This month, I talked to Katie, our Vocational Case Manager on our Clinical Team. Katie is one of our newer staff members, but her impact on our community has been nothing short of impressive. Take a look at what she had to say about her work here at JOURNEYS!
"This might sound like a cliché, but the most rewarding part of working at JOURNEYS for me has been helping people. I have been at JOURNEYS for about four months now, having recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree in psychology, along with two minors in sociology and criminal justice. I also have a certificate in mental health skills. I really enjoy helping others with any types of stressors they might be experiencing. I find it very rewarding to be able to provide a bit of hope for those who may have lost it in their lives.
JOURNEYS provides the means to help clients overcome life setbacks. My work includes meeting directly with clients to help provide them with the proper resources they need in order to help them stabilize their lives. That includes helping clients get into our shelter programs, helping them look for work, providing a safe space to speak and work through issues that might be hindering their stabilization process, and assisting them to find more housing.
The staff at JOURNEYS all have great compassion towards others and genuinely want to help, but what truly inspires me is to see how clients often help each other. I have had clients assist other clients in various ways, such as offering to drive one another places, or helping to pay for gas if they’re able to do so. It’s very meaningful to me to see that even in times of personal struggle, our clients still go above and beyond for each other and take care of each other."
Transcribed and arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate
I talked with our Events Coordinator, Tara, about her life before JOURNEYS and how her experience in the theater industry has helped her to become a top-notch non-profit events coordinator.
Take a look at her amazing story and what she had to say!
"You just have to tailor what comes next in your life. I used to work in live theater. I was a professional stage manager for 20 years. I've worked all over regionally, from Brunswick, Maine; West Virginia; Florida; Pennsylvania; Upstate New York; Rhode Island; and Little Rock, Arkansas. I’ve worked on West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Steel Magnolias. If you’ve seen a musical, I’ve probably worked on it!
Being a stage manager is being the person in charge backstage. You cue when the lights go, when the set moves – you're the puppet master. I don’t create what’s on stage, but I make it all happen. I keep the show consistent and running on time.
I actually ended up in Chicagoland because I was on tour. It was called Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical. It was a lot of fun. We rehearsed in New York, then we went Upstate, then to Rhode Island for one night, and then we got on a plane and came to Chicago for two weeks. That was the first time I'd ever been to Chicago. I saw a little bit of Chicago and ended up coming back after the tour to see a friend, and thought “this has everything I love about New York without any of the things I don’t.” I fell in love with the place.
After working in Chicago theaters for a while, I ultimately left theater because I wanted a different pace. Working six, sometimes seven days a week is hard, and when you’re on tour you’re sleeping in buses or hotels, and it can be difficult to get time off. I ended up making a list of all the things I knew how to do, and then I typed those things into the computer and it suggested event coordinator as a career, since it’s practically the same thing as stage managing, which is pretty true. When I was in New York I also did a lot of charity fundraisers, like Broadway Backwards for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as a World AIDS Day fundraiser event when I was in the New Paltz Players.
Being the events coordinator at JOURNEYS is interesting because you have to keep all the event balls in the air all the time. With the Superhero 5K, Women’s Luncheon, and Leap Into Hope. Then there’s the Annual Meeting and Golf Outing coming up. I feed them all a little bit every day.
This week I am researching party favors, projectors, and photo booth apps for Bid. Then I need to follow up with some donations for Bid as well and reach out to other donors. Sometimes there might be a site visit for a new venue, sometimes it's researching something that we need to buy for either the agency or for the event, sometimes it's securing sponsorships or donations. And then of course running the events! That’s when I really feel like I’m in my element. It’s like I’m backstage again."
Transcribed and arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate
I talked with our Outreach Specialist, Mandy, to talk about her work at JOURNEYS. As part of our clinical team, Mandy works directly with our clients to help them assess and reach their goals. Mandy splits her time between the HOPE Center and locations out in the community in order to help connect those in need with our services and resources. With an indefatigable sense of humor and relentless advocacy for our clients, Mandy is a true asset to the JOURNEYS community.
Take a look at what she had to say!
"I love meeting new clients and hearing their stories. As the Outreach Specialist, I meet with clients and potential clients in the community to assess their needs. I help clients in the hotel shelter program get the services they need and help get new clients into the hotel program. When I’m not working with clients, I also oversee the food pantry and work closely with other agencies like the Greater Chicago Food Depository for frozen food and pantry items.
This October will mark four years with JOURNEYS. Before I started here, I worked as an addiction counselor at a court-mandated treatment facility for nine years, where I also interned for two years before that. I graduated in 2009 and became a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in 2010.
When I’m not at JOURNEYS, I love spending time doing anything outside. If I hadn’t gotten into addiction counseling, I would have gone into botany. I really like plants! I also love hanging out with my sister. She’s my best friend. I like working on old cars with my friends and dad. He and I rebuilt a 1983 Chevy El Camino, which we call the "El Camandy"! I’m a big crafter, too, and I love going to conventions – everything from Comic-Con to knitting and crocheting conventions!"
-Arranged by Roxanne Gentry, Marketing Associate
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