Reach Out Speak Out- Wellness Story #2
Reach Out Speak Out - Trenton
For nearly three years I have been working as a group facilitator at Reach out Speak Out Community Center in Trenton, New Jersey. The group has been primarily the same cast of folks since I started there, with the exception of some people that were regionally local temporarily, or in transit through other transitions in their journeys, but for the most part, it’s the same group. And what a group they are! I have seen their growth and changes over the last few years and it is quite amazing. Many of these people have histories within various aspects of state and county behavioral or mental health institutions, substance abuse programs, or other special needs and circumstance based counseling programs. I’ll tell you though, this group is an absolute hoot!! I have had so many laughs with these folks, and built up many many memories. It’s an absolute delight to serve them as a facilitator.
I got the nickname “feets” from them. Why you might ask? Well, because I take my socks and shoes off when I work. It’s just the way that I am most comfy, as I kind of hate wearing shoes when I don’t really “have” to. I also have a penchant for having my toenails painted, because I like colorful things, and they have a blast busting my chops about it. I find that these are all endearing things from them. It’s their way of saying that I am family, and I do feel like family.
Over three years I have witnessed and helped guide them through the deaths of family members, personal surgeries and other medical needs, hiccups and advancements with their wellness programs, their shifting seas of emotional wellness, and so many other things that have arisen. We talk about their excitement, their joys, and their group excursions, and in all of this, I offer them a chance to share their experiences and feelings, and I encourage them and prompt them to cultivate and maintain manageable changes in their lives.
Some of the things that I help guide them through are tasks such as material possession purges, living space cleanup, adjustments with their health practices, and introduction of creativity planning. I teach them about a variety of spiritual pantheons and practices, as well as astrology, pre-Judeo/Christian culture, and about alternative healing modalities like Reiki, and Vortex Healing.
I know all about their interests, and offer ongoing encouragement to pursue those interests in addition and deeper ways. I hold them accountable to follow through with affirmations that they pledge to make for positive change, and I help them create short and long term goals.
They are such a funny group of people. I have laughed so many times with them, and they really do know how to deliver impeccably timed humor. Sometimes they burst into song, and other times they get playful with each other. It really is a family. I don’t have many memories of times when they weren’t supportive of each other, or when they were harmful to one another. It just isn’t the way that they interact, and that is a beautiful thing to see. There is an abundance of unconditional love that they all embody.
My sessions with them occur bi-weekly, and they always have a similar structure. We do check in, where we all fill each other in on the happenings of the time between meetings. Then we do the body of our session which starts with an update on the Lunar Cycle happenings of that time of the month (this is taken from my Moon Magick & Manifestation Journaling book and program), as well as discussion of the particular aspects of the Wheel Of The Year as it pertains to the current part of the month or year. Then we have an interactive discussion about goals and planning for the month(s) ahead. We wrap up the sessions with some creative or musical activity and then lastly, with check-out, we close our time together with well wishes and gratitude offerings. And this is how we roll. It’s an ongoing process of processing, and planning, and listening, and sharing. Everyone is involved, and everyone offers and shares. It’s a wonderful experience to partake in with them.
In particular, I need to express gratitude to my old and dear friend, Lynne Vicari, with whom I grew up and went to school. She brought me on board with Reach out Speak out, as well as with Trenton Psychiatric, all these years ago, and not only has it been a positive and fruitful work opportunity, it has really contributed to the growth of myself, my business, my heart, and my compassion for working with people that are in challenging positions in life. It has been immensely rewarding and educational for me. Through these opportunities I have learned how to be a better communicator, how to allow deeper levels of empathy and compassion to blossom, not to mention all that I have learned about various mental and behavioral conditions and circumstances. This has all helped me with my own personal relationships and friendships, and even my family.
Though for confidentiality reasons, I can’t name names of people in the program, I can offer this shout out to all of my friends at Reach out Speak Out; Y’all are amazing, inspiring, and of the highest quality. You impress me constantly, and for your openness and acceptance to all of my offerings, I say THANK YOu. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. It’s an honor to serve you.
Jimmy “Feets” Clark
If you or anyone you know can benefit from a good, safe, supportive community environment please look up Reach out Speak Out (Trenton, New Jersey)