SMA’s Enrichment Program works with clients who experience severe mental illness, developmental disabilities and/or co-occurring disorders. During fiscal year 2018-19, more than 191 individuals received services, 308 individuals were employed, and sales and services contracts yielded more than $3.2 million in revenue.
Michael Warriner, who oversees the psycho-social rehabilitation day program, sat down for a Q&A to give some more background on SMA’s hidden gem.
What is the Enrichment program?
Enrichment is a psycho-social rehabilitation treatment center, which focuses on building job and independent living skills for clients who have psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities. Enrichment helps individuals who have had difficulties finding or maintaining a job in competitive employment. The program builds skills and eventually connects them with resources to reach those goals. Currently, we have nearly 100 clients enrolled in the day program.
What is the goal and/or purpose of the Enrichment program?
Enrichment believes that everyone should have the opportunity to work regardless of limitations or disabilities. In providing these opportunities we can help prevent hospitalizations and help clients better manage their mental health symptoms. The program works to build those vocational and independent living skills to help increase a person’s standard of living. Treatment plans cover three primary areas: building social skills, independent living skills, and vocational skills.
What does an average day look like at Enrichment?
Clients arrive to the program at 8:45 a.m., and start with pre-vocational group, which is working on manufacturing jobs and building job skills. After their first break, they go to an educational class which can consist of any of the following: life management, basic education, money management, job exploration, community inclusion outings, etc. It is all based on their individual treatment plans/goals. Then, after lunch break, they finish the day with pre-vocational group until 1:30 when their transportation arrives to pick them up.
Do you know of any other programs in the state offering these services?
Yes, there are a couple other options in Volusia County, but Enrichment works towards giving all of the clients an opportunity to participate in manufacturing work as opposed to other programs allowing those to meet a productivity norm.
What separates Enrichment from other similar programs?
Enrichment offers a day program, supportive employment, and contract services. Most programs only provide the day program. Supportive employment works directly with vocational rehabilitation (VR offices) to find opportunities for competitive employment and also teach job readiness courses to prepare clients with how to construct a resume, fill out applications, prepare for interviews, work place norms, etc. Contract services is competitive employment that stretches across several counties in Florida where individuals with disabilities participate in grounds keeping and janitorial services for rest areas and private businesses with supervisors who understand the difficulties they face with their mental health symptoms.
What types of products does Enrichment manufacture/supply?
Enrichment collaborates with over a dozen community and government agencies to assemble components for various products, such as electrical equipment, mail-out orders, sample kits, and crab traps.
What is one of the biggest struggles that clients face after leaving the program?
Transportation. Having enough savings to put down on a form of transportation, or the means of obtaining bus services. A lot of the barriers faced after leaving the program are transportation-based. Clients also have difficulty navigating the social security services, which is provided in the money management skills class. Many of the clients are worried about losing funding if gaining employment, etc.
How can the general public support the program and/or educate others?
The public can support the program by referring family members or individuals who could benefit from the services. General manufacturing companies could collaborate with the program to provide assembly work for our clients. Local businesses looking to hire individuals could inquire if there are individuals willing and able to work for them. [The clients’] goals are goals that we would take for granted: a cashier, janitor…giving someone with disabilities a chance to work with a business would show how motivated and capable they are once given the opportunity.
And, of course, individuals are encouraged to donate to the SMA Healthcare Foundation, which disperses funding to all of the SMA programs.