We welcomed colleagues from Palm Beach County
When Kristina Baker and Melissa George reached out to us to learn more about the Clubhouse model, we were happy to help. No strangers to mental health recovery programs-both women play instrumental roles with Mental Health America of Palm Beach County, a local chapter of the national organization. Kristina is their Recovery and Resiliency Director and Melissa is the Program Coordinator of Peer Place, a peer support and wellness program that operates within the larger program.
Kristina and Melissa are part of an initiative to convert Peer Place into an accredited Clubhouse. They have already become affiliated with Clubhouse International, and we are excited to welcome them as our newest colleagues of the Florida Clubhouse Coalition. Their visit provided a broad orientation that we hope will serve as a foundation for Clubhouse International’s more rigorous three-week colleague training. They immersed in all of our teams, visited a Transitional Employment site, meeting member Rebecca Wolfson and seeing her in action. They met individually with some members to learn about their experiences in the Clubhouse and on their jobs. We shared the 37 International Standards for Clubhouse Programs to add context for why we do what we do. Both women shared that they were “overwhelmed in a good way” by all that they learned. Of course, knowledge was not the only excess. It is likely no coincidence that their visit coincided with our legendary breakfast buffet!
When Kristina and Melissa left us this morning, they were all smiles and virtual hugs. No longer visitors, they are now part of our Clubhouse family. While their heads may be spinning with information overload, we hope that they felt the warmth of our culture. Underneath the steady current of our busy days, there is a beating heart that is the true defining character of the Academy. We wish them success in building toward their own vision of empathic recovery.