'I Am Not Who I Was Judged For'

A self-proclaimed ‘product of institutions,’ Kylund was orphaned at a young age and bounced from foster home, to orphanage, to group home and ultimately the streets, before he finally ‘aged out’ of the system.  As an adolescent, Kylund was successfully being treated for a bipolar disorder and depression, but once he was on his own, he stopped all therapy and medication.

Adjusting to life with no structure and lots of freedom was difficult.  Kylund began running with a rough crowd and adopted a means of survival that would soon land him in jail. A fellow inmate told him about GCB – said if he could connect with them, they would help him get his life back on track.  Kylund sought out a referral and was assigned a case manager through the GCB Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Team, a specialty unit that partners with the Adult Parole Authority to work with individuals once they’ve been released from prison. 

“We help to re-integrate them back into society,” said Bruna Souza, former care manager for FACT Team. “We address their basic needs, but we also assist with establishing housing, identification, food, employment, mental health services, etc.  “We stay with them for the entire duration of their parole, usually one to six years.”

Incarceration also made Kylund realize that he was in denial about his mental health issues, and was hoping to get back into treatment for his bipolar and depression, with GCB’s help.   Encouraged by the stability that the medication provided, Kylund was motivated and eager to keep moving in a positive direction.

He was especially interested in GCB’s Supervised Employment program, which provides people with paid-work training, giving them on-the-job experience and the opportunity to develop good work habits, attitudes, and interpersonal skills. Site coordinators lead work crews of five to eight client employees to provide part time janitorial, grounds maintenance, commissary warehousing, food preparation and catering services for local companies in the community.

Shortly after being connected with GCB and successfully working his program, Kylund was wrongly implicated in a robbery that resulted in more jail time, due to being on parole (all charges were ultimately dismissed).  “Being responsible, working and paying my bills isn’t enough,” he says. “Because of my status, I have to be diligent about the people I associate with and the hours I keep. Being out at a late hour or even in the same room with certain individuals is something I cannot afford. “

 “Kylund is humble and has gone through so much,” says Bruna.  “He has an open heart and an open mind, which is really helpful in receiving services.  His outlook is positive, and he’s not giving up.”

Kylund credits his foster father, a worker he met at a shelter, in giving him the unconditional love and support he needed, but had not yet found.  “He and his family never gave up on me,” he says.  “It took me awhile to receive what they were giving me, but eventually I did.  Every thoughtful and righteous idea I have, is because they are in my life.”

Kylund is back at GCB and has re-joined the Supervised Employment program with a focus on building a consistent track-record of successful employment.  His care manager continues to work with him on his communication and coping skills.  “I am not who I was judged for,” he says.  “I am extremely thankful for GCB’s relentless motivation and support.”