2019 Success Story: Volunteer Guardian Program

Marcus is a student, brother, son, and unforgettable individual.  He became involved in the Volunteer Guardian Program as an emergency case through the Lake County Probate Court after the death of his mother.  Relatives attempted to care for Marcus after her death, but his needs exceeded their abilities.  Teachers were assisting Marcus with obtaining basic needs items such as clothing, medication, food, and hygiene products.  Marcus had become lost in the “shuffle” and it was evident that he needed someone to advocate for him and connect him with formal services for both short and long term needs.

When Marcus became a ward under the Lifeline Volunteer Guardian Program, Program Manager Antoinette Foster, stepped in immediately to assess his needs.  Marcus had spent many nights wandering the streets unsupervised and due to his mental health and developmental delay diagnoses, his safety was at risk.  Antoinette worked to secure housing with an extended relative and began the next morning speaking with teachers about his situation. 

Kristin Oriani, an Intervention Specialist at Harvey High School in Painesville, had been doing her best to provide his basic needs within the school environment.

 “Once Marcus was assigned a guardian, his quality of life improved tremendously. He is now living with an extended family member, he has a bed to sleep in, access to clean clothes, regular meals and routine medications,” Oriani said. 

His guardian understood that Marcus was unable to make decisions for his health and safety long term and he was enrolled in programming that supported his mental health and cognitive care. 

“Without the support and services provided through Lifeline’s Volunteer Guardian Program, this student’s outcome would be drastically different. Lifeline has provided accesses to tools that will help him thrive into adulthood,” Oriani said.  

Marcus is one of many community members who are unable to make decisions that positively affect their health and safety and the Volunteer Guardian Program allows for the stabilization of community members like these.

 “With positive supports in place and collaboration with the Lake County Probate Court wards can live successful lives and improve their quality of life,” said Foster.