Fantastic, amazingBy Helen Altonn
state-run program for stable
mentally ill holds
Shannon Lum, 27, says "it's about time" that he lives on his own, and the Honolulu Clubhouse will help him to do that.
Lum is a member of the latest of three unique state-run programs designed to help stable mentally ill people gain work skills and jobs.
"It's great, fantastic, amazing," Lum said of the program today during its open house. He said he lives with his mother in Manoa, and the program's location in the Old Blaisdell Hotel at Fort Street Mall is very accessible by bus.
The Honolulu Clubhouse has operated quietly since mid-November. It is in the midst of Hawaii Pacific University, which tried unsuccessfully in court to block the program at that site.
HPU argued that it would be dangerous to mix mentally ill people with students. The state Health Department countered that the Clubhouse program is nationally recognized for high-functioning people who want to work.
HPU officials were among those invited to today's opening ceremonies, but they didn't respond, said Michelle Stanley, who oversees the Oahu Clubhouses, including those in Kaneohe and Waipahu.
However, at least one instructor was in the crowd of members and guests before the speeches began today.
Stanley said the new Clubhouse has run smoothly since it began taking members.
"We're pretty happy with our location. It's very accessible to members. .. . We've actually probably improved our relationships with some of our neighbors."
The Clubhouse has five staff members and about 125 people enrolled, with an average daily attendance of about 35, Stanley said.
The Clubhouse is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for what it calls a "work-ordered day." Members participate in work activities and run the program with the staff, doing all clerical, cooking and maintenance work.
"I love it. I'm here every day after classes," said Kandy Kane, 40. She said the Clubhouse program has helped her a lot. Her classes are at Community Care Services, where she learns to live independently.