The Impact of Employment: Cheri’s Story

As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we are sharing #MemberVoices – stories of lived experience. Cheri, a member since 2009, shares her story of how Genesis Club helping her find employment supported her recovery.

“When I first heard about Genesis Club, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I was a rebel back then. But I also realized I wasn’t getting anywhere in my life. I wanted to get back to work so I tried a transitional employment (TE) job at the Department of Mental Health. It was wonderful. I liked the people I worked with and felt like I was needed. I wasn’t sure I could work full-time while managing all of my mental health and doctor’s appointments. But slowly I began to feel more confident.

After securing a job and an apartment, the stability I felt didn’t last long. I woke up one night to some noise and saw a fire truck ladder leaning against my building. I had to escape because the building was on fire. I worked with my case manager at the Department of Mental Health to find a new apartment and collect my things that hadn’t been consumed by the flames. Genesis Club helped me move into my new apartment. They have been like a family to me.

When I landed on my feet after the fire, I started in another TE position at Saint Gobain, helping to run the company store when COVID hit. The store had to close due to the pandemic. So I worked with Genesis Club and we found a job at JYL Transportation Company. The recruiter met me at Genesis Club for the interview. I knew my friends and the staff in the unit were there supporting me through the process.

Not too many people can say they love going to work in the morning. I can. I think I actually found my dream job! I help to monitor children going to and from school, and make sure they get there safely. I love knowing I have some place that is expecting me. I love coming home after work to my own apartment. I’m even playing my bass guitar again. And I know if I hit hard times, or if my symptoms get to be too much, folks at Genesis Club will have my back.”