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Team Spot­light: KYC’s Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing Team

KYC’s Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing Team pro­vides inten­sive sup­port to adults liv­ing with chron­ic men­tal health chal­lenges as they live inde­pen­dent­ly in the com­mu­ni­ty – some­times for the first time in decades. 

Ter­rance Irv­ing, Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­port Team Super­vi­sor, has been work­ing at KYC for four years, sup­port­ing clients with a wide range of wrap­around ser­vices as they live in recov­ery. At one time or anoth­er if you work in Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing, you car­ry out a vari­ety of roles” shared Ter­rance. Ther­a­pist, life coach, men­tor, med­ical con­sul­tant, case man­ag­er, voca­tion­al spe­cial­ist, behav­ior spe­cial­ist, cri­sis work­er, grief coun­selor, accoun­tant, nutri­tion­ist, meal plan­ner, advo­cate, etc.” At the same time, these Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing Team Mem­bers work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with nurs­es, occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pists, KYC’s Psy­chi­a­trist serv­ing Adults Dr. Jer­ry Gib­bons, and indi­vid­ual ther­a­pists who also work with these clients. The holis­tic and mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach ensures each per­son can work their recov­ery and max­i­mize their independence. 

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Ter­rance and his team work with clients in KYC’s per­ma­nent sup­port­ive hous­ing apart­ment build­ings in Mount Prospect, Wheel­ing, and Arling­ton Heights, as well as in apart­ments scat­tered in the broad­er sub­ur­ban area. Clients in this pro­gram have typ­i­cal­ly spent long peri­ods of time liv­ing in nurs­ing homes or psy­chi­atric facil­i­ties, but can live suc­cess­ful­ly in the com­mu­ni­ty with high­ly struc­tured wrap around sup­port ser­vices. For many, the idea of liv­ing out­side their nurs­ing home room was a fore­gone con­clu­sion. But the Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing Team cre­ates hope and oppor­tu­ni­ty to deter­mine what best meets each client’s needs, then cre­at­ing a roadmap for how to get there. 

As the pan­dem­ic shut­tered most of the coun­try in March, these team mem­bers didn’t miss a beat. If any­thing, their work became all the more crit­i­cal. As con­cerns grew around how to keep peo­ple safe, Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing staff put on face masks and gloves, and dug in. They answered cri­sis calls from clients at all hours of the night, build­ing cop­ing mech­a­nisms for each per­son to deal with the rad­i­cal change fac­ing every­one. Clients strug­gled with the break in rou­tine, the des­o­la­tion of nor­mal”, and the bal­ance of shar­ing the anx­i­ety and men­tal health chal­lenges they face with a fear of return­ing to insti­tu­tion­al­ized living. 

Groceries

Every day, team mem­bers work with doc­tors’ offices and gro­cery stores and phar­ma­cies to make sure clients’ needs are met. Did you strug­gle to find toi­let paper in April? Imag­ine being respon­sive for 8 – 10 apart­ments’ worth! 

But beyond the care coor­di­na­tion and cri­sis sup­port, there’s a deep inter­per­son­al con­nec­tion with each client that makes the pro­gram work. Depend­ing on their indi­vid­ual needs and cir­cum­stances, clients in this pro­gram may con­nect with a KYC staff per­son mul­ti­ple times a day in both planned appoint­ments and infor­mal check-ins. Every inter­ac­tion has the same goal: to empow­er inde­pen­dence and engage in recovery. 

With so much uncer­tain­ty and unrest over the last months, we asked Ter­rance how his team man­aged both the height­ened needs of clients and the per­son­al toll of deal­ing with health and safe­ty con­cerns, social unrest, schools tran­si­tion­ing to e‑learning while par­ents con­tin­ue to work, and so much more. See­ing their progress inspires me” said Ter­rance. Every day is different.”

Community Living Photo

Left to Right: Anna P., Community Support Team Counselor; Tsira D., Mobile Therapist; Terrance Irving, Community Support Team Supervisor; Kathryn J., Community Support Team Counselor

KYC is deeply proud to rec­og­nize Ter­rance and the entire Com­mu­ni­ty Liv­ing Divi­sion for their tire­less work to sup­port clients. Their cre­ative prob­lem solv­ing, unwa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, and care have been a life­line to clients dur­ing this incred­i­ble time in our world. The need for these sup­ports con­tin­ues to grow, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, with the team con­tin­u­al­ly hir­ing more staff with diverse skillsets to sup­port the recov­ery of adults in our com­mu­ni­ty in increas­ing­ly com­plex ways. 

This team epit­o­mizes KYC’s vision: Togeth­er We Thrive.


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