Clubhouse Member Gains Transitional Employment!

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(Seacoast Pathways, a program of Granite Pathways, is a mental health recovery peer community in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.)

Cheers! Hats in the air! Time to celebrate! The Clubhouse has its first Transitional Employment Program employee in Lauren Hoepp!

Transitional Employment is a keystone in the non-clinical recovery process promoted by Seacoast Pathways. Rooted in the mid 1940s and early 1950s when social worker and psychologist John Beard became the first Director of a Clubhouse in New York and promoted employment for its members, TE (Transitional Employment) is an effective and supportive path back to work for members.

Why is it called Transitional Employment? For many members with mental health issues, returning to employment after a mental health break or episode can be quite challenging. The TE program at Seacoast Pathways partners with an area business to employ a member part time for a period of 6-9 months. There is an understanding and agreement that the Clubhouse will supply a part time employee from its membership to the business, providing ongoing support to the employed member. Training is provided for the job to both the member and staff of the clubhouse (or other interested Clubhouse members.) If the employed member is unable to continue the work for a period, someone else will fill in until he or she is ready to return to work. When the TE period of employment ends for Lauren she has options and the Clubhouse will follow the standards for TE laid out by Clubhouse International which includes, "The Clubhouse should demonstrate a substantial, organized effort to help members secure and sustain jobs without time limits." As the arrangement with the business is ongoing, the Clubhouse will hope to re-fill the position with a new Clubhouse member going forward. It's only possible through the generous understanding and support of the business that this program is possible.

In this case, that business is Attrezzi, a well-known Italian food and gift store in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. Lauren will be working four hours per week with a competitive salary, knowing she is being supported by both Attrezzi and Seacoast Pathways in her efforts to return to work. She will be working in the food sampling area, preparing morsels of garlic laden and olive oil infused treats and bread and cheese for shoppers of fine Italian cuisine. This will require her knowledge of certain foods as well as the careful preparation of them. Knowing Lauren, she will make friends very fast with shoppers and help Atrezzi boost those sales. Last year a group of Clubhouse members and staff visited Attrezzi for the first time and were warmly welcomed. It is a family-owned establishment exuding hospitality.

While conventional thinking might say that employment comes only after recovery, pioneer John Beard felt otherwise. His theory claimed that employment (or work in any manner) was a part of the recovery process, giving someone the opportunity to contribute to a business or organization, earn a paycheck, feel appreciated and make friends at work as dignity is restored.

We're proud of Lauren for taking such a monumental step and look forward to supporting her on her path back to employment. We gratefully acknowledge Attrezzi's support, too!

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