Matt sat down with Member Elmer about joining Clubhouse, his thoughts on the community, and what he dreams about for himself and for Clubhouse.
Matt: How long have you been a member and how did you find out about Clubhouse?
Elmer: About 3 and a half months. My EIA worker told me about Clubhouse, and my roommate said “why don’t you go for it? It will give you a couple hours off and it will give me a break and give us some space." My worker Kayla brought me here to meet Dan we got a free tour and meal. It was an awesome lunch. He said “Would you like to be a member? Once you’re a member you’re a member for life.”
M: What have you enjoyed most about our work-oriented programs?
E: Doing the cooking. I get to do different activites with Helen and Kelcey – I chop carrots, green peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I even get to stir pudding or pies. When I’m there I like to yeehaw at Kelcey. Helen gives me compliments, Kelcey gives me compliments. It’s awesome to work there. I enjoy it because I use to work in the kitchen with my mom when she brought me up. She had her own business of running a hotel that had a restaurant. When I was 10 or 11, she said “baby, you’re gonna learn to work the main floor.” I said I was too young, but she said nonsense. People would come through and say “Hi Elmer! You’re working!” In the kitchen I learned to make fast food – fries, cheeseburgers, onion rings, that kind of thing. Back then it was awesome. M: What does it mean to thrive for you and how is Clubhouse a part of it?
E: I try to meet my goals. I would like to work somewhere, to graduate to being a head honcho at a restaurant or help run the business. Working here is a lot of fun. I enjoy coming and seeing the people. I like getting compliments and seeing big smiles, being welcomed as a family. As far my emotional and mental health, Clubhouse is a family. I come here day to day to work hand in hand with people. I’m a giving person, but I don’t want people to take advantage of that. People here, they’re not like that. People who are mentally ill come for health and to meet their goals. I come here to give myself confidence and have courage.
They say you have a kid in your heart. That’s what I focus on.
M: What do you dream for Clubhouse?
E: The staff are wonderful, but I would love if we got a barbeque donated to us. I’d love to work with the food and help with a barbeque in the back lot. Making hamburger, smushing it all up, seasoning it, onions and garlic powder. That’s what I would enjoy. I’m also interested in planting beautiful flowers around Clubhouse. Once I get in the garden, like oh my god you should see. I’m creative. I put this there, that there. Grow nice fresh vegetables, have a big long fence so nothing can steal it. I have a good time. Learning the flowers and the vegetables makes me happy and reminds me of how I grew up. I miss those memories. They say you have a kid in your heart. That’s what I focus on. Well, I gotta kid in my heart, so I should act like a kid. Get my hands dirt, get into mud. And then wash my clothes (laughs).