The San Antonio Clubhouse: Empowerment through meaningful work
Grants have made up 34 percent of overall spending in 2012 at MHM. Through Community Grants we are able to provide ongoing support for agencies addressing: access to care; dental and oral health; obesity and diabetes prevention; health education and promotion; mental and behavioral health services; public health policy and research; spirituality; and the health professional shortage.
Offering mental and behavioral health services, The San Antonio Clubhouse, became an MHM funded partner in 2005. The Clubhouse, one of 300 worldwide, is ICCD accredited. ICCD Clubhouses are founded on the realization that recovery from serious mental illness must involve the whole person in a vital and culturally sensitive community. Since its founding in 2003, The San Antonio Clubhouse has provided hope and recovery for people living with mental illness.
The Clubhouse offers its members an opportunity to build essential life skills through a variety of responsibilities. Members design and operate onsite services, obtain empowerment through skill building and education, and work to gain independent employment through the Transitional Employment program − all in a self-sustaining environment, operating without state or federal funding.
Members and staff work together, as equals, to perform a variety of tasks necessary to the daily operation of The Clubhouse. In the Business Unit, members are exposed to office computer systems, newsletter production, accounting, data entry, and receptionist duties. In the Culinary Unit, where the kitchen and snack bar operate, members collaborate to perform cashiering duties and budgeting, meal planning and preparation, and grocery shopping.
Wellness at The Clubhouse has become an especially important initiative for its members. The wellness program has three distinct areas of focus: nutrition, education, and exercise. Collectively, members decided to adopt a menu and snack bar offerings around a healthy eating model. Unlike typical snack bars, members replaced sodas, candy bars and chips with water, healthy drinks, fresh fruit and fruit smoothies, and other healthy snacks. Meals offered at The Clubhouse are low-cost; currently, breakfast and lunch are free for members. For many members, this is their most nutritious meal of the day; for some it is their only meal of the day.
The Clubhouse is equipped with a 2,000 square foot exercise room where yoga, pilates, dance and other exercise classes are held. Weekly client-led workshops are also conducted in this area to include meditation, diabetes management, proper nutrition, smoking cessation, weight control, and medication management.
The Clubhouse’s impact can be measured through its members’ success stories: “I got sick twenty years ago. I’ve been in lots of other programs, at least twelve others. Out of all of them, The Clubhouse has helped me the most. In other programs, they treat me like a patient. I’m reminded over and over that I am sick. Here, at The Clubhouse, I am treated like a person. They don’t baby me. I like to interact with people, and help out cooking and cleaning the kitchen. I come almost every day.” – Tom, The San Antonio Clubhouse Member
In June, The Clubhouse relocated to its new home at 445 Recoleta Road in San Antonio, Texas. Originally located in the Travis Park United Methodist Church, and later moving to a historical residential home on N. Alamo Street, their new 7,200 square foot building increased The Clubhouse’s capacity to serve members with the ability to hold 120 members at any given time from the previous 30-member limit.
As an official welcome to their new home, The San Antonio Clubhouse will host a Housewarming Party on Friday, October 26, 2012 from 5:30p.m. to 8:30p.m, with a short program at 7:00p.m. There is no charge to attend; however, ‘housewarming gifts’ in the form of monetary donations are welcomed. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about The Clubhouse, meet its members, and tour the facility. A silent auction will be held along with an art showcase of work composed by Clubhouse members. For more information about the Housewarming Party, contact Linda Zimmerhanzel at email@example.com.
Membership is open to men and women ages 18 and older who have a diagnosis of mental illness and a referral from a qualified mental health professional.
Currently, The San Antonio Clubhouse serves over 400 enrolled members.
To date, MHM has provided $1,195,800 in funding to support The San Antonio Clubhouse.