As we move forward through 2021, we are kicking off a new blog series called Where are They Now?
Mat joined Vista’s residential transition program, Discover, during the summer of the pandemic. In the Discover Program, Mat engages in group and one-to-one programming to develop his independence skills and foster his personal success. Mat spoke with us about his time at Vista so far.
Mat, a Vista Discover Student
What are some of the things you wanted for your life that made you want to join the Discover Program?
At Vista, I’ve been able to work on a lot of my goals. I’ve developed my mental attitude, my medication management, and my job skills. These all help support me with my main goal: what I want to do with my life is to be a singer.
What are you proud of? How have you surprised yourself?
The biggest skill I am working on is medication management. My old program didn’t offer the same opportunities to become more independent with it. Here, I showed that I can take my medication independently because I know what it does. Then, I just need to check in with a staff member to let them know that I've taken them. I’m proud that I’ve become this independent with my meds and I am working to demonstrate that I am responsible enough to become even more independent with them.
What are some skills you have learned, and what are you still working on?
I’m still working on how to deal with my emotions and feeling frustrated or angry sometimes. My biggest coping strategy is listening to songs I like. Two of my favorite bands are Guns N' Roses and Queen.
Mat spending time in his room
What sorts of things do you do in your free time? Can you talk about your social life?
I have a few very good friends here. My friend Nick and I grew up near each other before both coming to Vista. We like to walk and tell each other jokes. I also like to watch movies, TV shows, and listen to songs. I listen to a lot of music and my favorite genres are hard rock and heavy rock. To develop my singing, I take singing lessons, practice by myself, go out for auditions and perform whenever possible. I like to perform at Vista for Day Is Done programming. When things reopen, I’m looking forward to performing at open mic nights again.
What do you do for community involvement, work, volunteering, or job development?
I’ve been participating in job development programing for the past few months where I go to group and one-on-one meetings with John Brown, one of the Job Developers. We talk about interviews, interview questions, what to wear and say at work, and things helpful for getting and having a job.
Part of my programing has been at Ventures Business Services in fulfillment by helping stock magazines. At the job site, they assess my skills and teach me things as I continue to work with a job developer. I’m excited to get a job so that I can pay for everything I need like my singing lessons. After things reopen, I will probably do another assessment at a local museum in Madison because that’s more where my employment interest lies. I’ve been a volunteer museum tour guide before and I enjoyed it because I like talking to people and educating people about subjects that interest me.
Mat (in his Guns N' Roses t-shirt) with his Program Counselor, Julie Labbadia
Do you have any programming you really like at Vista or any Vista staff you feel a strong connection with?
For programming, I like community training because you practice going out on walks in the community and getting the things you need.
I like talking to quite a few Vista staff members—Cara, Roberta, my Program Counselor, Julie. I’m in the Student Ambassador training group, and I like working with Stephanie there. I am glad I get to work with Dominic at Ventures during my job assessment too.
What does Vista mean to you?
To me, Vista is about finding my inner peace.
Are there any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I can sing in baritone and falsetto registers.
My favorite songs to cover are Disturbed's version of “The Sound of Silence” (originally sung by Simon & Garfunkel) and “November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses.
I’m hoping to make my own album one day.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Mat.
More to come!