Robert Woods Thrives in Independent, Supervised Living

Robert Woods, a resident of Monarch’s Sugarcreek Supervised Apartments in Charlotte, enjoys his independent lifestyle. He takes impeccable care of his apartment, pays rent on time each month and works at his job at Food Lion.

Director of Spiritual Care / Behavioral Specialist Joseph Marinello, who supervises the Monarch services offered at Sugarcreek Apartments, applauds Woods’ strong desire to be independent, the kind of friend he is to others and his dedication to his employer.

“Nothing is going to stop Robert. You love to be around Robert because he is a good person. His perseverance is amazing,” Marinello said of Woods, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1985.

The supervised living model, like the one at Sugarcreek, focuses on strengthening the residents’ independent living skills including self-care, cooking, cleaning, money management and leisure time planning.

A priority in Woods independent lifestyle is being employed. He rarely misses a shift, completing the almost four-mile bicycle ride to and from work at the West Sugar Creek grocery, no matter the weather forecast. Marinello said Woods has gone through several bicycles through his tenure at Food Lion, always purchasing a replacement himself and tackling any tire changes needed.

Food Lion recently honored Woods, 57, with a pin for his 15 years of employment as a service associate. In his role, Woods helps customers put their groceries in their car, retrieves shopping carts and assists wherever needed, working about 15 hours each week, including the busy weekend shopping days. His favorite part of working at the grocery store is helping and talking to customers.

Woods prides himself in the kitchen, teaching himself to cook spaghetti, turkey and hot dogs, which are among his favorites. In his spare time, he enjoys going to the movies and eating lunch at a nearby Concord mall when he gets the opportunity.

In addition to being employed and living independently, family is important to Woods as a sibling to two sisters and three brothers. Woods proudly displays a photo collage featuring beloved family gatherings and cherishes time with his close-knit family, many who reside in the Charlotte area.

Marinello said Woods is a wonderful example of independent living that works for an individual diagnosed with a mental illness. “Robert takes a lot of pride in the way he lives and in his job. Robert gets along with everyone,” Marinello said.

Photo captions: Top photo, Sugarcreek Apartment’s Robert Woods is proud of his 15-year Food Lion pin that exemplifies dedication to his job; bottom photo, Woods, back right, enjoys a holiday lunch gathering with his fellow apartment residents.