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Community News
Clubhouse Member Describes Her Journey Forward
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 14 page 14-14

June Sams responded with a one-word answer when asked for the secret of Providence House's success.

"Empowerment," she said.

Sams went on to describe her own experience with the clubhouse. "I was very depressed and spent a lot of time sitting at home in my bathrobe." She didn't want to go to a day-hospital program and was reluctant at first when a social worker at a local hospital suggested Providence House.

"My husband told me, `Your insecurities are showing,'" she said.

But Sams soon undertook progressively more difficult responsibilities at the clubhouse. She began with the daily newsletter and recently was asked to compile the monthly and annual reports that document use and activities at the clubhouse. A self-described "computerphobic" upon her arrival, she now fills in spreadsheets.

Sams also contributes in ways that express her creative nature and interest in different cultures. She reenacts historical figures at various holidays throughout the year at Horizon House events and is a member of the organization's Cultural Diversity Council.

"You learn how to live and go forward," she said. "You learn how to live with your problems."

Sams emphasized that those lessons apply to everyone, not only to clubhouse members. She participates in the NAMI Walk each year to make a public statement that people with mental illness look like everyone else.

After two years at Providence House and a period in a supported-education program, Sams is ready to go forward. Her goal is to get a full-time job as a peer specialist at Horizon House.

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