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Melissa Guerra, Case Manager

In her role as Case Manager, Guerra is responsible for coordinating and supervising services for LifeHouse Group’s clients. Guerra consults with her clients to develop individual plans to obtain healthcare, housing, and employment services. Guerra is also responsible for overseeing LifeHouse Group’s workforce development program that helps residents develop skills relevant in today’s job market. Prior to joining LifeHouse Group, Guerra worked for more that fifteen years as a Case Manager helping families establish specific goals for their children to be successful in school . Guerra has an associate degree in Child Development from Olive-Harvey College. She is fluent in Spanish and a native Chicagoan. She enjoys helping people to help themselves, working to ensure that her clients have a deep appreciation of their own self-worth.

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William Temple, Case Manager

In his role as Case Manager, Temple is responsible for coordinating and supervising LifeHouse Group residents who still involved with the criminal justice system. He works closely with treatment providers, court officials, health officials, and probation officers to ensure that his clients comply with their probation requirements and treatment plans. A significant portion of Temple’s duties involve overseeing the individual treatment plans created for his clients as part of their participation in alternative drug or mental health court programs. He also facilitates several different community groups with goals pertaining to sober living, such as goal setting, relapse prevention and open discussions about issues of concern to residents. Temple believes that one of LifeHouse Group’s greatest organizational strengths is that it provides everyone with the opportunity to make the changes necessary to live a successful life in sobriety. Currently, Temple is enrolled in classes to obtain certification as a National Certified Recovery Specialist, to deepen his understanding of addiction and be of further assistance to his clients.

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Erik Jackson, House Manager

In his role as House Manager, Jackson is responsible for the operations and activities at LifeHouse Residential Services. Jackson welcomes new clients by reviewing program and house rules, assigns household chores to residents, ensures residents’ rooms are kept clean, reminds residents to respect and maintain common areas, and monitors activities to make sure that house rules are followed, reporting any unusual behavior or potential areas of conflict among residents to the management team. Jackson also facilitates House Meetings and Life Skills Groups at LifeHouse Residential Services, and he conducts social and cultural activities to promote sobriety and awareness about substance abuse. Jackson is pursuing several certifications, including Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS), Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS), and National Certified Recovery Specialist (NCRS), and he uses his life experiences, combined with the skills and knowledge he is gaining from the certification process, as a Peer Leader during programs for LifeHouse Group clients.

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Ernest Jenkins, Employment Coordinator and Outreach Consultant

In his role as Employment Coordinator and Outreach Consultant, Jenkins coordinates with employers, employment agencies, and other organizations to promote the job skills of LifeHouse Group’s residents. He is responsible for developing and fostering relationships with employers to assist LifeHouse Group in providing its clients with employment opportunities that are instrumental to a successful recovery. Similarly, he seeks and creates connections with organizations that provide additional resources to LifeHouse clients, such as clothing and food donations, and external educational opportunities. Jenkins is a key player in supporting LifeHouse Group as it works to expand its connections with employers across multiple employment sectors. He also plays an important role in providing timely and accurate internal communications to LifeHouse Group’s clients, including maintaining a weekly calendar of activities, promoting upcoming events and programs, and highlighting important individual achievements. Because Jenkins shares a similar background to many of LifeHouse Group’s clients, he understands the internal resolve required to rebuild a life. Jenkins loves his work and takes it very seriously because he is aware that having a meaningful career pathway is essential to a rewarding future. He derives great satisfaction in watching LifeHouse Group clients, who arrive with little or no resources, begin to work their recovery program, and gradually develop the skills to lead fully independent lives.

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David Berkey, Recovery Coach

In his role as a Recovery Coach, Berkey facilitates conversations and group sessions with LifeHouse Group clients to help them achieve their self-stated independent recovery goals. He serves as an example of sober living to individuals who are transitioning from incarceration, homelessness, or treatment programs. He also directs clients to available resources, including internal and external support groups and services. As a member of the LifeHouse Recovery Group team, Berkey monitors residents’ behavior, contributes to decisions regarding treatment plans, and reports unusual incidents. He facilitates a weekly peer group to help residents understand the actions they need to take for a successful recovery. Berkey recognizes that people who are catering to their addictions have lost agency over their lives. His work as a Recovery Coach is informed by his twenty years of experience as a peer mentor for online mental health groups. Apart from his coaching work, Berkey’s responsibilities include performing clerical work to keep office operations running smoothly. He is in the process of obtaining his license as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) remnants and treatment plans. A significant portion of Temple’s duties involve overseeing the individual treatment plans created for his clients as part of their participation in alternative drug or mental health court programs. He also facilitates several different community groups with goals pertaining to sober living, such as goal setting, relapse prevention and open discussions about issues of concern to residents. Temple believes that one of LifeHouse Group’s greatest organizational strengths is that it provides everyone with the opportunity to make the changes necessary to live a successful life in sobriety. Currently, Temple is enrolled in classes to obtain certification as a National Certified Recovery Specialist, to deepen his understanding of addiction and be of further assistance to his clients.

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Michael Echols, Recovery Coach

In his role as a Recovery Coach, Echols facilitates conversations and group sessions with clients to help them achieve their self-stated individual recovery goals. He serves as an example of sober living to individuals who are transitioning from incarceration, homelessness, or treatment programs. He also directs clients to available resources, including internal and external support groups and services. As a member of the LifeHouse Recovery Group team, Echols monitors residents’ behavior, contributes to decisions regarding treatment plans, and reports unusual incidents. Echols has been a Recovery Coach and Peer Leader for eight months. He runs a group on Saturdays that focuses on life goals to help residents learn to cope with difficult life events without turning to alcohol or drugs. Echols derives personal satisfaction from connecting with others who have faced struggles like his own. Because of his life experiences, Echols approaches his work in a non-judgmental fashion. He remains unfazed and supportive of all LifeHouse Group’s clients regardless of their past actions or experiences. He is in the process of obtaining his license as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC).

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David Starks, Head Custodian

In his role as Head Custodian, Starks is responsible for ensuring that LifeHouse Group’s buildings and exterior campus remain attractive, safe, and sanitary. He consults with executive staff and the Facility Maintenance Manager to schedule, plan and prioritize custodial activities to achieve site maintenance goals. LifeHouse Group’s residential clients share responsibilities to keep living areas clean and tidy. Starks inspects and directs residents in the upkeep of these shared living spaces. Starks works to make certain that the “home” aspect of LifeHouse Group Recovery Home has as much importance as providing exceptional recovery services. In addition to his full-time duties as Head Custodian, Starks works as a driver for  Fresh Start Movers, located in Chicago. Fresh Start Movers provides commercial and residential moving services to the greater Chicago area and beyond, and the company consistently receives five-star reviews from its clients. In 2021, Fresh Start Movers and LifeHouse Group formed a limited partnership, in which LifeHouse Group owns a portion of Fresh Start Movers, to provide residents with training, job and career paths. Fresh Start’s website, http://www.fsmchicago.com/, contains additional information on its services.

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