Local Realtor, Joe Gorczyca grew up in a large family in St. Louis, Missouri. Although many of his relatives struggled with mental illness, they were always a very loving family.
“Being part of a family with special needs was one of the things that formed who I am,” he said. “I grew up with a strong awareness of caregiving.”
Even though he was still playing an active role in caring for some of his family members, Gorczyca got a degree in Computer Science and landed a job with Conoco in Houston, TX, where he relocated and raised his family.
He later served as VP, Global HR for BMC Software and built a successful career in the Houston area. But as he contemplated plans for the future, he knew that he wanted to give back with his time and money.
His faith had always played a huge part in his life and career, and as he studied Mark 12:30 (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength), he knew God had big plans for his second act.
“As a member of Second Baptist Church of Houston, I facilitate and lead a support group for individuals who are dealing with depression and anxiety,” Gorczyca said. “That’s something I do to help in reaching out to others who don’t have somebody to talk to or don’t know where to get help.”
He said it is especially important that the individuals who come to the support group get a Christian perspective because it’s a true foundation for those dealing with mental illness.
Because of his family history and work with those at the church, Gorczyca also authored a book called “Brain Pain,” that tells the story of his family’s history and offers ways to understand and cope with the challenges of mental disorders.
“I wanted to write the book to say that people need to talk about this and seek help,” he said. “I want to remove the stigma attached to mental illness.”
He is also actively involved in raising awareness, especially amongst his extended family. His five grown children and seven grandchildren all live in the Houston area, along with several of his nieces and nephews. He wants them to be educated on mental disorders so they can be supportive of family members with special needs.
Joe equips others by offering the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Phillipians 4:13).
“That’s been very helpful to people who ask, ‘what’s God say that can help me?’” he said.
Along with his work supporting others who are struggling with mental illness, Joe also works as a Realtor, helping those who are making major life changes.
“People buying or a selling a home are often looking to move because of a major life change or a family need,” he said. “Once I help them with this process, I donate a portion of the money to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Greater Houston.”
Gorczyca said God places families in his path, both through his work with his support groups and in his real estate career that can benefit the most from his experiences and expertise.
“I recently shared with a [client] about my work with the mental health support groups and that it was something really special to me,” he said. “The client said, ‘you are a God send.’”
The man explained to Joe that his brother was struggling with mental illness and was no longer able to live on his own and would be moving to an assisted living facility. That meant he needed to sell his home quickly.
“He asked if I could help him, and I said, absolutely. This would be very special to me to help you out,” he said.
Along with his wife, who runs a successful home-staging business, Gorczyca was able to help the family ready the home for a sale.
“I listed the house and got five offers in one day,” he said. “They were able to accept one of the offers and will be closing very soon. It was such a phenomenal situation of God putting me in the right place at the right time for this family.”
The Realtor has also been able to continue his support of family members who still struggle with mental health issues. He has served as a guardian for two of his siblings and is working to establish a trust to make sure they are taken care of even after he is no longer here.
“It’s interesting because, despite all of the challenges, the issues my family has faced have actually brought us closer together in a very loving way,” he said.
Gorczyca wants others who are struggling to know that they are not alone and that if they need help, they should reach out to a friend or family member.
“Don’t try to do it alone,” he said. “First turn to God, then tell somebody and get some help. No matter what’s going on, there’s always hope.”
Joe is so confident in his message of hope that he wants others to reach out and tell him their stories. Readers can reach him at Joe_Gorczyca@yahoo.com (email), call 281-814-8934 or access his website at JAG-Realtor.com.