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Determination Paired with Supported Employment Helped Patricia Ghostly Turn Her Life Around


Patricia Ghostly is a new graduate of North Lincoln High School. Graduating is an accomplishment and a reason to celebrate for many young people, but for Ghostly, it wasn't the only reason to celebrate this summer. She has met a few other milestones through hard work and persistence, too.

Ghostly was recently hired for her first job at The Brian Center Health and Retirement in Lincolnton. She’s working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a license she earned while she was still in high school. Getting there took hard work and determination, but also required her to face a diagnosis of major depressive disorder head on. Without the support from Monarch, things could have turned out much differently for Ghostly.

She arrived at Monarch more than a year ago, after a suicide attempt and a hospital stay. She was struggling to keep up with medication, therapy and as a result, her school work.

“I’ve been motivated to do a lot better just with getting my life together because it hasn’t really been the best lately,” said Ghostly. “Danielle has been helping me and it means a lot to me.”

Danielle Earl is an individual placement support and the supported employment team lead in Gaston, Lincoln and Cleveland counties for Monarch. She has been working with Ghostly to help her find a job, apply for financial aid for college and look for a place to call home. Ghostly and her mother have been homeless for months since their home went into foreclosure.

“When I first met with Patricia she was very depressed. At 19 years old, she would become easily overwhelmed because she was already taking on an adult role with the worries of losing her home and being homeless,” said Earl. “We helped her through some problem solving. When it came to getting her CNA and school work, I would encourage her to reach out to her teachers and build that support network at school and she did a good job with that.”

When Ghostly’s symptoms were under control, Earl helped her dive into a job search by assisting her in getting the basic tools she needed; interviewing skills, appropriate clothing, transportation and being able to manage her symptoms of stress.

“I really needed a job because I wanted to work and do better. I didn’t want to be like I was,” said Ghostly.

Eventually her grades started improving, she wasn’t missing as many days of school and has come a long way with managing her depression.

“I’m really proud of Patricia, she could have easily given up,” said Earl. “She has really overcome and been a survivor. For her to now say she wants to go to college and become a nurse, that’s really admirable.”

“Danielle helped me see things in a positive way. I was struggling a lot with trying to figure out who I am. By having her here to help me, I found out who I really am and who I want to be,” said Ghostly.

For now, Ghostly is staying with a friend and her mom with a relative. She is working on getting an apartment so they can be together again. She started classes this fall at Gaston College with a goal of earning her degree in nursing.

Observed every October for more than 70 years, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) aims to celebrate the contributions of workers with disabilities and educate about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Disability inclusion reflects on the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success and this year’s theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.” More information about NDEAM can be found here.

Photo: Patricia Ghostly first day of working as a CNA at The Brian Center Health and Retirement.


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