Bernie’s Inspiring Story of Perseverance and Giving Back

Bernie with Joanna, the Program Coordinator, at Oasis House.

When you donate to Bell’s Mental Health Services on Giving Tuesday, you are empowering people in our community by supporting Bell’s life-enriching programs and services. People like Bernie Hartlove.

Bernie freely shares the story of his journey, how his involvement with Bell has helped him navigate challenges and aspire to live his best life.

“I compare everything in life to the football I love,” he said, “It is the ultimate team sport. When an NFL player is inducted into the Hall of Fame, they always give credit, appreciation, and thanks to not just their recent teammates and coaches, but every single person along their journey who helped them achieve their success.”

“While my hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and passion for my successes belong to me, I would never be able to get to where I am today without the many people in my life along my journey, just like those football players. Even though my life has been very challenging, traumatic, and difficult, it is those along the way whose patience, love, caring, dedication, support, and willingness to stick with me no matter what have been just as critical to my success.”

“Bell and Oasis House [a Bell program certified by Clubhouse International] help to provide the structure, support, and stability I need to focus on my goals. The rest was up to me. I had to first work on getting my mental health in order and my physical health. I had to eat better, get better rest, work on my discipline, maintain my boundaries, learn to make better choices, and practice my DBT [Dialectical Behavior Therapy] skills.”

“Since I left the hospital before I entered Bell, I had a plan, and I was holding myself accountable for that plan. I had to start challenging myself, be okay with failure, and see it as a learning opportunity. I had to believe in myself that I could do it. Having the support and encouragement of Oasis House and Bell has been an important part of all of that.”

Bernie has lost weight, has support and stability, and is enrolled at HACC. As other clients see him achieve his goals, they are inspired to reach for what they want. Bernie commented, “I have always believed in giving back. For this reason, I am still always around Bell and Oasis House, with a willingness to help others.”

“Many times, my fellow clubhouse members cannot imagine or do not believe they can achieve the same things they see me doing. I am there to tell them that they absolutely can. While it has taken some time to get to where I ultimately want to be, I am always making progress. Any amount of progress is progress. We cannot change the past. However, it is what we do right now that matters.”

“My life may have been very challenging, traumatic, and difficult in the past, but I hold the pen today. I am dictating where this story goes. As long as, I continue with what I am doing today and continue to have the right structure, stability, and phenomenal support (like with Bell and Oasis House), my story will have a happy ending. Hopefully, with whatever help or inspiration I can provide others, they can find their happy ending too.”

Your gift of support on Giving Tuesday lifts up people like Bernie as they set and reach their goals, living the empowered lives they choose and deserve.