USA National Clubhouse Conference

By: Richard Lovato and Terry Harrison

Two staff and one member recently attended the USA National Clubhouse Conference held in Arlington VA just across from Washington D.C.. Leif Oldert (Alliance House Executive Director), Terry Harrison (Staff of Alliance House) and Richard Lovato (Alliance House Member) all attended this training from September 18th-20th 2016.

Richard and Terry were asked to assist with presentation of two workshops at this conference; one on Transitional Employment and one on Supported Education. Our focus for the Transitional Employment presentation was on partnering with the greater community and on drawing from a wide variety of employment opportunities within the clubhouse area community. This is important to ensure members have access to as many employment positions as possible. We also shared the importance of Transitional Employment being a stepping stone to future employment both supported and independent.

Our presentation on Supported Education focused on the importance of following International Clubhouse Standard 25 which states “The Clubhouse assist members to further their vocational and educational goals, by helping them take advantage of opportunities in the community.” We emphasized the importance that education within the Clubhouse is not to create classes per se; it is to facilitate a connection between members and outside vocational and educational resources.

It was an awesome experience for us to attend and participate in. We were fortunate to also attend other workshops and learn from other clubhouse representatives of ways for our own Clubhouse to assist members with greater opportunities for their personal growth.  We attended one on assisting members to become more self-sufficient and to work towards independence from the benefits cycle. It was impressive to explore these options more fully understanding that there are those who are in need of governmental benefits. In the opening Plenary we heard from Governor Paul LePage Governor of Maine who is a great advocate and participant with the Transitional Employment Program within Clubhouse,  his community and state. He stressed that we need to reach out and work with our own legislators in our states to increase understanding and opportunity. Governor LePage stressed “Legislators work for us, we do not for them.”

We want to thank Alliance House and the International Clubhouse Community for the support and opportunity to attend and participate is such a wonderful event.

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