BETTER TOGETHER: GOVERNOR’S OFFICE VISITS LIGHTHOUSE
Patrick Carnevale, regional Director for the Governor’s Office, visited Lighthouse, a clubhouse of VIABILITY after a letter written by one of our members sparked Governor Baker’s interest in Lighthouse’s programs.
Mike Maloni, a member of Lighthouse and currently serving on Lighthouse’s Advisory Board, sent a letter to the Governor expressing the challenges he has faced in bettering his mental health; how Lighthouse has supported him in his journey for meaningful employment and community inclusion; and how important the programs at Lighthouse are to the broader community.
“Coming to Lighthouse just to get people excited and to get them smiling is a real attraction ... interaction with people who strive to be better because they’re at the club, it fires you up! There are people that just don’t quit in the world.”
- Mike Maloni, Lighthouse Member and Lighthouse Advisory Board
Mike came to the Lighthouse with training in photography and ambitions to start his own photography business. It had always been a dream of his, but Mike felt that his mental health would not permit it. The staff at Lighthouse reinforced that Mike’s goals were absolutely attainable and provided the encouragement he needed that this was something he would do really well with. Mike also credits the social skills he gained through interacting with the clubhouse’s staff and members, saying “I am very shy. It takes a while for me to move ahead in a conversation. The Lighthouse has
opened me up a great deal.” Mike’s talent speaks for itself; you can view his photography portfolio at https://mikemaloni.zenfolio.com/f868694738.
After receiving Mike’s letter, the Governor wanted to learn more about Lighthouse’s programs and sent Western Massachusetts Director, Patrick Carnevale, for an onsite visit. Mr. Carnevale received a member-lead tour and learned about our programs directly from the members who benefit from them. Members, clubhouse staff, and other VIABILITY staff then had the opportunity to discuss with Mr. Carnevale the importance of designing public assistance programs that allow individuals to return to work without risking housing, childcare, and other supports until they are financially self-sufficient. Before serving in his current position, Mr. Carnevale worked in the human service field for many years. He assured Lighthouse that he would continue to advocate for funding for mental health services.