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CLUBHOUSE IS A SHINING BEACON

Members raise plants in their own greenhouse. ().
Members raise plants in their own greenhouse. ().

GOLD BEACH The M.I.N.D.S Clubhouse in Gold Beach is a shining beacon in the minds and hearts of its members.

Moving In New Directions (M.I.N.D.S) is a two-story clubhouse, complete with kitchen, computer room, library and greenhouse, that provides human services for consumers in the mental health care system.

The clubhouse is run by both consumers and staff, said Mitch King, the community support program manager. Its a place where they can come and feel safe to work in areas they want to improve on.

Beverly Hall, clubhouse specialist II, said the purpose is to allow club members to become productive in the community. This doesnt necessarily mean having jobs, but we need members to run the clubhouse, she said.

At the clubhouse the staff and members work side-by-side and in this manner you develop friendships. We learn from each other. If a problem arises, the staff tries to help a member find as many ways as possible to handle the problem, but the final decision is left up to the member.

The clubhouse is open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. and members are encouraged to become involved in cooking, computers, gardening and an outreach program to educate the public about mental illness.

The group has two vans for field trips, including a wheelchair lift, a stove for cooking and a kiln for ceramics.

Members enter their crafts in art fairs around town, including the Bash on the Bay in Gold Beach and Art in the Park in Buffington Park. M.I.N.D.S also sponsors and maintains a section of Highway 101 north of Thomas Creek bridge.

We take field trips depending on what the group wants to do, said Hall. Sometimes well take a large group to Crescent City for dinner and a movie, or short field trips to the bowling alley, historical sites such as lighthouses, or picnic lunches up the river when its foggy.

Hall explains that an invaluable key to the clubs success is the encouragement and support the members receive from one another.

If a new member appears to be on drugs or alcohol, fellow members will try to encourage them to stop. You cant buy that sort of support, Hall said.

One member was always bringing food to the clubhouse. Another member urged her to enter in the Curry County Fair, and she won a blue ribbon.

M.I.N.D.S is an offshoot from the Fountain House, founded in New York City, and there are similar clubhouses all over the world, Hall said.

Australia and Ireland are the leaders in the clubhouse movement, but the U.S. is lagging behind, Hall said. Mental health patients were let go by the health care system (in the U.S.) and we needed to do something with them. But in order to be a success we have to have the financial backing. We have to sell the commissioners in Curry County on the idea that this (is a worthwhile program).

Club members are quick to support the programs success.

Its the most wonderful place to be a part of. Im very fortunate, said club member, Terri Lehman.

The clubhouse has enabled me to do things that I never thought I would ever do, said member Leif Lefebre. I feel that because of the help Ive received, I have a bright future. Im glad to be a part of the M.I.N.D.S Clubhouse and that theres hope for everybody.

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