(This blog is from the Summer of 2016.)
My name is Connor Hile and I am a rising junior majoring in Neuroscience. I am one of the four individuals interning at Threshold Clubhouse for the summer. Threshold is a Clubhouse dedicated to assisting adult individuals suffering from serious mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. The primary goal of the Clubhouse is to prevent members from returning to the hospital, help the members gain the necessary life skills to sustain independence, and assist the members in obtaining part-time employment to foster a healthy lifestyle.
During the first week, we rotated between the Clerical, Employment and Development, Kitchen, and Snack Bar units. These units are comprised of multiple tasks meant to improve the efficiency of the unit as well as help the members gain basic lifestyle skills. During these rotations, one of my lifestyle aspects that seemed to improve were my cooking abilities. However, cooking success at Threshold did not translate to cooking success in my apartment as I failed to properly make Hamburger Helper. Nonetheless, my favorite unit (and the unit I will focus on these final three weeks) turned out to be Employment and Development. In this unit, the goal is to assist the members in obtaining part-time to full-time employment. This is my favorite unit because to me, this is the bridge which disintegrates the “Threshold Bubble” and gives the members true independence and a sense of normalcy.
For the next three weeks, I (as well as Stella and Carolyn) will be leading mini-lectures with each week having a theme. These themes include budgeting skills, employment skills, and technology skills. Each of these lectures will last approximately 15-20 minutes and will be followed by related activities. The goal of these mini-lectures is to engage the members in practical skills which could be applied to the work place.
The most surprising aspect of Threshold so far has been the kindness and patience of not only the staff members but as well as the members themselves. Everyone truly cares about each other, and the entire Clubhouse feels like a family. I did not expect other members and staff members to look after and care for one another so much which is something you do not experience in many places and is something I will not forget once my six weeks are over.