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Cece’s Story

Cece finds community in Avivo’s Community Support Programs

“I have found community here.” Cece is a regular participant in one of Avivo’s community support programs, which help individuals living with mental illness achieve wellness and recovery. She’s been a part of its unique community for more than 20 years.

Without help for her mental health, Cece describes life like a world that just keeps getting smaller and smaller. “I was in high school when I first started experiencing symptoms,” she tells. She recalls playing basketball and the feeling of the ball getting really heavy. She remembers walking the halls at school, feeling lost and trying to find classes.

Without help for her mental health, Cece describes life like a world that just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

“I heard my name called, but no one was there. I remember hearing, ‘You’re never going to get out – you are lost forever.”

The voices got louder. She said that she ran all the way home and never went back. Her parents connected her with a tutor so she could complete high school.

She entered into living with a primary diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. With help from her primary doctor and psychiatrist, she began taking medication to help with symptoms. She also got connected with a case manager.

“The community has made a world of difference for my self-esteem and self-confidence. I’m so proud of what I can do.”

There was a time, Cece says, when she was just so depressed. “I just did not want to leave the couch.” That’s when a staff member from Avivo reached out to her. “She actually came to visit me in my home. That first time was as simple as just coming over and going for a walk with me. It made me feel alive and hopeful.”

Cece eventually joined the community support program at Avivo. Now she regularly attends classes, community gatherings, and workshops. “What’s really helped me are the fitness classes they offer,” says Cece. Her medications had caused her to gain a lot of weight. By working with Avivo’s wellness coach and participating in exercise classes, Cece lost 60 pounds!

The community has made a world of difference for my self-esteem and self-confidence,” adds Cece. “I am so proud of what I can do … Avivo was part of every stage of my emotional growth.”