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Clubhouse Victories in the Year of the Pandemic
June 1, 2021

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Clubhouse International is celebrating some of the many Clubhouse victories throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for more Clubhouse Victory stories! Visit our Mental Health Awareness web page to learn more!

Click on the links below to jump quickly to each Clubhouse Victories story:

Victory Story #1: Sally and Howard Levin Clubhouse, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, USA

“We are so proud of our colleagues who have stepped up to leadership roles despite the many challenges associated with social distancing and new technologies. We are also grateful to be a part of a community that is willing to educate itself, discuss, and recognize its role in social justice issues.”

“I like the garden (shown above right) at the Clubhouse because I like plants and flowers. I like taking care of them also and watching them grow.” – Clubhouse member, Laura Hodes

Victory Story #2: Magnolia Clubhouse, Cleveland Ohio, USA

Culinary Unit Members, Magnolia Clubhouse

“In over a year of contending with a worldwide pandemic, Magnolia Clubhouse, is proud to say our community thrived and developed new ways to stay connected. We continued to support over 100 people in employment and we continued to serve people in person at our Clinic. We also continued to have creative digital news shows, Zoom work, and creative digital cooking together. We established Clubhouse Ohio, our state Clubhouse coalition, and we are working with the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services on having more Clubhouse for more people who live with mental illness!”

Victory Story #3: Haabersti Klubimaja, Estonia

At the beginning, most members and staff of Haabersti Klubimaja in Estonia had to learn how to use Skype on their smartphones, but since then, they have had success running their Clubhouse via Skype and Facebook.

Clubhouse Director, Mari, said ‘The sense of community is very strong and motivating.’ It helped as they found creative ways to continue to prepare lunch together, albeit virtually, and developed a reading club. They also started a Russian language training in collaboration with Russia House, established a Young Adult program, and have a flourishing garden. The Clubhouse reach out program has been effective in connecting with all members on a regular basis. Overall, the Clubhouse has seen an uptick in attendance and in unit meetings (conducted in Estonian and in Russian).

Clubhouse member, Toomas, who lives with his elderly mother has had to be extra careful. He has continued to study English and participate in meetings, newsletter editorial and social activities all from his home. Luckily, he is working as a janitor at his own apartment building so he can continue to carry out his duties.

Throughout this difficult time, members and staff have remained connected and they believe that the challenges have only made them a stronger and smarter Clubhouse community.

Victory Story #4: Circle City Clubhouse, Indiana, USA

“I am most proud of how our Clubhouse just kept moving forward and everyone worked together to keep us connected” remarked Clubhouse member, Chuck who is pictured here during the Circle City Clubhouse’s six-year anniversary celebration!

“We are proud of the fact we just kept going in the midst of a global pandemic. We have been able to make progress on our building renovations, which included taking up carpet and painting walls. As a community we’ve been able to stay connected by doing work-ordered day tasks and activities via Zoom and providing meals and goodie bags via mobile outreach and maintaining contact with our community.” Clubhouse Executive Director, Jay Brubaker

Victory Story #5: Alliance House, Utah, USA

“I met best friends and people I could look up to. I felt that I missed out during Covid because of how parts of the Clubhouse were shut down, but we made special effort to reach out by doing cards and phone calls”.

Trudy M. an Alliance House member pictured here at work in the Clubhouse.

Victory Story #6: Prelude Clubhouse, Plano, Texas, USA

Congratulations to Prelude Clubhouse, TX, USA! It’s a new Clubhouse that just received its first Clubhouse International Accreditation!

The Prelude community has many reasons to celebrate despite the challenges of COVID-19. Two employed members received promotions at their Supported and Independent Employment positions and the Clubhouse secured two additional Transitional Employment placements. With vaccinations now available, the Clubhouse is scheduling appointments and providing transportation so that all members can be vaccinated, and they have safely enjoyed a couple of social events, including roller-skating.

Congrats to the Prelude community. You are a shining example of perseverance and dedication to helping people living with mental illness on their path to recovery.

Victory Story #7: Capital Clubhouse, Washington, D.C., USA

“We are proud of the fact that we are still meeting and the pandemic didn’t change that. We have been able to expand membership and operation hours even during the pandemic (40% higher daily attendance and 100% increase in operation hours from February 2020 to February 2021).” Clubhouse Director, Maria Nuñez

“I am thankful to Clubhouse for helping me dismantle my mental illness. For all the people who want to join Clubhouse – it does work.” – Stanley

Pictured here is Clubhouse member, Julian, learning how to use his loaner tablet to join Clubhouse! On the screen is a Capital Clubhouse meeting in action.

Victory Story #8: Potential Place, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Potential Place is proud of how we were able to step up and support members during COVID. We have been able to provide food hampers and essential services to members throughout the pandemic, and we were able to quickly transition to virtual services and provide consistent remote support. Potential Place is now a new and exciting hybrid Clubhouse, with both in-person and virtual programming to make things as easily accessible and safe for our members as possible.

“I’m proud to be a part of an organization that has accepted me, supported me & encouraged me to come out every day. Staff have been dedicated and go above and beyond.” – Michael H.

“Potential Place has maintained a welcoming & loving atmosphere, despite the challenges of COVID and has been able to stay open to members since June 2020.” – Jessica W.

Victory Story #9: B’More Clubhouse, Maryland, USA

At B’More Clubhouse, MD, USA we’re most proud of the creative ways we have stayed connected. We developed a virtual work-ordered day that parallels our in-building operation through daily meetings, menu planning, mindfulness, reachout etc. We also sent art to supplies to members, organized food delivery and did reachout visits, all to make sure we were able to maintain some sort of structure, and we’re proud to say we have been successful! We are now operating with a hybrid model and in our brand new building!

Pictured here are members, Jeanae, Dee, Greg, Tavone, Abraham, Ben and staff in their new building.

Here’s what they have to say about Clubhouse:
Greg T.: “The atmosphere is very positive, the staff go out of their way to help you. We all help each other and the staff is very unselfish.”

Tavone l: “You can develop friendship with staff and members.”

Abraham M.: “B’More Clubhouse helped me get enrolled in Baltimore City Community College and also helped me get a new cellphone. You can develop friendship with members and staff.”

Jeanae: “The Clubhouse is family oriented. We work as a team. We always find time to have fun.”

Ben: “I like the support system there and the fact that I am able to use what I know to help with Clubhouse work. I show up with my laptop, ready to help every day. Just today, I assisted another colleague in showing her how to connect an Android tablet to our video conference calls. When it comes down to the support system-My dad passed away and now they are assisting me in moving out of the apartment I shared with him to an apartment closer to the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse allows people to help and support each other.”

Victory Story #10: HERO HOUSE NW, Washington, USA which includes Seattle Clubhouse and Everett Clubhouses

Seattle Clubhouse: “As COVID approached we all pulled together as a community and created our virtual clubhouse program. It was a huge success! Members attended faithfully and came up with great suggestions for keeping the virtual clubhouse vibrant. . . . We were generally a constant presence for people in our community that they could depend on for any needs. While COVID devastated us all in very different ways, our community kept us hopeful and gave a place to turn to mitigate isolation.”

Quote from Everett Clubhouse member: “My words alone cannot express the value I find in the Clubhouse. I got tea on the first day I visited and I became a member that very day, and felt accepted by the staff; she was very supportive and did indeed help me to feel welcome. Never before have I been part of such a community. It is unique.”

Victory Story #11: Infinite Horizons Clubhouse Startup group, Connecticut, USA

“We are a group of eight dedicated people working to bring an accredited Clubhouse to an area in Connecticut least served by this model of mental health recovery. We are busy fundraising in order to hire an Executive Director, rent a place for Infinite Horizons Clubhouse and begin providing the trademark support emblematic of Clubhouse International. We are committed to this journey after observing the incredible growth and healing of a family member who was able to return to a life of employment, friends, independence and competence after becoming a Clubhouse member.” ~Board Chair, Francie Stier, pictured here with fellow Board members.

Victory Story #12: Yahara House, Wisconsin, USA

Even though we couldn’t get together in the Clubhouse during COVID, Yahara House colleagues were able to connect on zoom throughout the pandemic. House meetings, department meetings, committees, rec events and other Clubhouse work all went to zoom. While we are now beginning to open the house to a few members per department for scheduled shifts to maintain COVID guidelines, we are continuing to utilize zoom so that colleagues can still access Clubhouse from the safety of their homes.

We wanted to celebrate the end of winter and create an opportunity for colleagues to gather together in-person, outdoors. Colleagues worked together to create a catfish snow sculpture because Yahara means ‘catfish’. This was one of the first events of 2021 and it was great to be able to gather for the first time in person after many months apart. Many thanks to award winning snow sculptor, Jim Malkowski, for working with us! The snow sculpture was featured in the news media and was an exciting way to spread the word about Clubhouse! 

“It feels great to be working in cafe again even though we can’t serve meals because of COVID we can still fill and deliver food boxes.” -Brent 

“This is my second family. I feel grateful to have found Yahara House.” – Kathy J.
Many thanks from Yahara House!

Victory Story #13: Academy at Glengary, Florida, USA

We at the Academy at Glengary are proud that our staff and members did not miss a beat when developing a hybrid program (onsite and virtual) during COVID. We are fortunate to be part of Clubhouse International, which guided us in adapting our services and helping members stay focused on their recovery.

“Thanks to the Academy at Glengary, my new adventure in life is my new job at Publix!” – Chantel pictured here at work

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