Orlando’s personality is a unique combination of gratitude, humility and competitiveness. This intriguing collection of character traits was formed over many years of growth and development. For Orlando, these traits are best exemplified in how he approaches his favorite hobby, competitive running.
He began running competitively in 2012 after he joined the Marc CR Wellness Center where he was first introduced to the value and importance of fitness and physical wellness. This occurred while he was living in one of Marc CR’s residential housing programs. Over the past several years Orlando has competed in nearly a dozen running competitions beginning with a couple 5K runs in 2012, the 2013 Walk and Row Competition, the Graffiti Run in 2014, the 2015 Warrior Dash Obstacle Course, and two more 5K runs this year.
What makes these events even more important is that Orlando dedicates his participation in each of these events to someone who has touched his life and inspired him in his recovery journey. For example, he dedicated this year’s Warrior’s Dash Obstacle Course to an employee at the Marc CR Wellness Center who he says has supported and encouraged him for quite some time. He says he finds that he competes more intensely when, “I’m running for someone who means a lot to me”.
The same was true when he dedicated his participation in the spring 2014 Kickball Tournament of Champions to his kickball coach, another individual who inspired and motivated him early on in his recovery journey. Orlando was a team captain for that Marc CR squad and, oh, by the way, Marc CR took home the championship trophy that day!
Orlando has managed to apply his competitive spirit and determination toward achieving a number of goals that have greatly enhanced his recovery journey. Last year he successfully graduated from Marc CR’s State Certified Peer Support Training Program and was soon thereafter hired as a wellness coach at the very same Marc CR Wellness Center where his passion for fitness and physical wellness was first sparked.
Yet another of Orlando’s passions is creating art. Since 2008 he’s been in involved with the PSA Behavioral Health Art Awakenings Program where he works toward empowerment and recovery through creative expression. Orlando recently graduated from the “art studios program” and now actually rents gallery space at the Art Awakenings “Warehouse Studio” which is a space that provides artists who have graduated from the program the opportunity to develop their artistic skills and maintain wellness at a more independent level of self-sufficiency and also display and sell their artwork.
Nowadays Orlando divides his time between working as a Marc CR wellness coach, creating art projects at his gallery space at Art Awakenings, and as a student at Phoenix College where he is taking art classes. His ultimate dream is to someday work as a professional artist. Looks like Orlando is well on his way to making his dream a reality.