Founders Documentary:   
Beyond the Shadow of Mental Illness

Founders House of Hope

Founders House of Hope is a 97 bed residential care center providing psychosocial/psychiatric rehabilitation programing for consumers living with Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders and Mood Disorders.  Residents are admitted to Founders from inpatient psychiatric programs in Los Angels and Orange County, in addition to the VA in Long Beach and Los Angeles.  

 

The services/groups provided by Dr. Levy at Founders House of Hope include the following: 

  • Supported Employment

  • Hope and Optimism

  • Assertion Training

  • Vocational Rehabilitation

  • Social Skills Training

  • Impulse Control

  • Self-Esteem Building

  • Building Resilience

  • Relapse Prevention

  • Symptom Management

  • Community Reintegration

  • Social Problem Solving

  • Creative Expression (poetry writing, art)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The psychosocial rehabilitation program and skill building groups are designed to increase our resident's functional capacity to manage their illness, increase overall level of functioning, build self-determination and enhance quality of life.  Each resident lists their rehabilitation/recovery goals on their treatment plan and the services and supports essential to pursuing their goals are provided.  We can provide  information or refer the resident to agencies for pursuing transitional housing and employment so the resident can lead a satisfying life in their community of choice. 

The program goals include building self-empowerment, self-determination and self-sustenance. Our consumers tend to feel neglected and socially isolated making it difficult to generate a positive evaluation/self-concept. The focus of the program is identifying capabilities and interests, developing vocational skills, consumer strength and instilling optimism and hope that they can create a meaningful life and future.

 

The services represent reservoirs of hope.  All elements of the program contribute to creating a therapeutic milieu and environment of social caring.  A unique model of self-empowerment and reinforcement for effective decision making leading to increased life satisfaction is promoted in daily programming.

  • Program Objectives

 

  • Maximizing choice, increasing skills and competency and providing unconditional support.

  • Focusing on the resident's aspirations and pursuit  of goals on their individualized treatment plan.

  • Instilling hope and vision that residents can grow with and in their community.

  • Dedication to consumer empowerment and involvement of consumers in aspects of service delivery (supported employment program at Founders)

  • A strong commitment to improve the programs at Founders; developing innovative skills based groups that foster desired change in the lives of residents.

  • A strong commitment to achieving outcomes.

 

  Community Reintegration

 

  • Laguna Beach outing to the sea lion rescue and a picnic 

  • Picnics at Seal Beach 

  • Annual BBQ at El Dorado Park

  • Dinner outings to Belmont Shore in Long Beach

  • Participation at NAMI Walks at Irvine Regional Park

  • Visits to local museums

  • Day long outings to San Diego and La Jolla

  • Riding the Amtrak to San Juan Capistrano

  • Super Bowl pizza party

Your entire donation supports the psychiatric rehabilitation program that empowers our mentally ill residents to lead self-determined lives that enhances their quality of life.

Founders House of Hope is a 97 bed residential care center in Artesia for individuals living with serious, persistent mental illness such as Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Levy operates the psychosocial/psychiatric rehabilitation program at Founders which is designed to increase the functional capacity of our residents, instill self-determination and restore meaningful living.

In this illuminating, intimate documentary portraying individuals with schizophrenia and mental illness, viewers witness how the mentally ill are managing their illness and leading self-directed lives at Founders House of Hope, a residential care programs for the mentally ill.   The documentary is remarkably honest as it follows residents sharing how their broken lives have been reconstituted at Founders. The courage and defiance to not surrender to their illness is revealed when a resident celebrates the publication of his autobiography titled Beyond Psychosis. In powerful candor, residents share how mental illness has not taken their life away, but presented complex challenges enabling them to discover more about themselves and their resilience. Misconceptions about mental illness will be corrected in this documentary and the effects of being marginalized and socially stigmatized will be appreciated in an acute way by viewers.  The film’s existential elements reveal how residents draw meaning and purpose in life from the psychosocial rehabilitation activities at Founders.  The pull for their creative expression in metaphor, and in the form of art, poetry and songwriting reveals in a magnificent, authentic medium how life is forever altered by incurable mental illness.  A resident in the film sums up his life through the title of his poem Tamed with Understanding.

One of our program accomplishments is a book /anthology of poetry that residents of Founders wrote in 2014.
In this collection of poetry, individuals living with mental illness convey in an intimate, evocative and vivid style their longing for acceptance, meaning and recovery. The therapeutic benefits for the mentally ill writing poetically is a journey of self-discovery and the writing process organizes and clarifies their situation in life. For the mentally ill, writing poetically by using imagery and metaphor is a safe passage to reclaim who one was before the illness emerged. The metaphor relies on an analogy or symbol to create new meaning by expanding the imaginative mind that ultimately pushes one into a new reality that generates insight. The metaphor is fascinating because of its power to silently express a complete picture in an instant. Individuals living with symptoms of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are a vessel of truth and writing poetically about suffering transforms that truth in a way that makes it meaningful and amenable to healing. What is dormant, and undoubtedly shameful to disclose is awakened, and although it describes the limitations the illness imposes in their lives, it energizes one to act in some way to heal the pain, overcome and defeat ongoing devaluation, loneliness, stigmatization and alienation. In the end, it is hope that gives life meaning and sustains faith for the good life. Without hope, one lives in despair and futility. Meaning gives one the strength to overcome. The evocative nature of poetry transforms silence, alienation and insignificance to sound. The mentally ill live in their safe, beautiful, intimate and private world. The written word-- the poem, allows one to share this experience in a public forum for others to identify with and ultimately connect them to the larger world to reduce alienation and increase integration. At some level, the healthy mind will invariably understand the depth of suffering and through empathy, the ability to take the role of the other, appreciate and render compassion to the mentally ill.
Written by a Founders Resident

The Arc of Imagination

 

  

The arc of imagination can bend far and wide.

 

It can be vast or narrow, can show one’s true outlook on life.

 

The things in your head can become the things of the world if you just put thought into action.

 

The imagination can be bright like a rainbow, showing in vibrant contrast to the surrounding landscape and sowing life to all who see it.

 

Poem by Dayne Hammond of Founders

Observations

The eddy of the well swirls within.

The spider, tied to its web is haunting the threshold.

The alligator, a deep, scaly green catches his prey, spewing rubies into the air.

The Chinese merchant stows away change for his daughters allowance.

The pitiful drunk pisses on a stoop near a hotel lobby.

Oil sizzles and bubbles as frozen fries enter the cauldron.

A mystical sage, atop his hilltop cave bares his body to the moon at night.

A death row inmate sheds a tear as he approaches the electric chair.

A baby is born into the arms of a woman who barely loves herself.

A book is burned for telling a story too true.

My mother kisses my forehead in between sips of her wine.

Music plays in the glowing room of two teenage lovers.

The scent of engine smoke is smelled by diners on the canal.

A women’s red heel gets caught in a crack on a Grecian veranda.

A leaf grows heavy under the weight of thunderous rain drops.

A swan tucks her head into white feathers as she grows tired.

The Latin family gather around in a small room crowded with candles as their matriarch slips away.

God kisses the cheek of Jesus in their Heavenly home as night falls over North America.

Morning light dances upon the ridges of Tibet as the red-sheathed monks eat breakfast.

Life ends,

never for a second to the eyes of the great observers

Another book/anthology of poetry written by residents of Windsor Hall
Elijah shopping at Costco for Founders Annual BBQ
From left to right: Renee, Elodia, Nora, Dan, Esther, Ann and Elie
Rene makes abundant, delicious lasagna for the residents each year at Christmas and our team of Angels serves it. Yvonne, Rosina, Mike, Tammy , Diane, Elise, Betty and Matt are not in the picture. 
For individuals living with special conditions, writing poetry is healing and the material derives from a world of creative ideas, dreams and reflections on the meaning of life. Poetry drives self-expression and is not bound by rules constraining the creative process. It empowers and silences shame, isolation and the despair. The poetry in this anthology invites the reader into a world where metaphors reveal vulnerability, anguish and shame associated with having a special condition. The evocative nature of poetry transforms silence, alienation and insignificance to sound. For these individuals, writing poetically is a safe passage to reclaim one?s life. The metaphor is fascinating because of its power to silently express a pure, complete picture. The storytelling, prose and free verse poetry here is vivid and evocative, illuminating the inner, subconscious mind in a metaphorical and symbolic medium. It is spiritual, deeply intimate and contemplative. The poems unleash emotions connected to loss, pain, vulnerability and to living with these special conditions. It is healing and natural to disclose in words the limitations imposed and to allow the reader to enter a mind often infiltrated by unwelcomed, malicious demons and devaluing voices. The poets in this book reveal their suffering and longing for acceptance. The writers share their dreams, sustained hope for recovery while educating us about their special conditions and the enemy within. We hope that the healthy mind will understand the depth of suffering. In the end, it is hope that gives life meaning and sustains faith for the good life. Meaning gives one the strength to overcome. We celebrate the poetic genius of our brave souls who share to educate us so we can support their desire to live with purpose, meaning and self-determination.