The search for the Clubhouse Model began in 1998 when delegates from our county-level Mental Health Office began the journey to Fountain House in New York City, the originating Clubhouse in the Clubhouse Model. After attending a training session at their training base during a colleague training, it was decided to then advocate for funding.
The plan was presented and brought upon the proper officials in our county and commonwealth and in early 2001, a Request For Proposal (RFP) was put in place to find an administrative entity for the program. It was decided effective at the beginning of the 2001-02 Fiscal Year that our present auspice agency, then known as Goodwill Industries of Pittsburgh's Fayette County Affiliate would be the designated auspice of the program.
A few months later, in October 2001, proper delegates both potential member and mental health professionals made the jorney to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the 11th International Seminar of the International Center for Clubhouse Development. This is a bi-annually meeting of Clubhouses around the world, in which a venue is operated as a gainful learning experience for a week. This to date has been the only IS that Union Station has been involved in since its genesis.
Shortly after, plans were made and the Clubhouse facility, located at 690 West Main Street in North Union Township was prepped for occupancy, which was completed on January 2, 2002. This has been known as the "Clubhouse Anniversary Date".
Later in 2002, the first colleague training group of Staff, Members and agency delegates were sent to Gateway House in Greenville, South Carolina, as this was the chosen training base for Union Station based on convience for travel and a simplistic approach.
The following year, a Breakfast was added to the Clubhouse program and later that year, a montly eat-out program was added to the social gammut. Over a decade later, this is still a favorite for members as they get to vote on a dining venue and go and enjoy a food and fellowship with their members and staff.
In 2004, our billing process was streamlined to managed care, for the most part and the cost of lunch went from $1.00 to $1.20. During the 2003 Summer, we sent another set of delagates to Gateway House for Colleague Training along with establishing our first two Transitional Employment Placements (TEP's) at our Auspice Agency's Workforce Development Center, one in the reception area and the other in the lunchroom, positions we still hold in part to this day.
2005 seen both great progress and trying times for the Clubhouse community at Union Station. In early 2005, we had our first ICCD Certification visit, and later achieved our first one-year certification. Later that year, due to increasing new programs in Fayette County, we seen declines in attendance. It was unsure that the Clubhouse model was a fit for those with mental illness in Fayette County.
In 2006, it seemed that the "newness" of the other models worn off and through progressive efforts of both members and staff alike, the Clubhouse was regenerating. Our attendance in a few months nearly doubled from the attendance rate at the beginning of the decline and near the time of this it was time for another Ceritification Visit from the ICCD, which due to the progressive efforts of the influx of both memebrs and staff, we successfully attained another 1-year Certification.
The Clubhouse Member Base grew over the next few years and was steadily growing and in 2007, we again sent delegates to Colleague Training at Gateway in Greenville, South Carolina. This was the first and only time in Union Station Clubhouse history that we sent individuals to a two-week training that was a pilot then, it is now a option to the traditional three-week training offered at the bases.
Shortly after that delegation returned, the Clubhouse went through a series of enhancements to prepare for our next certification by the ICCD in October 2008, and through the comprehensive efforts yet again by members and staff, Union Station recieved a three year conditional certification, in whch we had a year to meet the expetations defined in the certification report, which we did the followng year.
Growth continued throughout the next several years at Union Station to the point of near overcrowding. In the fall of 2013, a relocation proposal was sent to the Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania Board of Directors for a new location. After searching, it would be decided that the agency would purchase a former mental health casemanagement office in the Downtown Business District of Uniontown. This location offered more privacy for meetings and member issues as well as a commercial grade and licensed kitchen along with expanded program spaces and double the occupancy for sanitary facilites. After an almost one year renovation, we moved in to the new Clubhouse at its current location in September 2014. We had a ribbon cutting with the local Chamber of Commerce the following month and look forward to our new Clubhouse for years to come.