Idalia Matthews, Interim’s Supported Education and Employment Services Program Coordinator, has grown a lot since she came to work here 10 years ago. Interim’s SEES program provides employment and education supportive services, tailored to meet the needs of people with mental illnesses. The services Idalia coordinates serve about 160 people a year. Most recently, she graduated from the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Institute, a program of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. The program focuses on building leadership skills for the next generation of non-profit managers.
In addition to monthly workshops, LEADers are also responsible for working on strategic projects that will directly benefit their programs. Idalia worked on strategic marketing for the SEES program to increase client referrals and employer participation. As a result, Idalia has expanded the use of community presentations and networking with local employers to promote her programs.
Idalia also looked at restructuring some aspects of the SEES employment program to improve outcomes for clients. The program now leverages employment experience clients can gain by working for Interim before they move on to outside employers. This gives them a safe space to gain real job experience. Because of their challenges with their mental illness, many clients of the SEES program have very little job experience or an unstable work history. So they need a very supportive environment to learn.
The LEAD program has given her increased confidence as a supervisor and an overview of the important functions managers perform within non-profits, benefiting her as a manager. She will miss the workshops, but added that her group has committed to quarterly get-togethers.
When asked what the most satisfying part of her job is, she says it is seeing the successes of her clients. “It’s extremely gratifying when someone we work with, who couldn’t maintain a job before, remains successfully employed for many years, or to see someone graduate who struggled with school.”
Idalia isn’t the only Interim graduate of the LEAD program. The agency has had at least one Interim employee in every LEAD cohort since its inception. Barbara Mitchell remarked that the program “improves their skills and confidence.”
We look forward to seeing Idalia continue to grow and watching her LEAD by example!