50 For 50 #44: Impact 100
This is the 44th in a continuing series of stories--one every day for 50 days--to conclude IKRON's year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary. Missed one? No problem! See the entire series on our news page here.
In 2008, in the face of a long waiting list and not enough space, IKRON applied for an Impact 100 grant.
On September 18, 2008, IKRON Board President Megan Clark and WARMLINE's Rose Vogt went to Memorial Hall for the final round of applying for the grant. First Megan, and then Rose, took the stage to address the Impact 100 panel and assembled audience. Just as Rose was about to make her dramatic finish to her speech, "Sometimes on the way to your dream..." the buzzer rang out--she was out of time. However, the panel and audience were so invested in her story that they insisted upon hearing the ending afterwards, and even without the dramatic finish, the IKRON team of Megan and Rose ultimately brought the grant home.
Here is the transcript of Rose's speech:
Hello, my name is Rose Vogt. I am a wife married to Hank for 45 years, a mother with four children, and grandmother with two grandchildren and hope to have more. And I have a mental illness.
My mental illness became official when I was 28 years old and pregnant with our fourth child and I attempted suicide. I am happy to say that our son is now 37 and very healthy. Over the last 37 years I have attempted suicide many times. I have had so many electric shock treatments that I was told I should be a babbling idiot. Twice in my life I have been harmed by psychiatric medications. The first time is when I developed Tardive dyskinesia. This is an involuntary movement of my tongue. The doctors now think this is beginning to interfere with my speech and want me to start speech therapy. The second time was when the medicine turned toxic and I almost died.
Over the years I have had many different jobs. I have worked in a sewing machine factory, as a maid in a motel, a waitress, and many different kinds of store clerks. None of the jobs ever lasted more than six months. I have been part of mental health agencies and they did help me to get my social security disability in 1988.
I became involved with IKRON in 2005. There, I was accepted and treated as an equal. IKRON helped me to believe in myself and believe that I was capable of doing things I never dreamed of doing. IKRON even showed me that I could use a computer without blowing it up. I graduated from IKRON in May of 2006. My son and younger sister were there to see me graduate. Imagine me at 62 and getting to wear a gap and gown again!
At that time, I was offered a full time job WARMLINE with health benefits. If I took the job, it would mean giving up my social security disability. This thought was very frightening to me. IKRON, however, encouraged me to go for it. So after 19 years of being on disability and a guaranteed income I gave it up and went to work full time. Guess what? That was two years ago and I am still working full time. In fact, I have been promoted to program coordinator of the WARMLINE.
In my office I have a sign that says, “Sometimes on the way to your dream you get lost and you find a better dream!”
IKRON helped me find that dream!
Winning the grant allowed us to renovate the fourth floor of the building and install a lift to make the fourth floor accessible to all, eliminating our client waiting list at the time. Today, the fourth floor is the home of job development and career planning services, use for our interns, and individual and group counseling. We also have our thrift shop closet on the fourth floor, where participants may find appropriate clothing for a job interview or the first couple weeks of a new job. The impact of this one grant has been multiplied many times over as we've taken a previously unusable space and turned it into a place to serve more clients and meet more needs.
Rose Vogt retired from the WARMLINE in October of this year, after many years of service.