Below are several examples of “success stories” our Case Managers have worked on — working with people that were in real trouble and helping them rebuild their lives. In all cases, the names, addresses, and ages have been changed to protect the privacy of the person being helped. But, the details of the stories are true.
Willie, a heroin addict, was unemployed, living in a shelter, and isolated from his family, when he started working with a case manager. With his minimal life skills and desperately low self-image, he could only think of himself as an ‘ex-felon’ and ‘addict in transition.’
Today, he’s working a full-time permanent job. He moved out of the transitional shelter into permanent housing and he’s gone from no contact with family to developing healthy and nurturing relationships with his many brothers, sisters, and extended family. He even went back to school – at age 59 – to further his education and seek better employment.
He can solve problems and deal with issues without resorting to drugs – a crutch he leaned on for more than 20 years. His case manager said he’s able to effectively problem solve and address barriers without self-medicating.
With the help of St. Vincent de Paul Society, he’s gone from thinking of himself as an ex-felon and heroin addict to a self-described ‘functioning member of society. ‘
At age 65, most people are thinking retirement. Bill is thinking about how good it is to have a bed and a home for the first time in 20 years.
Today, he’s not only sober, after being addicted to crack cocaine for more than 40 years, he’s an AA sponsor. He’s learned much-needed computer skills. He’s also involved in his community center and takes part in local activities.
The transformation from selling drugs and serving time in prison is remarkable. He’s shifted his perceptions from negative to positive with a case manager from St. Vincent de Paul helping him with problem-solving and crisis management.
He has a lot to be proud of – but is probably the most thrilled to have his right to vote restored. “This was huge for him,” said his case manager. It shows the value of the ‘little’ things.
It’s hard not to believe in miracles when you meet Marcus, a 30-year-old former gang member. In the eight months he’s been working with a case manager from St. Vincent de Paul, he’s turned his life around.
He’s completely detached from his former gang, reconnected with his children and is working his first legal job. This is a man who’s been addicted to heroin since he was 10 years old but is now in recovery.
“Our society and our community leaders often assume people such as Marcus will never amount to anything successful,” said his case manager. “Our program works with participants to understand the distorted “lens” in which they see the world. We work with them to correct these distortions and free them to make responsible and healthy decisions. It is not easy to turn ones life around, and ultimately it is up to the participant to make that choice.”