The board of directors for the Summit County Clubhouse has hired its first executive director and plans to open the clubhouse for business early next month. KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher has more on the efforts to provide this new launching pad for people with a history of mental illness.
Amber MacKay is a social service worker with 16 years of experience in mental health. She has served as Associate Director at Alliance House, a clubhouse Salt Lake for more than 5 years and is thrilled to take on new challenges in Summit County.
“I actually come from a clubhouse that has been around since the 1980s in Salt Lake City and for the last year I’ve been working with some amazingly passionate residents of Summit County to start a clubhouse up in Summit County and then I was recruited by them.” MacKay explained. “So, I'm up here starting the first clubhouse in Summit County. I've been with the prior clubhouse which was Alliance House in Salt Lake City for the last 13 1/2 years and so it's a pretty big leap in a pretty big change but it's really, really exciting.”
The idea of Clubhouse is new to Summit County, but has been around for years, worldwide…
The Clubhouse model has actually been around since the late 40s,” MacKay said. “It started in New York City and has expanded internationally now to 330 clubhouses in 32 countries around the world. But a clubhouse is and what it does is it's really an opportunity center for adults that have a history of mental illness to regain their self- worth, their purpose, confidence, hope, through vocational skills, social skills, educational skills, of community, a sense of belonging people that understand what their experiencing, and it's a really positive environment for adults with a history of mental illness.”
The clubhouse is located on the 2nd floor of the Christian Center in a conference room. Right now, they’re looking for more members. She thinks they will eventually want to find their own permanent location.
The Clubhouse will open August 5th at 10 a.m. Anyone with a friend or family member - or therapists who have clients - that may benefit and learn, are welcome to come by.
“We do need to do a referral process, but that process is really simple,” MacKay said. “The best thing to do is just to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go into our website summitcountyclubhouse.org for more information.”
The initial hours of the Clubhouse will be Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2p p.m. and on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We will be focusing on literally how to run the clubhouse how to work in partnership with one another,” MacKay said. “We will be making a lunch and just get it get going. We're working on the infrastructure of the clubhouse and the members that come that's what they're going to be doing - they're going to be helping to literally run a nonprofit organization so it's a really cool opportunity for them to learn those skills.”
Members are equal partners and have a say in everything they do – everything from deciding what the logo looks like to what they eat for lunch or where they go on field trips.
Given the space, they can take up to 17 members but no one she says will be turned away. Members can come and go as they like.
A public opening will happen in the near future – once the members have had a chance to plan it.