Naomi’s Story of Hope

I work in the Screen Printing / Embroidery Department at Catalyst Life Services.  My dream job at Catalyst is to be a Counselor Assistant at New Beginnings.  To be an agent of change. To maybe help someone like me.  New Beginnings started my road to recovery and I would of never known about this place if it weren’t for my Vocational Specialist, Josh Jewell.  He took me to Rehab twice and didn’t leave until he knew I was sure of myself.  Recovery is my life – as I am finding my old self and getting my family / my boys back.

I am currently waiting on a liver transplant due to my alcoholism.  Unfortunately, the doctors telling me “quit drinking or die” didn’t help me.  Thankfully, Josh and my two stays at New Beginnings planted a seed in my recovery and I can proudly say I’m still on that road.

Here is a short version of my story:

The corner stone of my alcoholism is in April 2008 when I suffered a stillbirth.  I was not able to handle this loss, so I turned to a vodka bottle which led me to lose custody of my two sons.  I was not ready to admit I had a problem and continued to still get up every morning and go to my job at Burger King.  I was what my mom calls a “Functioning Alcoholic”.  I continued to do this job until 2019.  My mom and oldest son (who was in the custody of my Mom) saw me become self-destructive even though I would never admit that I had a problem.

I was transferred to Kenton, OH for my job and met a man who I thought wanted to help me. He took over my life by controlling my every move.  He took everything I loved away from me.  I did not see it that way and would not until after my second stay at New Beginnings.

While at New Beginnings, I learned a lot about myself.  However, upon release, I allowed him to take control back.  I lost jobs because of his actions toward my employers.  With the help of one great Catalyst employee and my mom, they made me see I needed to get away from him.  I got a second chance at New Beginnings again but upon leaving early, I fell back in the trap.  Yes, I had stopped drinking, but I still allowed him to control me.

About 6 weeks ago, he left to go take care of his son in Marion, OH.  I finally began to feel better about myself but not totally.  It was not until he came into our apartment while I was at work and took about everything, including my total paycheck out of the bank, that I knew I had to take action.  I called my mom and she convinced me to call the police and file a report which I did. With the help of my mom and Catalyst, I am now on the right path.  I am taking baby steps to be able to get my life back and be the person I am meant to be.

Catalyst has given me a great opportunity with a great job that I love.  My previous job experience was fast food and now I am learning something new.  They are helping me become better and they care about me enough to help.

Naomi Syx is a current Progress Industries employee. She was so happy to share how New Beginnings and the services at Catalyst helped plant the seed of hope and gave her the tools needed to start the journey of recovery.


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.

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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