Earl Evangelista

Earl Evangelista

Coordinator Family Support Services

What is your job role at Family Service Association (FSA)?

I am the Coordinator for the Family Support Services Program. This program is a community based therapeutic mentoring program. Staff in this program meet with clients in the homes and community to help them practice and build on the life skills they are learning in therapy.

If you had to give a 2-minute elevator speech on what you do every day, what would you say?

I basically do my best to ensure the program runs as efficiently as possible. I am often in contact with team members talking about the clients, their needs, and possible resources available to them. We brainstorm about creative ways staff can help the client build on their life skills in their homes and community. This might mean volunteering, playing games with peers or family, or planning on how to be as independent as possible. As therapists make referrals to the program I meet with clients and their families to educate them on the supports and services the program can provide. I also do all the hiring and staff training for the program.

What is the best part of working in the mental health field?

The best part of working in the mental health field (and also my favorite part of my job) is hearing about the success stories that the client achieves in their natural environment. When some think about mental health services they think about therapeutic meetings that happen in offices or hospitals. When I think of this program I think of the therapeutic mentoring and skill building that happens in the client’s community or home. Sometimes clients are building skills and not even realizing it. For example, staff may bring a client to a park and encourage them to interact with other kids. That staff might be role modeling communication skills; they might be encouraging the client to practice coping skills; the staff might be helping the client build their self-esteem by developing healthy relationships with their peers. For older clients, staff might be helping the client talk about and plan their future. This may mean building on interview skills for successful job interviews or building on coping skills use to maintain a job once they are hired. Thinking about the future could mean going to college, attending a vocational program, or even joining the military. Staff might be helping the client obtain the information needed to be successful in their program.

Who has had the most influence on your work career?

When I think about people that have influenced my work career I always think about Dr. Kirk first. Dr. Kirk was one of my professors in graduate school. He would often talk about an imaginary backpack we carry in different life situations. In that imaginary backpack we carry the skills we think we need to be successful. Sometimes that backpack gets full; sometimes it doesn’t have the skills we need for a situation. It’s okay to get rid of clutter or learn new skills to put into the backpack. The hope is to be as prepared as possible, but acknowledge that we cannot possibly carry every single skill needed for every situation at all times.

What is your favorite quote?

“Do something, do anything, just don’t do nothing”. By Unknown.

If you could meet someone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I would love to have a chat with Barack Obama. I’d like to talk with him about his thoughts of where we are as a nation and his thoughts of the State of Illinois.

People would be surprised if they knew I ...

I am an active member of the Freemasons .

If you could pick a superpower what would it be?

Teleportation. I love experiencing different cultures and foods, but I hate traveling. I think it would be great if I could teleport to Scotland, hang out for a day, and teleport back before work in the morning.

Favorite Food?

My favorite food is Sinigang. It’s a Filipino soup that can be made with various meats and vegetables. Of course, I think my mom’s recipe is the best version.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

This is a hard question for me on account of my Filipino background. What some people call weird, I call breakfast. I ate a bug once (on accident). That was weird.

What is the most interesting place that you've visited?

Honolulu, Hawaii. I remember it being a land of opposites. It was both very touristy and around the corner was a small close knit community. I liked learning about how the culture was actually a blend of several different cultures.

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