Clubhouse Fundraiser at the U.N.
Melissa Farrell
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I attended the 4th Annual ICCD Breakfast Briefing at the United Nations on Thursday October 23, 2008. There were many engaging speakers who were present. The intention of the event, is to raise awareness for mental illness and clubhouse development.

The ICCD stands for the International Center for Clubhouse Development. It is an international organization that strives to create a global network of opportunities for people living with mental illnesses and for them to be respected members of society.

In pursuit of this mission, the center promotes the development and strengthening of clubhouses; oversees the creation and evolution of standards. It facilitates and assures the quality of training, consultation, certification, research and advocacy; and provides effective communication and dissemination of information.

The ICCD is an organization that sponsors clubhouses all over the world. A Clubhouse is community intentionally organized to support individuals living with the effects of mental illness. Through participation in a Clubhouse, people are given the opportunities to rejoin the worlds of friendships, family, important work, employment, education and to access the services and supports they may individually need. A Clubhouse is a restorative environment for people who have had their lives drastically disrupted, and need support of others who believe that recovery from mental illness is possible for all.

The breakfast briefing on Thursday, October 23, 2008 was a way for the ICCD to communicate to the community just how important it is to continue to fund Clubhouses all over the world. The breakfast was about an hour long and we heard from speakers with mental illness to ICCD key players to family members, as well.

The first speaker was a man named Nicholas and his son has schizo-affective disorder. He spoke about the current treatments for those with mental illness and he also raised awareness about the illnesses.

The second speaker was very eloquent and spoke about her brother Anthony. The family is from Ghana and with the help of the ICCD, the family was able to set up a Clubhouse in their country, which has never been done before. They spoke about how bad the stigma is in Ghana and how badly Ghana needed a clubhouse. Now with the help of the ICCD and this family, there is now a clubhouse in Ghana.

There were also two more families that spoke. There was one particular family from New Jersey who were surprised that there were no Clubhouses in New Jersey. With their perseverance and the help from the ICCD, they are creating New Jersey's first Clubhouse. One of the key points of the breakfast was to raise money to make this a reality for New Jersey.

Another family discussed their efforts with starting a clubhouse, too. The event was a success.
It was very inspiring to hear about the lives of others pertaining to clubhouses. The presentation, did not gloss over the realities of mental illness. It also went as far as to say that many people with the affliction do not recover. I think that this was particularly worth mentioning as so many of us do have the opportunity to recover and must work that hard at it.

The case for Clubhouse development has shown that if you work it, it will work. If you want something to grow, build it. A Clubhouse can start in every community, if the community will work to make it happen.
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