What We Do
For the Shed A Light Foundation Directors and our donor partners, one of the most fulfilling aspects of donating through Shed A Light is knowing exactly where and how your donation is being used. We have always focused on helping local organizations whose primary function is to help people suffering with severe mental illness. There are many national organizations that one can donate to, and many do good work on behalf of mental illness. However, it is nearly impossible to know exactly where your money is going and what impact it has had on individual patients.
For those who want to simply write a check, that is all you need to do. For those who want to be more involved, follow us on Facebook, sign up for our newsletters, or contact us directly.
Below are some of the projects we are working on.
Scripps Health A-Vision Program
Scripps Health established the A-Visions Vocational Training Program in partnership with the San Diego Mental Health Association and the Visions Program. The A-Visions program helps people receiving treatment for mental illness with vocational training, which potentially leads to a greater level of independence and fulfillment.
People with psychiatric disorders are often misunderstood, feared, and shunned by society. Finding employment can be difficult for such people who are willing and able to work, even if they are undergoing or have completed treatment.
Currently, there are 26 people in the program and 23 are actively employed part time by Scripps. Since the program began, 94 patients have gone through the A-Visions Vocational Training. 44 of the graduates have been employed by Scripps. Read their stories HERE.
SHED A LIGHT DONORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Over the past two years, the donations from the Shed A Light Foundation to the Scripps Mercy Hospital’s A-Visions Vocational Training program have gone directly to fund this important work. Being able to work and earn an income is an important part of giving mentally ill adults the sense of care, security, and hope, which is exactly our Mission.
Here are a few ways in which Shed A Light funding has had an impact on this program:
- Training and wages for some of the graduates of the program, read their stories below.
- High back arm chairs for the Behavioral Health patient library so that patients can relax between therapy groups and where they can practice socializing with others.
- A laptop computer to allow staff to be more efficient and effective in assessing patients when they are in the field.
- Office furniture for the A-Visions program so participants can perform their tasks more efficiently with equipment that supports their duties.
- Shopping trip for graduates to buy work-appropriate clothing and shoes.
No one who ever met Barry Bohlander could ever forget his big smile, generous nature, incredible talent, amazing intellect, or his handsome good looks. He was a gifted musician and natural athlete; a loving son and brother who made friends quickly. He positively...
My son, Barry Bohlander, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2000 and passed away from the disease in 2005 - at the young age of just 25. In those five years, as a caregiver I was exposed to the challenges and difficulties with our mental health system in America. At...
Due to her mental illness, Gretal was anxious about returning to work. Shed A Light funding allowed Scripps to enroll her in the A-Visions program where she learned important job skills. The funding also covered her yearly wages as an employee of Scripps where she...
START Crisis Residential Treatment
Your donation can give care, security, and hope
Jim and Sheryl Bohlander, founders of the Shed A Light Foundation, know first-hand how difficult it is for a severely mentally ill patient to find good, quality care, to navigate the social services available, and to find a place to live that offers security and hope. They often wonder if a program like START would have made a difference for Barry. They think it would have. Here’s why.
When a person is in a crisis, they typically end up in the Emergency Room of a local hospital, where they can hopefully be admitted to the Behavioral Health Ward. There they stay a few days to a few weeks, sometimes longer. One of the biggest challenges for all hospitals is to have enough beds for every patient who needs one. Frequently, emergency room staff will have to call other hospitals to just find a bed. There is so much need, and not nearly enough resources. Consequently, there is a push to get patients discharged as soon as they are ‘stabilized’ to make room for new crisis patients. Often times, a patient may be “stabilized”, but they need additional care to help them better deal with their illness and to find resources to help them live and manage their illness. Frequently, those with severe mental illness end up homeless or living in unsafe and depressing situations.
The START Crisis Treatment Residential Home – more like a guest house than an institution – has a multi-disciplinary staff on site 24 hours a day. Most patients stay about 9 days during which time the staff develops a comprehensive treatment plan based on individual needs and strengths.
Patients participate in household duties, like menu planning, cooking, and cleaning, and attend individual and group counseling sessions. Their discharge includes an extensive plan involving medication, housing, community resources, etc.
These nationally recognized programs are licensed and accredited. From our perspective, they are the best hope many people with severe mental illness have to live a life with meaning and purpose. Our goal is to generate funding that will secure one room with two beds, helping over 80 patients per year. The cost of two beds is $440,000 per year.
BY THE NUMBERS
One bed space in the START program costs $600 per day. With $220,000 annual funding, Scripps would be able to guarantee one bed exclusively for patients who enter the Scripps system – rather than discharging them back into the community. This would afford Scripps the opportunity to serve at least 41 patients per year with an average stay of 9 days.
Letters From Former START Residents
“I’ve been through a few programs, institutions, prisons, counselors, pretty much anything dealing with mental illness. I have never felt as positive as I do today about a means to an end of the chaos, torment, misery. For the first time in my life I have a bit of...
“Where do I start to say thank you? I had no hope a year ago, heck even 3 weeks ago. I saw no break-out plan for my situation. I was encouraged to face muself and by doing so, I stumbled upon my strengths. Who is to say where I will end up? Who is to say what I can do...
“Thank you so much for being there to help people in need. I was a client there a year ago. I wanted to let you know you made a big difference in my life. Without you, I would have been on the streets – homeless. You helped me get admitted to an ACT program. Now I am...