and then provides the supportive services and connections to the community-based supports people need to keep their housing and avoid returning to homelessness. For more information on Housing First: Click Here
Erin Schaefer, Director of Operations, and Elaine Surber, Associate Director and Director of New Beginnings Drug and Alcohol Services, were able to provide a demonstration on the 8 dimensions of wellness and how implementing the Eight Dimensions of Wellness part of daily life can improve mental and physical health for people with mental and/or substance use disorders. For more information on the eight dimensions of wellness: Click Here
No matter where you are in life, there’s always room for improvement. At Catalyst Life Services, we serve people at every stage of life. We work toward the total health of ALL the people in our region, in ALL parts of their lives: body, mind and spirit. We are an agent of change guiding the people we serve to lead more fulfilling lives.
Below is our success stories of an individual who has gone through all of Catalyst’s programs and his experience back to wellness.