Obtaining My Dream: A Success Story

Liz Krivich with Tapestry of Our Lives, featuring her works of art. Pictured with Catalyst Employment Specialist, Josh Jewell

“Josh was there when I didn’t have a job. I was looking for
support and trying to open a door to finding a career,” said Liz Krivich, a
client of Catalyst Life Services. Josh Jewell has been Liz’s Employment Specialist
since September 2018. He has helped find many job opportunities for her.

“She really wanted to work in something artsy or in graphic
design. However, that can be such a hard career to find, especially in Ashland
and Mansfield. After calling several places, we found there were very limited
opportunities and many of the positions were filled with people who had been
there for a long time,” said Josh, Employment Specialist.

After Liz and Josh searched, Liz decided to broaden the
search. She needed a job and so she accepted a position at Crystal Care and
then, Buehlers. Although Liz enjoyed both positions, these jobs were still not
in the niche that she desired to be in.

While utilizing the employment services at Catalyst, Liz was
also taking advantage of the counseling services at Catholic Charities in
Ashland. Through this connection and support she found, Pathways Peer Support
Group. This group hosts a biweekly creative writing group that uses writing as
a tool for recovery. Diana Spore, Ph.D., the supervisor of the Pathways Peer
Support Program, helped Liz utilize her writing skills as a means of recovery.
However, art and drawing still remained Liz’s main creative process and
passion. Her artistic skill was apparent to the group facilitator and a few
months later Liz had the honor of having her works published in the Anthology, Tapestry of Our Lives.

This book is a compilation of written works created by individuals
in recovery. Liz’s drawn works were utilized as setting the theme in the five
different sections of the book. These sections include, Stepping Stones, Reflections,
Within Reach, River of Words and Breaking
the Chains
. Each drawn work relates to these sections and perfectly sets
the tone for the words waiting in the pages behind each picture.

 “I am really grateful
for the opportunities and friends I met along the way. I didn’t even believe I
was talented enough to go for this.” Liz admits. “I want to thank Pathways,
Catalyst and the Mental Health Board.”

Liz dreams of expanding on this opportunity. She would love
to find a job that allows her to grow and express her creativity in a way that
inspires and speaks to those who see her designs. Liz and Josh have already got
in touch with Henley Graphics in Loudonville Ohio, who had published, Tapestry of Our Lives.  Although there was not an open position,
there is future potential of a freelance position.

“I am just really proud of Liz. She has come a long way and
I am happy for all she has done,” Josh beams.

Liz is full time at Comtex as well as part-time at Buehler’s. Although she enjoys it, she is looking forward to the opportunities that may come from the publishing of her art. The struggle of finding a position in this field has also helped Josh, as an employment specialist, realize the need to partner with agencies in this specific area. Josh is prepared to be at her side as they continue to search for these opportunities. But no matter what, Liz’s positive and hard-working spirit will continue to push her toward success.

 

Interview with Catalyst Life Services Executive Director, Erin Schaefer Regarding Mental Health and Depression

Listen to Catalyst Life Services Erin Schaefer discuss mental health and depression with Charles Robinson, Program Director of iHeartMedia who shares his own diagnosis in this interview:

Erin Schaefer, LPCC-S, IMFT-S, is the Executive Vice President/Executive Director 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 currently Treasurer-Elect, starting her term in Jan. 2020.  She has been a member of AAMFT since 1997 and is a Clinical Fellow.

Progress Industries Annual Business Appreciation Breakfast

Catalyst Life Services is giving thanks to its business partners who employ participants of the CCMEP (Comprehensive Case Management Employment Program) and Success Unlimited programs. The businesses contracting with these programs were recognized at Catalyst’s annual Business Appreciation Breakfast on Wednesday September 25 in the lower level of Catalyst’s Rehab Center.

Across its various programs and partnerships, Catalyst serves approximately 300 youth and adult participants in as many as 80 paid work sites at any given time, with peak numbers seen in the summer while school is not in session.

These programs assist individuals with barriers to their employment and educational goals to gain experience in their desired employment sector. These individuals start at out at entry-level positions and receive on the job training and mentorship from their worksite supervisors and support from their employment specialists to ensure long-term participant success.

Program Director, Mitch Jacobsen, stated, “This breakfast serves a dual purpose for these programs, as we have the opportunity to give thanks to our business partners and further spread the message of our successes from the participant perspective.”

One such success is Coryanna Fraley, a self-described single mother who arrived in need of assistance and who has leveraged that into her status as a full time college student and part-time employee at Parent Aide through this program.

“Coryanna is what this program is all about” said Jacobsen, “She embodies what we would like to see from all of our participants and we couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.”

While the program has nearly doubled in size from the previous year, Catalyst is excited for what’s to come over the next year, and looks forward to the opportunity to engage even more businesses in the future.

For more coverage on this event, please visit: https://www.wmfd.com/news/single.asp?story=79927&fbclid=IwAR3a6UzicFtBudaM5aZk9KKmGYLf1Wz5IJRcAV5W1cSP1MsnxnCGiRGrvVU

For more information about these programs and how to partner, visit www.catalystlifeservices.org/vocational-services/

Catalyst Continues to Grow: First Richland County detox center, second residential treatment facility to open this fall.

The Richland County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board selected Catalyst Life Services to be the service provider for two new facilities this fall: a withdrawal management detox facility and a second New Beginnings residential alcohol and drug treatment facility.

The addition of a second New Beginnings treatment facility will allow gender-specific housing and separate buildings for men and women. The withdrawal management facility, or detox center, is the first of its kind for this community and for Catalyst.

“We believe a big barrier in this community addressing the opiate and drug epidemic is not having a detox center,” said Melissa Drozda, the Marketing & Development Director at Catalyst. “Individuals might have to travel as far as Columbus. That leaves a huge gap in the services in Richland and the surrounding counties.”

This lack of withdrawal management services in this area presents numerous problems.

“If people even have the necessary transportation to go out of town to safely detox, many of the facilities are completely full,” said Elaine Surber, Associate Director of New Beginnings Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services at Catalyst. “The window of opportunity for someone suffering from addiction is so narrow. Having a facility available right here in Richland County when the people need it will save lives.”

The Rotary Club of Mansfield has made a $35,000 contribution to the fundraising efforts of this project.

“The club’s 100th anniversary will be February of 2020,” explained Melanie Riggleman, a board member of Catalyst and Rotary Club member. “We wanted to celebrate our centennial by making a large donation to a project for the betterment of the community.”

The Rotary Club invited members to nominate projects they are passionate about. In total, there were eight projects submitted. Presentations were made by the eight organizations, and Rotary Club members voted for the project they most wanted to support. Catalyst came out on top.

“The club members agreed this project is well worthwhile for the community,” said Riggleman. “Everybody knows somebody that’s been touched by this epidemic in some way. We all have to group together as a community and do what we can to try to stop it.”

Riggleman championed the proposal to the Rotary Club because she is passionate about the work Catalyst does.

“There are so many people affected by addiction; it’s not only the person with the disease,” she said. “It’s their families, their children…It breaks my heart to see what’s happening in our community. These people need help. The goal is to help people know that there is someplace safe to go, and that will be the withdrawal management center.”

What makes Catalyst unique is that they do not only offer addiction services for withdrawal management (detox), residential (inpatient), and outpatient services. In addition to a stabilization unit, they also offer mental health, crisis, and vocational services to help treat the individual and become successful at any point in their recovery journey.

Elaine Surber, Associate Director of New Beginnings Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services, explained the differences in some of these services, and new services that the withdrawal management detox center will offer.

“We currently help people safely withdraw in the crisis stabilization unit. However, if someone needs a more intensive level of care and supervision, we have to send them to a hospital.

With the new withdrawal management detox center, we will have a full staff of doctors, nurses, and therapists 24 hours a day to safely and effectively supervise someone who is going through the process of withdrawal right here onsite, which usually lasts 3-7 days.”

After this center opens, Catalyst’s goal is to reduce the number of people they send to a hospital setting because they will now be able to supervise the withdrawal process at any stage for any adult.

The center will have 16 beds. Catalyst expects to see people from self referrals and court referrals at first, and they hope to eventually have emergency departments and physicians refer individuals in need to the withdrawal management center as well.

Catalyst withdrawal management detox center room

“The goal is to reduce the use of emergency rooms, reduce the use of EMT and police force, and to keep people out of jail,” said Surber. “Incarceration is expensive, and it’s much more effective to provide people with treatment. People become more productive citizens when they recover. This is part of our holistic approach: by treating the individual, that in turn gives to the whole community.”

This is part of a circular process in the community. By opening a new residential facility and detox center, Catalyst hopes to help individuals who will, in turn, give back and help their community when they recover. This project will also help the community with the creation of 47 jobs in Richland County.

“This epidemic has held back our community’s ability to grow,” said Drozda. “Having these buildings is an important step in that growth process. Addiction touches everyone, and when we heal individuals, we heal the whole community.”

The Catalyst team hopes to open the New Beginnings facility in September and the withdrawal management detox center in October. The buildings are almost completed, but they need furnishing and final touches before they are ready to be fully operational.

Catalyst kitchen

“Funding has been secured for the buildings’ construction. But buildings alone don’t make for a transformational experience and aren’t enough to open a facility”, said Drozda.

Cataylst construction

Before the facilities are ready to operate, Catalyst needs to raise an additional $200,000. This $200,000 will get the buildings up and running and will not go toward any salaries or administrative fees.

“Yes, we need money to complete this project and get these buildings operational. But, ultimately, the donations really go toward being able to provide services the community doesn’t have,” said Drozda.

“The hope is that having a place for people to safely withdraw will prevent overdoses and deaths in our community,” said Surber. “People suffering from addiction will have somewhere safe to go. We can help them.”

To donate now, click this link: https://catalystlifeservices.org/donate/. If you have questions about the donation process or want to know more about the project, contact Drozda at drozda@catalystlifeservices.org or at 419-774-6710.

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

Grilling Season Safety

As Ohioans, we all know that once the temperature climbs above the low 50’s we’re dusting off our grills in eager (almost desperate) anticipation of summer. What’s better than a cloudless summer day, lounging around with family and friends, while the smell of mesquite wafts in the breeze? Unfortunately, this favored activity also comes with risks.

The U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System showed that “in 2009-2013, grills, hibachis or barbecues were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year.” In 2014 alone, 8,700 people made emergency room visits for thermal burns due to grills. On average, gas grills are more dangerous than charcoal or pellet models; however, all grills can be operated relatively safely if you follow proper precautions.

Here are a few tips to keep your family safe this season, so the only thing on fire will be your sweet skills as a grill master!

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Awareness Makes A World of Difference

What would we do without differences? Where would we be without the unique spectrum of minds all looking at this world in neurologically distinct ways? Would we know about the theory of relativity if Einstein had not obsessively repeated sentences until he was 7 years old? Would we have Symphony No.40 in G minor or Don Giovanni, if Mozart wasn’t compelled to constantly move his hands and feet? Difference is what makes life interesting and creative; something we should keep in mind during National Autism Awareness Month.

Autism isn’t just one thing: it’s a range of individually specific ways of connecting with others and processing information. For some, a diagnosis of Autism can simply mean having a few more social challenges. For others, it can mean being completely non-verbal and showing intense discomfort in social settings.

It’s likely that you have interacted with a person with Autism without even knowing.  Have you ever been out in public and witnessed someone having a “meltdown”?  Have you ever seen a kid suddenly become overwhelmed by what seems like nothing at all?  Have you ever found yourself on a plane seated next to a screaming child?  Most likely you have had at least one of these experiences.  Now, not all of these scenarios means the individual has Autism, but we often jump to blame or criticism when we witness such behavior.  Think back to what you thought the last time you saw a child having a meltdown. Were you annoyed with the child or with the parent for not removing the child? Did you feel bad for the child or the parent? Did you turn and walk away because you felt uncomfortable?

As the CPST Coordinator at Catalyst, I’m keenly aware of the challenges these individuals and their families’ face. I asked a couple of parents, whose children were diagnosed with Autism, what they wish people knew about their lives, and what they wish people would do when interacting with their child.

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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!