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Congratulations, Lighthouse! Clubhouse celebrates successful open house

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

Lighthouse, a VIABILITY clubhouse, honored and celebrated Mental Health Awareness Month on May 22 with an open house. Roughly 100 people attended the event, which offered tours of the facility at 1401 State St. in Springfield, Massachusetts, and presentations by several speakers.

Guests and members mingle May 22 at the Lighthouse open house in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Lighthouse is one of VIABILITY’s six clubhouses located throughout the state. The mission of the program is to support individuals living with the effects of mental illness. Clubhouse staff and peers aid each other in pursuits to find and attain work, permanent housing, education, and feel comfortable in social situations. Clubhouses are officially recognized by Clubhouse International Accreditation and CARF International. Formerly known as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, CARF provides recognition to health and human services.

“The reason they do the accreditation is to make sure we’re doing the best and most current support for people who need our services, and we’re providing great programs and services to help in their recovery,” said VIABILITY President/CEO Dick Venne.

Several members shared their experiences with Lighthouse and the benefits they have gained from participating in the clubhouse culture. Santa P. spoke about the on-going support she has received while attending American International College and the 3.67 grade point average she currently holds. Darlene H., read from a speech she wrote about her illiteracy before coming to Lighthouse.

“I’m honored to be part of Lighthouse. I want to thank staff and members for all your support,” Darlene said. “I may have stumbled over some words [in this speech], but a year ago, I could not read them at all.”

Longtime member Robert F. expressed how Lighthouse allowed him to open up and break out of his proverbial shell. He felt empowered to try new things and look for work despite having a physical disability that required dialysis and a double transplant.

Mike M., the event’s photographer and a member, said Lighthouse gave him the support to start his own business, and mentioned he is reportedly the first one to do so. Despite challenges and tough days, he doesn’t give up and continually strives to do his best.

“Lighthouse has helped me immeasurably,” Mike said. “When you think of how many people are pulling for you here and how they want you to succeed, it’s not a reason to quit.”

22News WWLP covered the event. To see the broadcast, visit wwlp.com/news/local-news/hampden-county/springfield-organization-providing-support-for-those-dealing-with-mental-illness/2019356703

Leading up to the event, Toni and Robert were featured on the May 20 episode of Mass Appeal. To see their segment, go to wwlp.com/mass-appeal/learn-about-lighthouse-clubhouse-at-the-spring-open-house/2014422426

For more information about Lighthouse, call Toni Bator at 413-736-8974, or go to facebook.com/viabilityocks/