Pursuing Well-Being Through Work

James overcame a mental health challenge and found employment that fulfills his well-being.

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James grew up in Denver with a very supportive family. He recalls always coming home to a cooked meal and fresh tortillas made by his mother. He lived an average life until he was in his mid-50s when it took an unexpected turn. James was accused of a crime he did not commit. He knew he was innocent, but the allegations sent him into a deep depression.

James would spend six years in and out of a courtroom, ultimately proving his innocence. In those six years, he gave many emotional testimonies and completed various interviews. He even took a polygraph to support his case.

James was not working at the time and felt he had lost everything that was contributing to his well-being. He grew tired of how much time and energy the case was taking and he felt hopeless.  

James recognized he wasn’t the same person, but he didn’t know what to do. James’ sister could see that he was having a difficult time and she recognized that he needed help beyond what the family could provide. She suggested he look at the services at WellPower.

Finding strength in resilience

James made it through his case and was never charged with a crime. At the end of those six years, he realized how much he had overcome, “It was time to take my life back and do well,” commented James. “I have a good heart, a good mind and a good attitude and I wanted to get to a point in my life where I felt like I was succeeding.”

The first step in regaining his life was to find employment. James applied for a driving position at WellPower’s Adult Resource Center and began work. The Adult Resource Center provides donated items such as food, hygiene products, books and more. James was responsible for picking up these donations that help individuals and families in services with WellPower.

James received a certificate of recognition for his work after only a couple of months. He recalls this as a very proud moment in his journey. This position was part-time, and James was eager to find full-time employment; he recognized how much a job enriched his life.

James was advised to look into the services at 2Suceed. NextChapter is WellPower’s employment and education program that teaches people in recovery professional skills and provides career assessments.  

James met a compassionate staff member at NextChapter who worked closely with him. They were able to identify his strengths and work on his resume and submit job applications together.

Finding purpose through work

The employment specialist and James were able to find a job that excited James. He went in for an interview and didn’t get the job. However, he couldn’t stop thinking about it and a month later he was encouraged to try again, and he was hired. James has been working for Innovage as a driver now for seven years.

James spends his days transporting elderly clients to their doctor appointments. In 2018 he received the Employee of the Month award after he worked more than 15 hours in a snowstorm. And he routinely receives letters from doctor’s offices about how he has gone above and beyond in his role.

James comments that he tries to make his clients as happy as he can when they are riding with him. He has a lot of jokes and a sense of humor that brings a smile to their faces.

James started off at minimum wage and today makes a living wage. James is not only a great employee, but he loves his job. And he wishes for others to find a job in which they find a purpose as well.

“There are people that want to help you,” said James. “You have to at least show-up and try to do something with your life. No matter how bad your life gets, don’t ever give up. I never gave up even though I was at a breaking point, but I knew that I could succeed at something.”