My name is Danny and I would like to share my story with you.
Within the field of community mental health there is nothing out there like the Clubhouse Model or Stepping Stone. The Clubhouse model has revolutionised how we can enable people with mental illness to live full and meaningful lives.
For me Stepping Stone has helped me give the confidence to pursue my own dreams. It has also helped me to live life in the moment and at the same time help advance the lives of my peers. My Stepping Stone story began about 15 years. I came into Clubhouse reluctantly with little expectations. Pleasantly, I was surprised and my expectations were surpassed. This was the place that I had been looking for.
As a new member I found things were kept simple. I volunteered in the administration unit. I found that working hard gave me a distraction from my problems and gave me confidence in my own capabilities. To start with I was doing simple things like typing up minutes for meetings, calling members who we hadn’t seen recently and running meetings. I was too busy to schedule time to worry about my problems. After a short time as a member I had started to form friendships and social opportunities opened up.
The work opportunities at Clubhouse are not limited to simple mundane activities. I have a say in how the Clubhouse is run, help manage the website and help to write funding applications. The Clubhouse is deliberately designed so that it cannot run without the input of the members. Staff are forced to reach out to members to help run the Clubhouse. After all the Clubhouse is owned by the members and run for the benefit of members.
Stepping Stone has been a launching pad for me. It has launched me back into the game of life. Since becoming a member of Stepping Stone I have achieved many things.
This includes completing a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree, representing Stepping Stone at the 1st Asian Clubhouse Conference in Hong Kong and attending training base meetings at Fountain House, New York. I have also assisted other Clubhouses development through being involved in post-site visits to Tapestry Clubhouse, Pioneer Clubhouse and Diamond Clubhouse. Through my involvement in the Clubhouse I have also made lifelong friends.
Clubhouse is all about being in the now. And all I’m focused on right now is my next step which is to gain employment in a job I enjoy. I don’t know how it will go but I know I am going to give it my best shot. Life isn’t perfect but you try to make the best of whatever situation you are given. Clubhouse has helped give me confidence that has helped me unlock the potential that was always within me.