WHO WE ARE
Coming together to create a new home in Georgia for positive mental health outcomes
Clubhouse Atlanta was founded by Susie Kyle and Bill McClung in 2018. After years of personal experience with family member struggling with Mental Illness and through their involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, they learned more about Mental Illness and concluded that a personalized approach to care in a community-based setting was a largely effective way to help one achieve their recovery. It is their belief that those living with a Mental Illness can and should have the opportunity to reach their full potential in a Friendly, Inviting and Productive environment.
They set out to learn about the various models of recovery and after hearing Clubhouse International COO, Jack Yatsko, speak at the local NAMI Conference, they were convinced that the Clubhouse model, which today has 327 locations in 27 different countries, was right one for their loved ones and others in similar situations. Susie and Bill set out to learn everything about the Clubhouse Model and together with a group of twelve others, visited Gateway House in Greenville, SC., one of twelve international training bases operated by Clubhouse International for the New Clubhouse Development Training.
At training, they observed nearly 100 Clubhouse members working side-by-side with Clubhouse staff in what is called the “Work-Ordered-Day”, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), evidence-based practice. The group participated in a beehive of activities and in doing so, observed their enthusiasm and self-confidence in what one of the group members called “MIRACULOUS”.
From that point forward, they were determined to create the first standards-based Clubhouse in the state of Georgia. Clubhouse Atlanta incorporated, was approved as a nonprofit and began the process of telling their story, seeking support, raising money, and finding our Clubhouse location. These tasks have led to numerous meetings, encouragement, discouragement and finally securing the support needed to move forward.
A strong foundation was laid, but now the three most important things were needed. A Clubhouse location; An Executive Director; and most importantly, the Members. A wonderful relationship with St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dunwoody was developed, where today, we have at thriving Clubhouse. Thanks to the strong relationships built during the exploratory phase, the group was connected with Freddy Morello, an experienced Clubhouse Director with over a decade of extensive Clubhouse International experience. His experience included spending 7 plus years at Fountain House and as an International Faculty member with Clubhouse International, who was brought on as a consultant and eventually as the Executive Director of Clubhouse Atlanta.
The Program Director, Cassandra Archer along with Program Specialist, Sarah Edwards is now hard at work developing the Clubhouse and working towards strengthening programming as well as providing a safe space for those at all phases of their recovery. The Clubhouse has an active group of sixty plus, diverse members, who attend the Clubhouse on a regular basis. There is a thriving Work-Ordered-Day and a growing Wellness Unit and Transitional Employment Program. Although there is still plenty of work to do, our foundation is STRONG!!!
Clubhouse Atlanta is a place that is providing its members with a respectful space where they can come to work on their goals while feeling Wanted, Needed and RESPECTED!!!