Overcoming Grief, Guilford Woman Finds Reward in Employment

Virginia Garrett is dressed in a black dress with flower design, wearing glasses and smiling.

Virginia Garrett receives Monarch Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services that have helped her find a job that she enjoys was well as overcome a diagnosis of depression.

Greensboro resident Virginia Garrett’s current employment is helping her manage depression due to the loss of close loved ones in her life. Helping others find support, feeling like part of a solution and working in her community has brought joy to her life while overcoming grief.

Today, she is managing a diagnosis of depression, caused in part by the deaths of her parents, spouse and youngest son, through a job as a nutrition site manager for the Guilford County’s Senior Resource Center.

She secured the job with the help of Monarch’s Guilford Individual Placement and Support (IPS) team, a person-centered, behavioral health service with a focus on finding and maintaining employment.

Virginia enjoys her part-time position as a nutrition site manager because she not only has the opportunity to socialize with peers and people she supports but she sees reward in helping others.

Senior citizens are served lunch through the program as well as learn about proper nutrition and available food resources within the community such as a farmer’s market program in the summer when fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Virginia’s previous work experience included case management for the homeless population and people struggling with substance use disorders, as well as working within a battered woman’s shelter.

Virginia began receiving IPS services through referral from a vocational rehabilitation agency and was paired with Monarch’s Employment Support Professional Nataisha Pointzes of the Guilford IPS team. She provided Virginia employment assistance as resume guidance and support in maintaining employment. The pair have been working together for over a year.

Nataisha describes Virginia as “go-getter” who thrives best when working within her community. She has watched Virginia during the past year become a stronger advocate for herself. “Virginia really wanted to to get out in the community because she was dealing with a lot of depression,” she notes.

“One of the things that helped me when I’m going through some things like that, some turmoil and things is to get out of the house, to be around people, you know, work, help somebody else. So that is what I try to do,” Virginia said of her way to navigate grief. “The only way that I knew to help myself was to help others, somebody else that was in need.”

Virginia realized that even though loved ones will pass away she still needs to continue with life. “There’s too much that I could do to just to give up and not do anything. So, I just said let me get out of this house and help myself,” she reflects.

What does she enjoy about her current job? “The more I do and especially with the clientele that I work with now, a lot of times elderly people are overlooked, and I don’t like that,” she says, noting that she educates the center’s attendees on available state and federal programs available to them.

When not working, Virginia enjoys serving as a minister in her church supporting the pastor in a variety of ways with the congregation, including helping people struggling with addiction and homelessness.

Virginia appreciates Monarch’s IPS service and Nataisha remaining as a constant in her life and someone she can count on. “She calls and says is everything alright? Is there anything that you need?” she says of Nataisha.

For more information about Monarch’s IPS services and to read more stories like Virginia’s, please click here.

Posted on: Wednesday August 16, 2023