In my niche article, I discussed taking time to do Clubhouse work between my TEs and going to school. What I was doing was becoming a member-leader which I thought would make me happy. This task was accomplished by gaining a more in-depth knowledge of the Clubhouse Model. This process started well before I went to school and continues to this day.
Before I go any further, I must explain a little bit about myself. I have a mild case of Cerebral Palsy which created a speech impediment and hand-eye coordination issues. I also have a habit of talking too fast. I continually work on these challenges.
From the first day I joined Alliance House, I jumped right into the work-ordered day. The work-ordered day simulates a normal scheduled work day. My first task was working on billing where I helped my friend, Kent, track members’ hours in the Clubhouse. I also worked with a staff member, Sue, on the Clubhouse’s statistics where I realized that I still had an interest in working around numbers. One day while doing these tasks, our Executive Director, Jon Paulding, asked me into his office and had me help him reconcile the Clubhouse’s checkbook by making sure that we weren’t overspending on services, confirming that the account numbers and the amounts were accurate. This is something that I took ownership of. This friendship resulted in Jon asking me to co-lead a meeting and I realized that doing this was so fun for me that I kept on leading meetings more and more. I ended up reconciling the checkbook with all the following directors and helped with meetings as well. As well, I wanted to learn more about the Clubhouse Model so I started attending Culture Trainings where in-depth discussions were held around how and why Clubhouse works so well. These discussions led to my realization that the real reason behind the Clubhouse work is to turn every members’ talents into a contribution to the Clubhouse and/or a job in the workforce. Some members like to sit and watch or just socialize.
By late 2007, I was bored with what I was doing at the Clubhouse and needed a change but didn’t know what until I took a short course around advocating for yourself. This class helped me to figure out what I needed to take care of my needs for a change. I didn’t know how to do this until my brother graduated from college. I realized then it was time for me to go to college, so I came home and started getting ready to go to school in the Accounting Clerk Program at Salt Lake Community College in February 2008. I didn’t realize how much of a challenge I had gotten into but I figured “in for a penny, in for a pound.” My first two classes were excellent examples of this. One was a Ten-Key course which was a special type of calculator and the other was keyboarding. My hand-eye coordination issues made these classes difficult but I muddled through. I had some really fun classes as well like Excel and PowerPoint. I also made new friends that helped me with some of my classes and helped me to grow and realize that it takes all kinds of people to make the world work. I had a good friend in her mid-sixties who was taking a different course. I finished my course in February 2010.
With my new knowledge, I found more interesting projects to help the Clubhouse with. I started by convincing our director that we needed to upgrade our computers from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2007. I also started tutoring members in Math, History and Computers. My new favorite task became working with the development director with recording and tracking the Clubhouse’s donations. All of this was good, but I needed something to get me away from the Clubhouse. In July 2011 Bill Rice started a new business and needed a bookkeeper. He offered that position to me and it gave me an opportunity to utilize my accounting skills. This also gave me a break from the Clubhouse and added to my financial resources. I could quench my thirst for something besides the Clubhouse. I learned more about QuickBooks, Excel and emailing etiquette.
I am now using these skills in a new capacity. This knowledge combined with my ability around teaching others what I already know and completed the member-leader equation for me.