A big thank you to the MHA of Orange County for recognizing the value of achieving success in the workplace…

One of my roles at MHANYS is to oversee an OMH-funded business outreach project that includes a Local Business Advisory Council (LBAC) program.  The program’s goal is to enhance an affiliate’s capacity to establish and maintain relationships with local business leaders, introduce individuals to different workplaces and ultimately, promote stronger volunteer/internship/employment outcomes for the folks that we serve.

A wonderful perk associated with my role is the opportunity to attend LBAC-funded events/activities.

MHA in Orange County’s ANNUAL SUCCESS IN THE WORKPLACE CELEBRATION on January 10th was one of these events!

Five employers and ten successfully employed individuals were recognized!  Here are some of the comments that I heard from the folks being honored that night as well as from family members:

  • “When I walk into the break room on my job, I feel welcomed…I feel like my co-workers like me.”
  • “I love my job…and I’ve been there for three years!”
  • “I learned an important lesson on my last job. When I left without giving notice, I was not able to return to that job.  Now that I’m working again, I will never make that mistake again!”
  • “Before connecting my son to this program, he would never leave the house. Now when he comes home from work, he seems proud and loves to talk about what he’s learned.”

Work gives us a sense of feeling a part of something, a part of an organization, a team member.  It can give us a stronger sense of who we are, what we enjoy and what we’re good at.  Having expectations placed on us helps to build our self-expectations; getting back up after a setback is especially  empowering.  Not least, feeling valued at work builds our sense of competence, self-confidence and capacity to value ourselves.  For those who are working hard to recover from mental illness – and the self-doubts and low self-esteem that often come along – these workplace successes can truly support folks’ efforts!

KUDOS to the efforts of all those folks determined to keep reaching for their dreams and pursuing their goals!  Kudos to the wonderful staff at the MHA (HCBS Manager Shakia Henderson and Vocational Program Coordinator Annette Salas) and those workplace supervisors who seek out and recognize folks’ strengths, capacity to contribute and willingness/desire to build skills and confidence!

– Marsha Lazarus, Director of Workforce Development

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