My First Impression of PPAL and Youth MOVE

handsFor me, my mental health has always been a struggle. I have what is called major mental illness, which means I am diagnosed with over five mental illnesses including schizoaffective disorder and autism spectrum disorder. I’ve been in 18 short-term mental hospitals, starting as young as 4 and as recent as age 16. I was also in Worcester State Hospital for two and a half years. While I was there, I really began to do well for the first time, and about a year and a half later I was introduced to PPAL. I remember my first day at PPAL. They were super welcoming. My first memory at PPAL was having chicken and broccoli alfredo for dinner, which is one of my favorite dishes. 

It seemed like maybe just a one-time thing, but week after week I kept going, and it wound up being a huge support for me. When Youth MOVE accepted me for my first internship in 2018, it paved the way for me to have more independence than I’d had in years. When the internship ended, it resulted in going to PPAL and doing other things independently.

PPAL has been supportive of so many milestones. These include stepping foot inside my house for the first time in three years and eventually working my way to unsupervised passes, which led to triple overnights. 

The staff and youth at PPAL are amazing. They get so excited for me — even the small things are worth celebrating. It’s just infectious. I get so much support here at Youth MOVE, but I also just have fun! PPAL, I don’t know what I’d do without all of you. The support is and will always be incredible.

by Meg Markert Parabicoli

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