duncBy: Duncan Macdonald

The Clubhouse assist members to reach their vocational and educational goals by helping them take advantage of educational opportunities in the community. When the Clubhouse also provides an in house educational program, it significantly utilizes the teaching and tutoring skills of members.

This standard is very important especially considering that mental illness typically strikes during high school and college years. Members need the opportunity to finish their education and obtain their employment goals. I have been personally fortunate to assist with both as a student and tutoring. As a student I experienced both the highs and the lows of going to college with mental illness and the support I needed from members and staff. I had days where everything was going well and I could give energetic reports. Still other days were met with challenges where absolutely nothing appeared to go right. On those days I would come into Alliance House and there was always a friendly and supportive member or staff willing to sit with me and work through the challenges. The staff would assist me with stress reduction by getting me to assist with projects and Clubhouse work as well as getting me to lighten up by bantering back and forth. This was truly beneficial to me and has given me the empathy to be able to understand others and the challenges they face with their education. I really like to see the Aha moments when a student realizes they are getting a concept.

I highly encourage all members to take the opportunity to work towards finishing their education and also to tutor if they so desire and have the skills necessary.

By |2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00November 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on STANDARD #25

Member Stories

rachelle-photo-blogLife After Death — By H. Rachelle Graham

The pain inside me used to eat me from the inside out, as if boiling water scorched my skin to third-degree burns. Breathing was difficult. Eating was impossible.  Sleeping was something I could not do. I was out of my mind and couldn’t even recognize my own parents. I thought they were evil spirits chasing me. My ups and downs resulted in me staying at home all day watching marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson Creek and One Tree Hill.   I got lost in a world where everything wasn’t hurting, I also lost track of time and hated my life so badly I tried to kill myself age twenty. At the time, I wasn’t happy I survived the doctor pumping my stomach and recharging my heart. I believed they had wasted their time. Although, as I saw the pain and worry in my parents and sisters eyes a part of me knew they needed me in this world so I had to learn how to survive in it. I started Alliance House in 2011. I recognized the pain disappearing slowly as I was put to work both in a transitional employment and at the clubhouse.  My transitional employment was with Camp Bow Wow, working with dogs. I liked it and enjoyed being able to bring my service dog to play with other small animals like her. The biggest shock came when something else started happening. I thought I was sick. I went to my therapist to see what was wrong with me. When I described my symptoms of calmness, a bubbling inside and the need to sing, write and dance again, I thought I was going through another maniac state, but my therapist asked me other questions. My answers were I was sleeping again, dreaming again and feeling the urge to eat again. Instead of staying in bed all day, I jumped out of bed to go see my new friends at the clubhouse, go to work and finally got my life back. She said I wasn’t experiencing mania, I was feeling happy, something that had become foreign to me over time since being diagnosed at the age of twenty. Hospital stays became non-existent and I haven’t tried to hurt myself since 2011. Since then, I had a successful job for two years as a peer specialist where I could in turn help others deal with their mental illness, published two novels starting in 2012, graduated college with a bachelor’s degree and am currently working on a third novel with a writing coach and a New York City literary agent. If I ever make real money, I would donate to the Alliance House because they are one of the main reasons the days are lighter, that I am writing again and that I not only love myself but have the ability to help and love others.

By |2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00October 27th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Standard of the Season

By Dunc Macdonald

This season’s standard is number nine: “Clubhouse staff are sufficient to engage the membership, yet few enough to make carrying out their responsibilities impossible without member involvement.”

I feel that this standard is one of those where we need to think about the intent of the standard rather than the word-by-word meaning.  The real intent is to ensure that members feel needed wanted and expected.   I love how that happens for so many members on a day-by-day basis.  For me, it’s doing the paper daily as well as accounting tasks for the Clubhouse.

I know that the standard talks about having the staff engage the members but in truth it should also be the older members and members that are around for meetings to include the new members and the stragglers that miss the meetings.  Whenever possible, I will ask for help with some parts of the paper daily.   I feel that every member can help the Clubhouse in some capacity.

This standard is also about allowing members to find their calling by trying out new projects with colleagues that have experience in that area of the day-by-day operation.  I wouldn’t of been reminded of my interest in accounting without the opportunities of reconciling the Clubhouse checkbook and other accounting projects around Alliance House.

I hope that this article enlightened you about this standard and that you will take this message to heart.

By |2016-11-03T22:11:30+00:00September 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Standard of the Season

Cheers and Challenges – Remembering Taddese Wilson


Taddese, we will miss you.

By Duncan Macdonald & Amber Mackay

For this edition, we’re going to take a break from our standard process and instead we’re going to do a tribute to our good friend and long-time member, Taddese Wilson, who recently passed away.

Some memories from Duncan: “I always thought it was funny how whenever we did a project together, we would have to take turns asking each other “What?”  Taddese was also an excellent challenger to play Poker and Rummikub with.   It was entertaining how he would always put the Rummikub tiles in reverse order  on the table.  Also, Taddese constantly wore his sunglasses even inside.  He, also, loved checking lockers for the CD Unit. “

Some memories from Amber:  “Taddese and I started Alliance House around the same time which was over 10 years ago.  He came to the Clubhouse literally every day unless he was in the hospital.  Taddese liked to use his training as an engineer to help the Clubhouse out.  He was very good at math, so naturally we would encourage him to tutor students and also to work on completing our statistics.  He overcame a lot of physical health problems by determining to change his lifestyle.  When he first started he smoked but he worked hard to overcome that habit and for the last eight or so years of his life he didn’t smoke.  He also told us one day that he was diagnosed with diabetes but he didn’t want to have to take insulin so he chose to implement a regular diet and exercise plan to keep his diabetes in check.  Taddese was a very private person and didn’t share a lot about himself with us but he never had a problem with trying to learn about others and become their friends.  He did a great job of welcoming new members into the Clubhouse and befriending them so they would feel comfortable.  It has been very strange to not see him every day and to be greeted by his beautiful smile.  We will miss him at Alliance House and are lucky to have been able to share a piece of his life with him.”


By |2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00July 27th, 2016|Front page, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Cheers and Challenges – Remembering Taddese Wilson

Expressive Lines – Member Haiku


Damp confusion,

Dance; get soaked.

Heart torn amidst you.


by Nicole



Cute Girl,

Squeaking out loudly

Feeling out her love


by Betsy



Tasty, Fulfilling

Satisfying to Delight

Seeing the life’s future


by Karl



Day 4

Relentlessly pounding headache

Frustrated, paranoid, exhausted, tired


by Hayley


Salt Lake

Two guns

Aimed at head (mine)

Both scare me dreadfully


by Girard

By |2016-07-27T22:19:34+00:00June 13th, 2016|Literary Magazine, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Expressive Lines – Member Haiku