Over five years ago, I began my stay at Hopewell. Looking back, I realize my life would not be where it is now if not for Hopewell. Every day is truly a gift and it is all because of my time there.
I grew up in Mentor, Ohio. After high school, I was in and out of hospitals, diagnosed with bipolar disorder (which I later learned was not the correct diagnosis). There came a time when the hospitals wouldn’t take me anymore because of insurance reasons. A hospital social worker recommended Hopewell, where I lived from October 2014 to February 2015.
Prior to Hopewell, I had no sense of direction, no goals, a low opinion of myself and was surrounded by negative people. At one point, I remember thinking that my life wasn’t going anywhere. That changed when I arrived at Hopewell. The environment was positive, everyone was friendly and supportive. I never felt like a psychiatric patient but as a part of a welcoming family.
Hopewell’s structure was what I needed and allowed me to look forward to every single day. I had so much fun working in the art room and with the work crews. I saw that people with mental illness are immensely talented. During Writing Group, I met many gifted writers and the experience gave me a deep understanding of people and what others may be going through.
The big change for me has been my education. In 2017, I earned my IT specialist certification. I wanted to work with computers; however, after giving it some thought, I decided to pursue a degree in nursing. There is a need for kind people in healthcare and I think I can make a difference. I completed most of the basic courses for the University of Akron’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Partnership Program offered at Lakeland Community College and will begin my clinicals in the fall of 2020. In two years, I will have my BSN and plan on pursuing a master’s degree.
In my spare time, I work over 30 hours a week at Dunkin’ Donuts. I absolutely love my job and feel truly blessed that I can start every day knowing that I have something meaningful to accomplish.
All these changes would never have occurred if not for Hopewell. Everyone there gave me a positive outlook on life, empathy and understanding for others, and acceptance. Every goal I accomplish, every victory I reach, I think of Hopewell and feel grateful.
I wish everyone dealing with a mental health issue could experience what I felt at Hopewell. – Joe S.back to success stories
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