Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Introducing... Victoria de Ney

Before the road to Caramore intersected with my life, I was one of the most critical people you’d ever meet…
In Tier 1, I spent most of my free time hiding in my bedroom, silently criticizing everyone and everything in my head. My ego and I in particular seemed to have "bull's eyes" for me to throw darts at. If you met me back then, I would’ve zoomed in on your faults and ignored your talents!
In Tier 2, my best friend and roommate (a Caramore graduate who is now one of Caramore’s best RAs!), encouraged me to “get out of my shell.” So I hung out with her in the med office (a great place to meet other clients, by the way), where I met and connected with new friends. I became more social and less critical, somewhat, at this stage.
In Tier 3, I was cruising past the speed limit one last time, crashing my criticism directly into a club I didn't approve of and Caramore accommodates. As soon as Caramore helped me change the oil in my "car" (outlook on life), I finally realized how negative my thoughts were. I'm now mentally insured by a company called "Happiness"! (And it's been over 3 years since I experienced my second, and last, involuntary hospitalization and hallucination).
It was then (Tier 3) my new life-changing attitude allowed Caramore to piece its way into the big puzzle that is me! And so my relationships within the Community have been renewed.
Thanks to the new "leash" on life Caramore gave me, I’m:
1). now a member of NAMI. Caramore encourages clients to explore mental health issues outside our close-knit Community!
2). hopeful I can contribute to the fight against stigma! I openly discussed my schizoaffective disorder during my latest interview and my employer told me the disorder runs in her family (I even told her Caramore is the reason I'm prepared for the interview!). She hired me on the spot!
3). more intuitive! Along with my therapist (and my mother the social worker!), Caramore taught me to follow my intuition and to speak my mind (positively!).
4). more financially savvy. Caramore (and a businessman for my father!) inspired me to follow the daily budget I created, with Scott's help!
5). a Parking Monitor for Special Events at UNC, a really fun job Barry referred me to!
6). no longer afraid to venture outside my own city, by bus! Caramore taught me how to navigate the bus system.
7). discovering who I am, who I'm not and what my passions are! Caramore promotes only the best in us. 
If the above sounds like I'm bragging, well, I am! Caramore worked hard with me (not for me!) to get where I am now. As a result, I'm finally happy with my identity and I'm happy to be alive!
Victoria de Ney

Monday, August 01, 2011

Caramore uses the UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment

Upon admission, Caramore currently uses the standardized UCSD Performance-based Skills Assessment, which is extremely useful for determining everyday functioning in severely mentally ill adults and helps us specialize in treatment plans for individuals.

Please feel free to contact Jacob Long ((919) 967-3402 extension 100, jacob.long@caramore.org) with any questions on our use of the UCSD Assessment or any admission questions.

Thank you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Madison Summarizes Schizophrenia

I was approached by a Caramore staff member and they asked if I would be willing to publish my story for the Caramore website.  I pondered on it long and hard and finally decided to do it. But I also struggled with what to write. And I have decided just to give it straight.

If I was to sit here and tell you that living life with schizophrenia is easy I’d be lying. In fact each day is a struggle to live life as normal as possible. Unlike the average person there are strict medicine regimens which also include getting blood work done every week, therapist appointments, counseling sessions, meetings with vocational rehab and so on and so on. These are things that most humans may never see in there lifetime but as a person with mental illness this is LIFE.
Along with the everyday struggles of my mental illness I also work 30 hours a week in the culinary field. Not only do I have a life altering illness I also work in one of the most intense, and mentally demanding fields known to man. And to be honest If I had never found the culinary arts I would probably be dead.  But now, not only am I conquering my mental illness I have also found a new lease on life and that lease comes in the form of working with food. Yes I get tired, and yes some days I want to quit but it is in that moment that I recall all of what I have been through with my mental illness and life itself  and I see where I have come from and where I am going and I find the strength within to keep pushing.
In saying that there is no way that I could have accomplished this all on my own. In fact If I hadn’t have found the people at Caramore I would be doing just good enough to get by, BUT I wouldn’t be doing great like I am today! The Caramore program has added tons of help on getting me to the point that I am at today. The greatest thing that I have found with being in the Caramore program is that the staff helps you out tremendously but they DO NOT do the work for you. They make you strive to find ways to overcome your illness and also help on ways to becoming a functioning member of society.
Like I said to begin, living life with mental illness is an ongoing process that takes time and effort to overcome. It is not conquered in a day, a week, or a year, it is an uphill battle your whole life. But with the help of the Caramore staff and the dedication to overcome your mental illness anything is possible!


Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Steve Powers

Steveo and Chubby
Caramore friends and family lost one of our own—Steve Powers—who abruptly passed away May 3, 2011, leaving us confounded in that senseless way that profound losses leave us.

Steve struggled and suffered and persevered and eventually etched out a life with a wonderful sense of self-awareness expressed through irony. He relished absurdities and long ago dropped any desire to take what happens in life as  personal.

He was filled with humor and belly laughs and specialized in shtick-driven voicemails that he would leave on my phone, and purposely cloddish pencil-cartoons on notebook paper all folded up and mailed to me at my home.

Steve was a mainstay in the kitchen of Carol Woods Retirement Community, working there for almost ten years, but he always told me he really should have been a weatherman. He fed me leading-edge weather science and predictions for long time—in fact, when I told my nine year old daughter of Steve’s passing, the first thing she asked was how I was going to get my weather forecasts.

Steve was a pleasure to know as a friend, and I appreciate having known him, and miss him… 

David E. Cooley

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Our Community

Important News! Beginning July 1, 2011, Caramore Community will no longer provide any of its residential services in what has traditionally been regarded as typical "group home" settings. 

Instead, Caramore will improve the level of service to its clients by incorporating all of our residential services within a community of four bedroom supervised apartments, thus providing a more normalized community environment for all of the Caramore program residents.

Supervision, guidance and support for residents will consistently be provided in direct relation to an individual client's needs, and personalized plans and goals will be set up before each individual is admitted into the Caramore program

This represents a progressive shift in the way we offer our services and places and increased emphasis on a more person-centered approach to success and achievements for each resident.

Caramore staff and clients welcome this change as it reinforces our mission to help all our residents be fully integrated in the general community as they enter our program, and not feel isolated in a group home environment while working on their individual goals.

The overall affect will be a more unified program, less separation of clients in homes, and more exposure of all residents to all staff and fellow clients.

Barry Shanley
Program Director

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Annual Campaign—2011

We are so grateful for the tremendous amount of financial support we received from our loyal donors last year, and we hope that this year will be just as wonderful.  Because of the contributions we received over the past year, we have been able to kickoff a 5-year plan to purchase a condominium for our long-term clients.  Amazingly, $14,086.00 has already gone towards the purchase of one 4-bedroom condominium at University Commons in Carrboro, and as a result we have been able to vastly improve the lives of four individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness.  Why is this so important?

Because of the recurring difficulties individuals living with mental illness receive over time, we developed a program called Tier 3; this is where our condominiums come into play.  Caramore clients that have exhibited an ongoing dedication to their recovery, and that have traversed the group home and supervised apartment setting of our program, may desire a long-term, close relationship with us.  In that case, they enter into Caramore’s Tier 3 program.  Sometimes these very clients have had legal troubles or credit issues, and find it difficult to get an apartment of their own, despite positive financial and behavioral changes they have enacted in their recovery.  We are able to get around these practical barriers by having our Tier 3 clients sign a year’s sublease with Caramore at our condominium, and receive continued assistance with problem solving and job counseling.  Most importantly, our Tier 3 clients see an immediate improvement in their life, and they are so appreciative for the comfortable environment that University Commons offers, allowing them a “peace-of-mind.” 

Let’s make it our goal to extend this opportunity to more Caramore participants by purchasing another 4-bedroom condominium in the next 5 years.  We all know the effect that lack of funding has had on mental health providers, but Tier 3 offers us the ability to have a stake in owning residential treatment that can really last.  If we receive $30,000 a year over the next 5 years, then the possibility of ownership can become a reality.  Let’s double our efforts from last year, and by doing so, provide progressive, life-enhancing, long-term services for our clients.  Please help us assist more clients enter into Tier 3 by making a tax-deductible donation or pledge this year so that we can sustain and expand life-enhancing services to those living with severe and persistent mental illness.  Thanks for your commitment to those living with mental illness, and your financial support in helping us, help others, achieve their goals. 


David Chapman