It goes without saying that not many people have Hollywood movie roles or Calvin Klein modeling gigs on their resume, but Chad Dmytryszyn does. As a young child actor, Chad had bit roles in movies like Animal House and Sixteen Candles, and the TV hit show Miami Vice. He was also featured on a Got Milk? campaign billboard and modeled designer clothes.
Although Chad still has dreams of being a famous actor, these days he’s enjoying being involved in ABC (A Bunch of Characters) Theater Company’s production of The Miracle Worker in Braham. He is also taking some college acting classes in his free time.
Chad, who is 46, is back at home in Cambridge after living on the East and West Coasts as a child. He has struggled with mental illness for many years, and 17 years ago, a county social worker referred him to Rise for vocational services.
First honing his skills at community manufacturing sites with Rise work teams, Chad was eventually ready for competitive employment with follow-up support.
Over the years, Chad has held several different positions in local retail stores, restaurants, and businesses. His employers found him to be hard-working and quality-conscious.
In August, Chad was hired as a part-time merchandizer for Pan-O-Gold Baking Company. He stocks Country Hearth baked goods in grocery outlets in Isanti County, about an hour north of the Twin Cities metro area.
“I like the job because it’s straightforward and I work independently,” said Chad.
Through it all, Jill Johnston, a placement specialist with Rise’s Employment Innovations program in Greater Minnesota, has been a steady source of support for Chad.
“I’ve had a lot of different people helping me through ups and downs over the years,” Chad said. “But Jill has always been my ‘home base’ – someone I know I can count on and I am so thankful for her.”
Chad also receives ARMHS (Adult Mental Health Rehabilitative Services) from Rise’s Deloris Beehler who assists him with independent living skills, connecting him with local resources, and managing his symptoms.
“It has been amazing to me to watch Chad persevere, always trying and doing his best,” Jill noted. “He’s a hard worker who just keeps plugging away, through the good times and the not-good times, always striving to better himself. Chad’s an all-around good guy.”
Chad likes small-town living and hopes to do more theater work with ABC. He also enjoys working with his hands and carpentry projects. Chad hopes to return to college someday.