Member Spotlight: Fresh Start Clubhouse
Fresh Start Clubhouse is more than a program or a social service. Fresh Start is a community, intentionally designed as an environment for adult residents of Washtenaw County with severe and persistent mental illness to develop self-efficacy and resiliency in their struggle to recover their lives and participate in society. Fresh Start is based on the Fountain House model of psychosocial rehabilitation where members provide mutual support and encouragement to celebrate accomplishments and regain self-confidence. Members of Fresh Start move beyond their illness by focusing on strengths, talents, and abilities rather than symptoms. The organization and operation of Fresh Start is shared by members and staff on a side-by-side basis; all work of the Clubhouse is meaningful and necessary. The work-ordered-day is the core of the Clubhouse program, in which members voluntarily participate in work which is divided into two units of responsibility-the Culinary Unit, and the Cooperative Unit.
Recently, Fresh Start Clubhouse was awarded accreditation through their governing body, the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD), a symbol of quality, and a clear demonstration of a Clubhouse’s commitment to excellence. Out of 44 Clubhouses in Michigan, Fresh Start is proud to be one of only five with accreditation status. Fresh Start and its auspice agency, Touchstone Services, Inc. have also been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), demonstrating a commitment to being one of the best psychosocial rehabilitation programs available.
Fresh Start Clubhouse’s motivation to join the A2Y Chamber was fueled by their mutual interest in facilitating education and advocacy for the Washtenaw County community as a whole. In an effort to continue to advocate for their member’s recovery, Fresh Start has an employment program that is one of the most successful vocational rehabilitation programs in today’s community mental health systems. Because of the unique nature of the many integrated services provided at Fresh Start, they are always able to meet members where they are in their life’s journey. Employment continues to be an often expressed priority for people living with serious mental illness, although the unemployment rate among this group is generally over 80%. Fresh Start is actively looking for community employers to partner with to reduce this rate, and it is their belief that the Chamber can help to this end. Fresh Start is also seeking community leaders to join their Advisory Board to help them continue providing top tier services to their members.
The staff and members at Fresh Start Clubhouse would love the opportunity to introduce themselves to the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti community and present their overall program, as well as employment program. In the meantime, if you are a like-minded community employer or community leader interested in providing meaningful employment opportunities or expertise to their Advisory Board, please don’t hesitate to contact Rose Schulist, Director, or Aaron Cook, Vocational Coordinator at (734) 929-9992. They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, respectively.