Facebook Youtube

Clarence Johnson Begins as WCS Executive Director

Clarence Johnson became the WCS Executive Director on January 1, 2017.

See Press Release!

Success Stories


 

ANTHONY, Client of WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and Former Client of    
                  Joshua Glover House

 

“Let your struggle be a struggle, but don’t let your struggle change who you become.” 
                                                                                                                  from a poem by Anthony

As a young boy, Anthony was involved with gangs, drugs, and alcohol.  He carried knives and guns and was involved in fights at school.  At 14, Anthony was sentenced to Lincoln Hills School, a juvenile detention facility.  Released at 17, just four weeks later he was rearrested and convicted of a serious crime. He was sentenced as an adult and spent 17 years in prison.Anthony served the final months of his prison sentence at Joshua Glover, a WCS halfway house for offenders with a dual diagnosis – mental illness coupled with a history of drug abuse. “They helped to keep me on the straight and narrow and focused on remaining drug free.  I have not used illegal drugs since I left Glover in 2008.”

Anthony began working with the WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic as a condition of his probation.  Anthony states that he cannot say enough good things about the clinic staff.  “They treat me – I wish I had a better word, but they treat me like a human being.  And it’s not just the case managers, but the whole staff:  the nurses, the security guards.  Nurses don’t just hand out meds; they take the time to talk to you, to listen.  They make me laugh. The security guards greet you by name and treat you with respect. Everyone here is the same.  The staff has to put up with a whole lot from some clients, but they never get angry.  By their behavior, they show me how to behave – how to walk away.”

Since he began working with the clinic, Anthony has attended school and earned his high-school equivalency degree.  He currently serves on the Clinic Advisory Committee, a decision-making body comprised of clinic clients.  Anthony wants to work, and to gain the skills that will make him employable, he has applied for services provided by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He is enrolled in Milwaukee Area Technical College to sharpen his academic skills, and intends to complete their photography program.  “I want to take pictures of the good times in my life so I can memorize and write poems about them.”

When speaking of the Clinic staff, Anthony says, “They are a second family to me – staff and clients; they support me in every way.  They have helped me with loans, housing, food stamps, with everything.  Whenever I need someone to talk to, I can call them. They support me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”  They are there when I hurt, when I am in pain, when I need to cry. I could not make it without them.”  Coming Soon...Client of WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic


LAVERNA GATES, Client of WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic

Laverna Gates is a happy woman.  She exudes happiness, especially by the smile that lights up her face as she walks through a room, but as well by the way she carries herself when greeting friends and acquaintances and by the confidence she demonstrates while describing her job, her home, and her accomplishments in getting from where she was to where she is. Laverna’s happiness is contagious; her smile elicits other smiles, and every smile is evidence of her appreciation for the services provided by the WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic.

Laverna does not like to talk much about where she was – deeply in the clutches of a cocaine addiction. Even after two years in a residential treatment center, Laverna fell prey to the false promises of her drug of choice.  Her relapse led to police contact, but it also led to the WCS Outpatient Mental Health Clinic following a referral by the Milwaukee County Service Access to Independent Living Unit (SAIL).  Laverna took advantage of that referral and states, “I’ve been clean ever since.”

Clinic staff helped Laverna to find stable housing and an apartment of her own.  To lessen the possibility of her using her income to buy drugs, the clinic became Laverna’s payee, monitoring her spending.  The clinic continues to help Laverna with budgeting; however, she is able to withdraw from her account freely.  “They could see that I wasn’t spending money on drugs. I would much rather spend my money on nice clothes and good food.  I want to look good.  I want to have a nice home.”

While participating in the clinic services, Laverna became a volunteer at her church’s meal program.  The pastor of the church offered Laverna a permanent, part-time cleaning position, and Laverna accepted. Today, Laverna has good friends who love and support her, and who know and share her journey. She lives in a place she loves. She has a job she enjoys.  In addition, Laverna says she is a learner.  “I have learned to be patient, to turn away from any situation that could lead to an argument, to say no to relationships that are not good for me.”  Laverna’s journey has been long and difficult, but, with the support of WCS, along with her church and friends, the journey has led her to a very good place.


NICHOLAS McDONALD, Client of WCS Workforce Development Programs

 

Nicholas McDonald’s early adulthood reads like a path to success. He graduated from Rufus King High School, joined the United States Air Force, and, following an honorable discharge, found a good job in the banking field. 

Three years later, however, he was laid off, and, unsuccessful in his attempt to find a new job. Nicholas became involved with a group of people who thought only of partying.  He used his unemployment income to live it up.  He committed and was convicted of a felony.  He was sentenced to seven months at the County Correctional Facility- South (CCF-S) to be followed by five years of probation.
Nicholas realized that the life-style choices he had made had led to this consequence.  He made the decision to take advantage of any opportunity to make positive changes in his life. Immediately after sentencing, Nicholas requested the welding class offered by WCS at CCF-S and began class in September, 2009.

Although his math and blueprint reading skills were excellent, Nicholas was not a “natural welder.”  His welding teacher stated: “He was a slow learner when it came to welding skills, but, he worked almost non-stop in the shop.” By the end of the class, Nicholas had improved his skills enough to pass the American Welding Society’s welding test in the 3G position.

Nicholas completed the welding program when the economy was weak. Unable to find a job, Nicholas enrolled in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) Technical Welding Program. The MATC welding instructor was very impressed with fact that Nicholas had passed an AWS welding test after completing a program just 10 weeks long. Nicholas tested out of several MATC requirements and, in his own words, “breezed through” MATC’s 10-month technical program.

Currently enrolled in MATC’s Welding Associates’ Degree Program, Nicholas has won a scholarship from the American Welding Society and was awarded the Vilter, Miller Park, and the Grainger Scholarships.    While enrolled in school and working part time, he is diligently living up to the requirements of his probation. Nicholas looks forward to the future with confidence and credits his success to that initial opportunity when he was at the lowest point in his life.  Incarceration led him to rethink his life. The WCS welding program opened the path to that new life.