Buckelew News

Loving his Independence in Sonoma

posted: Friday, February 08, 2019

Judah is a 31 year old man who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.  His divorced parents were very involved in seeking different treatments for him from a variety of national sources.  Dependent upon his mom for rides and other support, Judah was living with her when he initially connected with Buckelew Programs in 2015.

Judah experienced voices that bothered him, making it difficult for him to fully participate. He would often isolate, feeling anxious and paranoid. He was matched to Buckelew  Sonoma Independent Living staff, Jason Selvage. Jason encouraged Judah, easing him into our program.  In June, just 2 months after Judah joined Buckelew, a second Buckelew Staff, Jim (a certified Bus Ambassador!), shared his expertise in public transportation, creating independence and hope by assuring Judah was comfortable and skilled. This is a key step in confidence and sufficiency building.

At the same time, Jason helped Judah continue to submit rental applications, looking for his own place. In August of that year, Judah began attending Buckelew’s Seeking Safety group and our VOICE Hearer’s support group.  Reserved at first, he kept coming back.  In November of 2015, just 7 months after Judah started, we had availability in one of our subsidized housing units; he wanted to give it a try!


During this first time living on his own, sometimes Judah would go back to his mother’s home for several days.  Change takes time. Part of the role of Buckelew Programs is to help the whole family adjust to the changes, educating them about our services.  The Sonoma staff reassured them that their grown son could safely practice living independently as they would not always be there for him.  This came together by enlisting the support of Katie Swan, Buckelew Family Service Coordinator, underscoring the importance of "wrap around" services.

Next step? Judah, a talented artist, was introduced to The Wellness Center, a peer-run support hub. He also began attending a local gym. Whole person wellness - yes!   

Over the next 3 years, Judah became more and more independent: in 2018 he was able to move out of Buckelew’s subsidized supported housing into his own apartment with our partner, Burbank Housing. 2018 also meant transportation freedom for Judah; he began driving and got his own car!


What goes around….Judah started volunteering at the Wellness Center and pursued becoming a peer advocate (as of press time, Judah is working as a peer counselor at the Wellness Center!) Ongoing recovery continues through his participation in Buckelew's Voice Hearer's support group with Sonoma staff, Michelle Davis.  In December, Judah told Michelle that he wished to co-facilitate the group with her. Michelle was thrilled, and Judah has been co-facilitating since January.

We couldn’t be more proud of Judah, our dedicated staff and of Judah’s parents who were courageous enough to take the next step, over and over. Together we are building Healthier Lives, Stronger Communities.

Loving his Independence in Sonoma