An Interview with Kimberly Mitchell: Residential Manager at Promises

Posted on December 23rd, 2009

“This is the first time in my life that I actually enjoy going to work every day,” said Kimberly Mitchell, Residential Manager of Promises in West Los Angeles. “I get to move around and help people, and every day I’m inspired by the staff and the clients,” she added.

Nearly four years ago, Kimberly was working at an architectural firm and realized that her career wasn’t fulfilling to her because she wasn’t helping people in need. Her boss agreed that she needed to switch careers, so they searched for jobs together, which led her to apply for an office manager position at Promises. When she interviewed, she was recommended for a different position—a Tech (short for Rehabilitation Technician) —because she would be more hands-on with the clients. After working as a Tech for about two years, Kimberly was promoted to Residential Manager, and she now supervises a team of about 17 Techs.

“A Tech gives support and direction to the clients at all times, making sure they’re following the rules and upholding the integrity of the program,” Kimberly explained. “Techs are the eyes and ears of the clinical team, always reporting back the events of the day; they also spend the most amount of time with the clients, and they are always there to fulfill any need.”

Kimberly explained that in her role as Residential Manager, she ensures that the Techs are completing their assignments, that the clients are monitored properly during detox, and that the simple things—like having coffee available first thing in the morning—are taken care of. “Part of my role is not only managing Techs and clients but also making sure that clients are getting their needs met,” she said. “I also help the clinical team individualize treatment plans, making sure clients are getting exactly what they need.”

When asked to describe a typical day for clients, Kimberly said that clients perform morning chores, attend a meditation group, go to the gym, and attend group and individual meetings and therapy sessions, followed by a 12-step meeting and a 10-step meeting at the end of the day.

“Clients are asked to think of an intention every morning, which is a goal for the day, such as maintaining a positive attitude,” Kimberly explained. “At the end of the day in 10th-step, clients talk about how they did with their intention—did they follow through, or did they struggle? Clients talk about any resentment they felt throughout the day and write them down, and they also write a gratitude list to remind them that although they may have had a rough day, they have many things in their lives to be thankful for,” she said.

One of the things Kimberly likes most about working at Promises is the staff. “It can be scary to be a new client, but the staff is so warm and welcoming that we make the transition easier for them,” she said. “It’s also great when clients come back—for instance, we just had someone who was here as a patient three years ago apply to work for Promises. Her experience at Promises was so great that she wanted to continue to be a part of it,” she continued. “I also love the clients. I’m a recovering addict with a little over 8 years of sobriety, so I’ve been in their shoes, and I think they’re amazing.”

“We have a client who has only been here for three days, and he’s already telling people that Promises is the best place to be. When asked why, he says that whenever you turn around there’s a staff member, so your needs are always met, and that the atmosphere is amazingly warm and welcoming,” she recounted.

“It’s all about the staff; we do what we say we’re going to do,” Kimberly said when asked what makes Promises stand out from other treatment centers. “The majority of people who work here have been in similar situations as the clients, so we have a better understanding of what they’re going through,” she said.

“I don’t think there’s one person at Promises who is just here to collect a paycheck—everyone here loves what they do. It’s about helping clients get back on their feet, helping them to be children, friends, husbands, and wives again.”

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