When Frank Kulesa began volunteering in June this year, he never imagined that the experience would open his eyes to a new plan for what he wanted to achieve in life. Kulesa, a graduate student at Old Dominion, had been studying psychology, namely the pathology of mental illness, and was preparing for a life in clinical research. He didn’t know it yet, but the summer would change his life forever.
Beginning in June, Kulesa volunteered as a Computer Facilitator at the Computer Learning Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Working with individuals living with mental illnesses, his job was that of student assistant. As the students worked on training modules in Typing, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the Internet, Kulesa stood by offering encouragement and ready to help where needed.
Kulesa volunteered every week in June, July, and August and at the end of that period, he understood that individuals living with serious mental illnesses are not so different from you and me. He also realized that psychology is about so much more than just the pathology of mental illnesses; “Seeing the growth of the students as they encountered the challenge of learning how to use a computer and the pride and confidence that emerged when they successfully completed a module or learned a new IT skill was amazing. It made me want to be part of helping others living with mental illness to achieve that kind of success too.”
Although Kulesa had to leave at the end of August to continue his studies at Old Dominion, he shared this thought with Pathway Homes, “I’m not entirely sure where I want to go after I earn my M.S.W., but I know I want to work with an organization like Pathway Homes.”
Our heartfelt thanks go to Frank and the other volunteers at the Computer Training Center and throughout Pathway Homes whose tireless and generous contribution of time and talents go a long way to help us fulfill our mission every day. Thank you!