Brittny Adams' Fundraising Page

Why I Am Dancing

My name is Brittny Adams and I have been a member of the Independence Center for over 8 years now. I currently am employed at BJC Behavioral Health as a Peer Support Specialist part-time. However, in the next couple of months I am looking to go full-time and come off of disability. Let me tell you a little bit about how I became a member and employed.

I came to the Clubhouse after two staff members came to where I was living, at the time, to tell me about the Clubhouse and all it had to offer me. They came as part of the DM-3700 program, in which they got my name from a list of people who utilize the ER quite often for mental health reasons, primarily, and for medical reasons. I will never forget the date when I visited the Clubhouse… April 28, 2012. I fell in love at first sight. After working with the dedicated staff at IC, I was finally connected with a good psychiatrist and therapist at Independence Center Health Group, better known as Midwest Psychiatry. After many years of dealing with mental health issues that were not properly treated, the doctors finally found the right cocktail of meds to prescribe me. I finally found some peace. It was here that I met the love of my life, Stanley. He helped advocate for me to get off some of the meds as I was taking multiple drugs that were for the same illness or problem.

After expressing my goals and aspirations with some of the staff, they convinced me to give school another chance. I had previously attempted to get my bachelor’s degree two other times, but I always dropped out after two or three weeks. I took one class at a time and finally got my degree in psychology. There were many times when I wanted to give up on school, but Stanley and a few staff at IC consistently encouraged me to keep going. I wanted to help others who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders, so I took the Certified Peer Specialist training. After completing the training, I took the exam and passed with a perfect score. Now keep in mind that during all this time I was on SSI disability income and getting home health care services. It had been recommended to me that I should look for employment, but I declined because I was afraid of losing my disability benefits. However, after much prodding and encouragement from staff and Stanley, I finally decided to look for employment. I put my resume together and put it on Indeed. I went on several job interviews to no avail. I was beginning to lose hope, but Stanley and staff kept encouraging me and reminding me that the right job was going to come along, I just had to be patient. I saw a position for a part-time Peer Support Specialist at BJC Behavioral Health and I immediately applied. Needless to say, I got the job and have been there for over a year now.

None of these successes would have been possible without the help, encouragement, and faith in me from the staff at IC and Stanley. I wanted to do something to give back to the Clubhouse what all they had given to me so freely, and that is when I asked to be considered for Dancing with the St. Louis Stars as the member dancer in 2017. I was ultimately chosen to be the

member dancer and I loved every minute of it. I had a great partner, Joe Elvis Always-Baker, who taught me how to tell my story through dance and that is when we decided to do a contemporary piece. That year, we won Crowd Favorite and Judges’ Favorite. It was a very humbling and moving experience. When I was asked to participate this year, I quickly said yes.

This organization is a Godsend and I highly recommend it to any adult who has mental illness or substance use disorders. The Independence Center saved my life and helped me to realize that my mental illness and substance use disorder does not define who I am; it is simply a diagnosis. They also helped me to believe in myself and believe that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to.

Thank you Independence Center!

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