Yesterday, in my Psychology class, I attended a presentation on the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville, Maine. The name is certainly accurate as it definitely raised my hopes about different opportunities given in Maine.
Clubhouses follow international standards. They consist of minimum staff and members- individuals with mental illnesses that decide on their own to seek these services. They are completely run by their members. The staff and members work together as co-workers. They help with the taking care of the house, meal preparation, paying bills, doing paperwork, giving orientations, etc. All the tasks in the home are meaningful.
The Clubhouse's main goal is to help their members return to work or even get their first job ever! Yet, they don't push it if their members are not ready to be in a social environment. It's completely each individual's decision to decide when they are ready. The Clubhouse helps their members attain employment, the staff trains on the job so they can teach the members before they start. The staff will guarantee the employer to cover the member's spot if they needed to be hospitalized. The Clubhouse also offers after-work-hours social meetings and parties. They help with transportation to work. They help with housing. After the seminar I felt almost like there wasn't anything they wouldn't offer!
There are actually two Clubhouses in Maine right now- the other is in Augusta and is called the Capitol Clubhouse.