Marcus enjoyed an independent life. He lived alone, grocery shopped for himself, and even attended college. During this time, however, he began to struggle due to an undiagnosed mental illness. As his condition worsened, he had to drop out of college, was unable to take care of himself, and began to depend on others for help.
Seeking an answer, Marcus went to a care facility, and in March of 2016 came to PPCS’ Labre Center, where we serve those with mental illness. Marcus connected well with staff and clients at Labre, and had a keen interest to learn. The Labre team helped him find new skills to better manage the stress from his mental illness, and this in turn led him to find the drive to become independent again.
Marcus has improved his basic life skills, such as cooking and cleaning, learned how to utilize the Metro system, and is again attending college at Forest Park Community College. Marcus has also begun to take drum lessons, an activity he has always enjoyed. Thanks to Labre, Marcus now leads an independent life once again.
Under a bridge, on a bench, in an alley – Brian can remember a few of the spots where he would frequently sleep while homeless. After several months outside and in the cold, Brian finally decided to call a hotline to find a shelter. He was referred to Peter & Paul Community Services and became a client at our Soulard Shelter.
A warm bed to sleep in and a space to fill out paperwork provided Brian the opportunity to begin applying for assistance. He completed three 90 day stays before he received monetary aid, which then allowed him to get back on his feet. With the help of our shelter and some strong steps towards independence, Brian now rents his own apartment and has begun to enjoy simple activities that most of us might take for granted, such as preparing a meal or watching a television show. He also has begun to sculpt again, something he loved to do when he was young, and has started to sell some of his artwork.
What really makes Brian stand out though is his desire to give back. After completing our program and getting settled into his own place, Brian came back to the shelter to volunteer. He assists in any way possible, sometimes handing out toiletries, other times serving meals, and often counseling the guys who come in. Brian does this every week and states “it feels good to give back”.
Struggling with both mental illness and substance abuse, Shaun found it hard living in different shelter settings that did not fit his specific needs. The stress of these locations made it hard for Shaun to improve his living skills, and ultimately did not provide him the proper knowledge to be independent. Before coming to Labre, Shaun had no experience in caring for himself, and found tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping to be daunting. Shaun’s experience isn’t that different from others, and not everyone is best served by emergency shelters. That is why PPCS offers tailored transitional and supportive housing options, like Labre Center, to those in need.
When taken in by the Labre Center staff, Shaun was finally in a setting where he felt comfortable opening-up. He joined Labre’s support groups who help clients with building life skills . Labre offers intensive and hands-on approaches to helping our clients manage their mental illness, which provides individuals like Shaun the opportunity to flourish. Shaun now maintains a clean room, does his own dishes, and helps in keeping the dining hall clean. Shaun has also learned how to prepare a variety of meals and now knows how to follow a recipe. Shaun has made great progress in keeping sober, taking care of himself, and has even started volunteering.
Shaun’s next goal is to seek employment and continue to make progress on maintaining a healthy eating plan. With Labre’s help, he is confident he can make this happen.
When Antonio first came to PPCS, he struggled with how to read a utility bill, had trouble remembering doctor appointments, and was unsure of how to shop economically and healthily. Antonio states in a letter:
“Peter & Paul Community Services not only taught me how to read and pay my utilities, they assisted me with acquiring funding for my utilities. They also took me to my doctor’s appointments and stayed with me to make sure I had a clear understanding of what his recommendations and orders were. They would then take me to the pharmacy to get my new medications and refills, and would then explain the dosages to me and help me learn about them.”
Antonio graduated from our services and with our help has been able to live independently. Thanks to PPCS, Antonio learned life and coping skills, and built friendships along the way. After leaving our programs, we are happy that Antonio continues to visit us from time to time just to say “Hi”.
“I am not sure where I would be without the help of Peter & Paul. The value of them in my life is priceless!”
Mental illness led to insobriety, and insobriety led to eviction: that is how Cliff ended up without a home. At his former apartment, Cliff was unable to properly care for himself or clean his living space, leading to complaints. Cliff was then referred to Labre, to learn how to better manage his mental illness. Learning these skills made it possible for Cliff to become sober, and since that turning point he has completely turned his life around. Cliff now knows how to maintain a clean-living environment, has begun to volunteer at Stray Rescue, and he continues to show improvements in his social skills and how he handles stress. Cliff is now in the process of looking for his own apartment and his goal is to become independent once again.