Sarah’s Story

If a year ago you told Sarah Barrell that today she’d be a valued member of the staff at an iconic local restaurant, chances are she might not have believed you. Back then, Sarah, who is served by Alternatives’ North County Mental Health Services, had lost confidence struggling with her illness. “It became hard to remember what I was good at.”

Sarah Barrell, right, with Blue Moon Diner owner Jaime Floyd.

Working at Gardner’s Blue Moon Diner has allowed Sarah to regain that confidence. When she first started at the Diner, her role was in the back, doing dishes and preparing food. Over time she began to take on new responsibilities. Each step of the way was a journey in proving to herself that she’s capable.

What’s been key to her success? Sarah feels it’s the honest relationship she has built with Diner owner Jaime Floyd and, in turn, the accepting environment Jaime has fostered. Today, Sarah is trained across the restaurant, working up front on the grill, serving customers, and even managing the Diner if Jaime is not there. Clearly there are lots of things that Sarah is good at.

And like any diner, you can bet Blue Moon has its “regulars” – a community that now includes Sarah.