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Joseph Brings Carnival Cheer to his Peers

Joseph began services with Association House in 2018. At the time, he was living in a nursing home due to mental illness. His ultimate goal was to gain the skills needed to live independently in an apartment of his own. After two years spent at Dulcinea, one of Association House’s supervised housing locations, Joseph achieved his goal. He continues to receive services through multiple programs and is a shining example to others. His goal now: to spread more joy and celebrate his new independence.

A white female PSR instructor standing next to Joseph, a black male participant in front of the mini carnival held at the House.

Joseph, in his custom carnival worker shirt, poses with staff member Maggie.

This summer, Joseph tackled another monumental goal: hosting carnivals for participants in programs across Association House. “I like watching game shows like the ‘The Price is Right’ pretty often, and then I realized that I could create mini games from the show for us to play and the rest is history,” Joseph explained.

Imagine this scene, from one of the carnivals: “Dame un chiste,” the game leader called out—One joke (chiste in Spanish) for the chance to play a game. Immediately, hands flew into the air. Participants jumped up from their chairs hoping to be chosen. Joke after joke was shared as participants worked their way through Plinko, Hi Lo, ½ Off, and more. Smiles, cheers, and camaraderie were abundant. And after a year spent without gathering, the carnival felt like a light at the end of a tunnel.

With every carnival, whether for Life Skills Education, Psycho-Social Rehabilitation group, or Dulcinea, Joseph’s kindness, humor, and creativity were on full display. For each, he selected games specifically for the skill levels of those attending, made those games, painted welcome banners, and used his own savings to buy real prizes to give away.

“It’s so cool to see Joseph be a role model to his peers,” Maggie Hettman explained with tears of pride in her eyes. Maggie has worked with Joseph since the beginning, and, like all of us, couldn’t be more proud of the progress he’s made.

Life Skills Education participants laugh their way through the water balloon toss at one of Joseph’s carnivals.

About the Programs The programs that Joseph was a part of offer skill-building, community-building, and case management services for adults with serious mental illness or co-occurring psychiatric disorders and addictions. We believe that every person should be able to live their life in the least restrictive setting possible, and we’re committed to supporting individuals with mental illness and disabilities as they reach their goals.

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