Continuum of Care, Inc. provides comprehensive, community based housing and support services, crisis, case management, in-home healthcare, peer mentoring, and outpatient clinical care for adults with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities.The Agency touches the lives of more than 2,400 individuals annually throughout Connecticut.
Meet Melissa Davison-Wood, Regional Director
We all have things that we remember about certain individuals that we work with, and they’re not necessarily anything huge. It’s just the little things.
I once had a client come home from work, pull out a box of waffles, and immediately get to work on toasting every single waffle in that box.
I’m like, “Chris*, what are you doing man?”
And he goes, “Just taking care of business.”
For some reason, I’ve always remembered that. I just thought it was so cute and funny.
I think he just wanted to make some snacks for his roommates who were on their way home. Nobody had asked him to do it. He just took initiative and felt proud to be getting stuff done.
In my life, I always notice people that remind me of clients I’ve worked with, and I think, ‘That’s what they would look like if they didn’t have a disability.’ Or they would be X-Y-and-Z. They would have grandkids like this. They would be the kind of person you would see down at Stop and Shop outside with their kid selling candy.
Chris would have collected trains. He was the kind of guy who would have been a cool grandfather, and would have had the whole train set in his basement for his grandkids to come over and play. He probably would have been into volunteering at the train museum in East Haven.
When I think about clients like this, it’s not out of sadness because I don’t feel sad for the individuals we work for. That’s just them, and I’m me, and this is the world we live in.
People always ask, “Do you feel rewarded by what you do?” That’s not what it’s about for me. I need our clients as much as they need me. I enjoy my job, and our clients need help doing some things just as I need help doing certain things. That’s what we do here at Continuum. It’s not really about a reward.
I have family members with mental illness, and that’s why I got into this field. There’s something I truly enjoy about getting up every morning and dissecting clinical work, and figuring out why clients do the things they do and how that fits into the support that we give them. That’s what I really, really enjoy. I love that. And if that means that our clients get help and the life that they should have, then that’s what that means.
*Name changed to protect identity