Success Stories

In Home Outreach Team (IHOT): A Success Story


From a young age, “James” had a history of mental health issues. Now 29, he’s been homeless, attempted suicide, and behaved aggressively toward others.  Then IHOT received a referral saying James’ symptoms had increased and he needed more support. But he’d been MIA for months. The IHOT team immediately reached out to his encampment and places he was known to frequent. They located him, and, using peer support as a roadmap, IHOT helped James begin to better understand and express his needs. They also helped him navigate Alameda County Behavioral Health in order to receive a range of support services.

James collaborated with his support providers to identify achievable goals and create a treatment plan. When he left IHOT, he was:


  • Meeting with multiple support staff at least 1-3 times a week
  • Connecting with a psychiatrist via telehealth (due to Covid-19)
  • Happy with the services he was connected to, and looking forward to working with them.

Dual Diagnosis Residential Treatment Program:

A Success Story


“Marcus” grew up in a family troubled by substance abuse and started using drugs and alcohol at an early age. In his teens, he began hearing voices in his head that demeaned him and destroyed his confidence. He dropped out of high school, started having problems with the law, and was often homeless. By his late twenties, Marcus recognized that his run-ins with law enforcement coincided with his use of drugs and alcohol. He wanted to become clean and sober, but every time he tried to stop using, he would relapse. Seeking support, he turned to the Bonita House Residential Treatment Program. There, with structure and clear goals, Marcus thrived. He abstained from alcohol and drugs, began taking his medication consistently, and learned coping skills such as daily meditation. He slowly added "normal" activities, such as playing basketball, back into his life. Marcus began volunteering at a soup kitchen, joined AA, and apprenticed at a body shop. Although he still heard voices, they were no long demeaning. He'd be out on the basketball court and hear them say, "Keep going. You got this."

When Marcus graduated into the SIL Housing Program, he became a leader, taking on the role of House Manager and helping his housemates maintain sobriety.
Marcus now knows that when he really focuses on a goal, he can succeed and inspire others. He’s committed to fostering resilience in his peers and within the recovery community, through service.

CalWORKS Phoenix SKILLS Program:Success Stories


“Nicole”, a single mother of one adult and two young children, entered the Bonita House CalWORKS program in 2021. She presented with high levels of depression and defeatist thought patterns, a result of multiple adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which created a major mental health barrier to her outlook. Although Nicole enjoyed stable housing, she struggled with getting out of the house and doing the bare minimum each day. This contributed to her pessimistic attitude, and not being able to do more became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The CalWORKs team helped her overcome these challenges, re-directing her on her educational goals, and using strength-based approaches to remove her perceived barriers and gain hope for the future. Our mental health professionals and vocational support, coupled with her willingness to engage in support groups, helped Nicole develop a better outlook, and inspired her to
stay focused and become proactive in her quest to achieve her educational goals.

Nicole has now earned her CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) certification through the Salvation Army Quest program and works part-time. Her depression symptoms are considerably reduced, and she has rebuilt her self-esteem. Currently, she is studying for
her upcoming state exams, and acclimating to becoming a contributing member of society, as she writes a new chapter in her life.


“Dawn” has been with the Bonita House CalWORKS Phoenix Skills program since April 2022 and has had great success in moving towards self-sufficiency.

Dawn came to the program at a point in her life where she was dealing with the remnants of leaving a toxic relationship, wanting better for herself and her children. She immediately engaged with our Employment Empowerment group, and began to identify
career interests and develop work goals. She has had workforce experience, owning a couple of different businesses with her former husband, handling the administrative duties and keeping the business running smoothly

Unfortunately, when her marriage ended, so did the business partnership. Her ex began ongoing harassment that Dawn endured, while trying to separate herself from him and become independent. Dawn was determined to have and maintain her independence. She secured her own housing, and acquired gainful employment with the Alameda County Cohort 8:
CalWORKs Public Service Trainee Program, which increased her motivation to begin therapy to help maintain a positive mindset and motivation to continue working. Despite continued threats from her ex-husband, Dawn is now in a much better place.
She started her own part-time business in the food industry, selling dinner plates to save money and better support her family, advancing toward her goal of self-sufficiency.

Scroll to Top