The work we do at McClendon Center is not always ordinary. When we are looking for new team members we are seeking an out of the ordinary kind of person. Often the job requires staff to think outside the box. A great example of this kind of caring happened a few years ago when a client didn’t want to receive hospital care because it meant leaving their dog unattended. The McClendon Center staff member promised to walk the dog herself until she was able to coordinate care with a neighbor. Relieved, the client received the necessary care knowing her four legged family member was taken care of – and the standard at McClendon Center unofficially became ‘are you willing to walk the dog?’
While our primary goal is to help with mental health care more often than not it also means assisting with housing, other types of healthcare related issues, substance abuse, and more. Even getting basic forms completed to be eligible to receive care is an obstacle. Imagine experiencing homelessness and losing your belongings and documents. Without a birth certificate you cannot get an ID. Without an ID you cannot receive benefits for care or fill out any type of application. Obtaining those kinds of essential documents can be a challenging web for some of our clients – and is something we routinely help our clients with.
We also help to restore dignity. Last year there was a young man who was regularly attending the Day Program but seemed withdrawn. Staff noticed his clothes were torn and often dirty. The fix was simple; two McClendon Center staff member along with the young man hopped into an Uber and set off to Target. He was given $150 to buy the clothes and shoes he wanted. When he returned to the Day Program in his new attire the transformation was noticeable and it wasn’t just on the outside – though he often pointed out his new outfits with pride. He became more engaged and outgoing and began to thrive. In some ways it’s hard to tell who was more pleased – the deserving client or the staff members who could make such a simple yet significant gesture possible. There are countless other examples I could give of this level of caring.
Even before the Covid 19 crisis we were finding solutions outside the expected ways of doing things. This client first way of solution solving is what sets us apart and makes us particularly adaptable during crisis. We are determined to continue this level of individual care and caring – with your support.