This is Marlon. He is a Program Director at WellLife Network and has worked in the organization for two years.
Marlon began his work as a case manager in WellLife’s Island House location. Today, he is a Program Director for WellLife's Dewitt residential location, overseeing the residence and ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of treatment plans and operations. In his own words, he says, "My role is to maintain the building, ensuring that the treatment plans are accurate and promptly executed."
WellLife’s residential housing programs and support services, located throughout New York City and Long Island, offer supportive environments to more than 1,000 individuals and families with mental health challenges, developmental/intellectual disabilities, seniors, and formerly homeless individuals. Dewitt is a mental health and mixed-use residence, one of several mixed-use buildings under WellLife’s aegis.
As a Program Director, Marlon interacts daily with all the tenants,. “I think the biggest challenge in working with the individuals is earning their trust. They’ve been through a lot, especially coming out of COVID-19.” Tenants often turn to Marlon when seeking treatment support or someone to talk to.
Many tenants may require assistance in resource identification and acquisition, relying on Marlon and his staff to fulfill their needs. Financial and treatment management can be overwhelming for some, and Marlon recognizes the importance of simplifying these processes by bringing services directly to the residence. He explains, “We work with the clinical teams to come down and offer these services. We also teach financial literacy here: it is a budget breakdown, helping the individuals assess their own budget based on their personal expenses.” Although these steps may seem small, they empower individuals to become more self-sufficient and responsible for their finances.
Marlon's approach as a Program Director is goal-oriented, aiming to achieve continuous progress. He states, "We are consistently working to make improvements. Once we reach one goal, we move on to the next." Marlon also emphasizes teaching practical skills such as opening a bank account or filling out a money order. He sees himself as a bridge between clients and the challenges they face.
He has witnessed numerous individuals making progress. For instance, some who used to keep to themselves have taken steps to become involved in the building's events and committees. “Every month, I or another staff member go door-to-door with flyers to promote the building's monthly meetings. If they choose not to attend, we inquire about how we can facilitate their participation. We provide snacks, food, and refreshments to ensure their comfort during involvement.”
While many Dewitt residents rely on Marlon for daily issues, his goal is to foster self-reliance. “I think success is when a client is genuinely happy, when things are going right in their life, or when they can manage their daily life. Of course, everyone is going to have their ups and downs. Individuals will go through things with family, their health, or even their mental health, but when the clients learn to maintain themselves or how to wake up feeling content daily, I think that's success.”