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Welcoming Colleagues from Clubhouse Fern in West Palm Beach

Welcoming Colleagues from Clubhouse Fern in West Palm Beach

Fern Clubhouse seeks advice on new programs and invigorates our work-ordered day.

Academy members and staff gathered this morning to send off our visiting colleagues from one of the newer clubhouses, eight-month-old Clubhouse Fern in West Palm Beach. Employment Specialist Darly Adams and Culinary Coordinator Melinda Durant joined us for two days to gather inspiration and ideas from our Academy community. As Clubhouse Fern ventures to begin their employment program, our colleagues met with some of our working members, toured transitional and supported employment worksites, and spent time with Academy Transitional Employment placement managers, to get our version of “best practices.”

Darly and Melinda were both clearly excited to be here, and their enthusiasm made the visit all the more fun for us. Members like Candy El-Azzaoui and Jason Sulimay were drawn to their energy and, despite the short visit, spent quality time getting to know them. It’s a blessing for us to host colleagues, as it provides us with an opportunity to review and explain our own protocols. This takes us out of “auto-pilot” and serves to remind us of how and why we developed as we have.

Our colleagues had a rare opportunity to meet with Clubhouse International COO, Jack Yatsko. Jack Zoomed in from Hawaii to share his wealth of knowledge about clubhouse philosophy. He was so generous with his time and provided them with an abundance of fundamental “big picture” information as well as creative and inspirational ideas to consider. By the time they left Sarasota, they had a lot to think about!

When we waved goodbye, we felt like we were bidding farewell to old friends. West Palm Beach is only a day’s drive away, so we think a return a visit is definitely in our future. As they asked us great questions and took copious notes, we reminded them that our best practices are just one way of doing things. We trust that they will take what works for them, toss what doesn’t serve them, and create new and imaginative ways of creating their own unique culture. We are excited to see what they become!

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