Innovations in Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare (I-CATCH)
A second chance at life gives a single mother a new voice
After Jodi’s life took a turn for the worst, she found her path to redemption through the Innovations in Creating Access to Careers in Healthcare (I-CATCH) Visit disclaimer page program at Edmonds College.
As a stay-at-home mom, Jodi spent her days raising her children. She shuttled them to and from soccer practice. She coached the little league baseball team. She attended PTA meetings and even became the president. Life was more or less picture perfect. Then everything changed.
Jodi’s doctor prescribed her opioids after shoulder surgery; this led to a substance abuse disorder. Before long, Jodi’s addiction progressed to intravenous heroin use and she became homeless. She supported her drug habit by stealing and was arrested twenty times. Eventually, Jodi made Washington State’s most wanted list and earned the moniker, “Ultra Thief.”
After her final arrest, the court mandated she receive treatment. She began recovery at Catholic Community Services where they treated her with empathy, hope, and compassion. At last, she was on the road to redemption.
Jodi’s counselor was moved by her story and saw potential for her to turn her tragedy into power. He referred her to the Substance Use Disorder Professional Program at Whatcom Community College where she could use her experience to help others. While enrolled at Whatcom, she learned about the I-CATCH program, applied and was chosen by lottery. Jodi equated this to winning the actual state lottery, because of all the valuable assistance she received. For example, Jodi found she did her best early in the morning before campus opened. I-CATCH provided her with a computer and MIFI device so she could work on her own schedule.
The staff supported her in other ways as well. They listened to Jodi’s problems and encouraged her to persist through her challenges. They helped connect her to additional funding and scholarships making it easier to focus on her studies. In June 2020, Jodi completed her Substance Use Disorder Professional program.
Through the course of her recovery, Jodi discovered a passion for public speaking and even received a Public Speaking Discipline Outstanding Student Award at graduation. She learned to use her voice and story to educate others about the struggles of addiction. She has spoken at Catholic Community Services fundraising events and to criminal justice students. She delivered an address during the college’s Substance Abuse Disorder Awareness Week. Recently, she received the prestigious ACT Transforming Lives Award which recognizes students who lives have been transformed by pursing higher education at a Washington State college. Her story was featured in a substance abuse booklet distributed to Washington State legislators.
Jodi is now working full time as a counselor in training at Lake Whatcom Recovery Center, earning $20 per hour and benefits. She recently contacted the I-Catch program for a letter of recommendation to apply to Western Washington University’s Human Services Bachelor program. Jodi intends to continue sharing her addiction and recovery story with the public. Most importantly, she won back the respect and admiration of her children.
This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.