More than 150 community leaders and supporters toured the new home of Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida at the Nov. 8 grand opening.
Beach residents Kathryne "Kappy" King, Hope Clubhouse Board member, and her husband John S. King purchased the 2,800-square-foot facility at 3602 Broadway Ave. Many of the renovations were paid for with a Community Development Block grant awarded through the Lee County Commission.
Executive Director Debra Webb presented the Kings and Lee County Human Services Director Ann Arnall with plaques to be displayed in Hope Clubhouse commemorating their contributions.
"We would not have this facility to help rehabilitate those living with mental illness without the generosity of Kappy and John King and the support of Lee County government," said Hope Clubhouse Executive Director Debra Webb.
The Kings purchased the building for Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida in December for $175,000.
"This has been a dream of ours to be able to help people in our area living with mental illness. If this clubhouse had been available when our children were in the initial stages of mental illness, it would have been such a blessing," Kappy King said. "We're so happy to be able to give a contribution to help. It will make a huge impact in our area and encourage others to give."
The facility has undergone major renovations during the past few months paid for by grants from the Ned & Claiborne Foulds Foundation, SENnetwork SENergy Project, The Rotary Club of Fort Myers, The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, The Kiwanis Club Gateway to the Islands, in addition to the Community Development Block Grant awarded by the Lee County Commission.
The renovations include a full culinary unit for meal preparation and dining; snack bar for snacks, coffee and drinks; a business unit with computer stations for data entry, newsletters, grant applications and other clerical work; bank area for budgeting, cost analysis and financing; and office space for other administrative functions, all handled by members of Hope Clubhouse.
Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida is a model of rehabilitation for people living with severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and clinical depression. Hope Clubhouse opened its doors in March, 2010, and has 80 members. Hope Clubhouse, the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida, fills a significant gap in the mental health system by offering opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring and dignified community setting.
Hope Clubhouse is one of more than 350 clubhouse programs worldwide, based on the principle that meaningful work is critical in bringing positive change to the lives of those living with mental illness. Clubhouse staff help 'members,' as they are called, to develop work skills to enable them to return to productive employment in the community.
Mental health disorders represent 5 of the top 10 leading causes of disability worldwide, amounting to nearly one-third of the disability in the world. According to the World Health Organization , one in every four people develops one or more mental disorders at some stage in life. In Lee County alone, that could be 150,000 individuals.
The problems associated with recovery for people living with mental illness are especially prevalent in Florida. According to a 2008 mental health survey completed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the state of Florida ranks 49th in the nation in the delivery of mental health services.
For more information about Hope Clubhouse, visit www.hopeclubhouse.org.